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One of the most beloved aspects of Nigerian culture is its diverse and flavorful cuisine. Nigerian food is known for its rich and aromatic flavors, using a wide range of ingredients and spices. Here is a recipe for one of the best-known Nigerian dishes, Jollof Rice:
- 2 cups long-grain parboiled rice
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 can (400g) diced tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried bay leaves
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- Salt to taste
- 1 cup cooked or grilled chicken, diced (optional)
- 1 cup cooked or fried shrimp (optional)
- Fresh cilantro or parsley for garnish
- Rinse the rice under cold water until the water runs clear. Drain and set aside.
- In a large pot or skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and sauté until translucent.
- Add the minced garlic and diced bell peppers to the pot and cook for another 2-3 minutes until the peppers are slightly tender.
- Stir in the diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Cook for about 5 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.
- Add the thyme, curry powder, paprika, white pepper, dried thyme, and bay leaves to the pot. Stir well to combine all the spices with the tomato mixture.
- Pour in the chicken or vegetable broth and bring the mixture to a boil.
- Add the parboiled rice to the pot, ensuring it is evenly distributed. Gently stir to combine the rice with the tomato mixture.
- Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let the rice simmer for about 20-25 minutes or until the rice is cooked through and tender, and the liquid is absorbed. Avoid stirring the rice during this process to prevent it from becoming mushy.
- If using, add the diced chicken and cooked shrimp to the pot during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Stir gently to incorporate the meat into the rice.
- Once the rice is cooked, remove the pot from the heat. Let it sit covered for a few minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
- Fluff the rice with a fork, and remove the bay leaves.
- Serve the Jollof Rice hot, garnished with fresh cilantro or parsley.