Thoughts on #jollofgate Plus Jollof Rice Recipe


Published: November 5, 2014

Healthy Eating

A few weeks ago I logged on to Facebook like I normally do towards the end of my day and I began scrolling through my news feed. I came across a post in a group I am a member of. The post was a recipe by the world acclaimed TV chef, Jamie Oliver. I followed the link to the recipe and the picture I saw left me a little startled. However, I went ahead and read through the recipe and I realized he made an amazing effort at making the jollof rice we are used to. I shut down my computer for the evening and went about my daily activities.

Fast forward a few days and the Nigerian blogosphere and social media were deep in conversation about what is now popularly known as #jollofgate. I was in so much awe that jollof rice had made these many people angry! I did not even know the extent of it until I was sent a link by a friend where the author had used an image of mine which she referred to as “authentic jollof rice”.  Then I got a message from BBC London asking what my thoughts where on #jollofgate! That’s when I knew it was serious!

I really do not feel Jamie did anything wrong. From a few comments I have seen, I think people where more upset by the picture than the actual recipe.  The picture was probably styled by someone that had no idea that sometimes less is more especially when dealing with food that is unique to a specific country.

Regarding the recipe, I actually do not mind it at all. I use fresh herbs all the time to cook my jollof rice and I sometimes add whole grape tomatoes and freshly chopped red onions at the end to finish off the dish.

At the end of the day,  a recipe is really a chef’s interpretation of a dish. There is no cut and dry way to making any dish and I think Jamie should be applauded not thrown under the bus.

Here is a simple jollof rice recipe that is sure to yield delicious jollof rice all the time.

Serves:  6-8 | Prep Time: 20 minutes | Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Jollof Rice Recipe


  • 4 cups rice
  • 4 large tomatoes
  • 2 large red bell peppers
  • 2 large onions
  • 3 fresh habaneros pepper
  • 1/2 cup cooking oil
  • 2 cubes Maggi*
  • Salt to your taste
  • 1 teaspoon curry
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mrs Dash Allspice


  1. Chop up onions, tomatoes, red pepper and habaneros. In a blender add the chopped up vegetables and blend until it is a puree.
  2. In a pot, add your oil and fry half an onion in the oil until they are cooked through. Add the puree sauce and fry for 7-10 minutes or until the oil is now at the top of the tomato sauce.
  3. Season the tomato sauce with salt, Maggi cubes, curry, thyme, All Spice and two-three bay leaves.
  4. Cook for 3-5 minutes.
  5. Add the rice and stir into the stew sauce. Reduce the heat on the pot till the very last mark on the stove.
  6. Place 4 tablespoons of butter in the rice and cover the pot with a foil paper followed by the pot's lic cover.
  7. Cook for about 40-60 minutes or until the rice is cooked. Check the seasoning as you go and adjust to taste. The steam plus the tomato stew should be enough to cook the rice. However, if it is not cooked and the sauce is dried, add stock a little at a time and cook till the rice is done.
  8. Serve with chicken and fried plantains.

*Since seasoning cube is high in sodium, reducing its intake, or eliminating it from the diet, may help improve your health. Read our seasoning cube feature here.

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About Lohi Ogolo

Lohi Ogolo is a chef and culinary enthusiast interested in the use of modern culinary techniques infused with African flavors to attract the world to African, particularly Nigerian, foods. She is a graduate of a culinary institute in Toronto, Canada and owner of the food inspired business, Lohi’s Creations. She can be found on Twitter @Lohiscreation or her award winning blog.

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