Jollof rice is found throughout West Africa and is thought to be the origin of the Cajun dish, jambalaya. Serve with fried plantains and a crisp green salad.
For the rice
1 tbsp olive or vegetable oil
2 large onions, sliced
2 x 400g/14oz cans plum tomatoes
1 red pepper, diced
4 tbsp tomato purée
¼ tsp cayenne pepper or chilli powder
1 tsp curry powder
1 bay leaf
sprig fresh thyme
1 stock cube
225g/8oz long-grain or basmati rice
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 plantains, cut into slices and deep fried
green leaf salad
For the rice, heat the oil in a large pan and cook the onions over a gentle heat until translucent.
Stir in the canned tomatoes, red pepper and tomato purée, then season with salt, freshly ground black pepper and the cayenne or chilli. Add the curry powder, bay leaf and thyme, then pour in 550ml/19fl oz of water and crumble in the stock cube.
Cover and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20–30 minutes.
Rinse the rice well to remove excess starch, then add it to the tomato mixture.
Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 25–30 minutes, or until the rice is cooked.
Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper and serve the joffol with fried plantains and a crisp green salad.