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Dunni Obata: #Jollofgate – In Defence of Jamie Oliver’s Recipe

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Twice, I asked myself whether I should do this or not, and the answer came in three times. DO IT!

Twitter has been on fire for the past 24 hours, and #jollofgate is trending. If you are still wondering what #jollofgate is, I am tempted to ask if you are living under a rock, because your nation’s “honour” has been trampled upon by the one and only Jamie Oliver. Of course as a true patriot, you need to weigh into the conversation to defend it (insert eye-roll).{See Jamie Oliver’s recipe here}

Why am I daring to sacrifice my neck on the altar of Jollof rice, considering its faithful followers have their swords drawn out in attack, against anyone with a dissenting voice?

1. For once, the world, or should I say the world according to social media is talking about Nigerian food. I knew the day would come, but I didn’t think it would be 2014. The phrase “if no one is talking about you, you are not important, comes to mind here. According to our friends over at Hollywood, any kind of publicity is good for you, and to that I say, thanks Jamie. No, seriously… I owe you one.

I have been reading people’s Twitter feeds for hours now, and seeing so many folks saying they were going to try Jollof rice for the holidays made me do the happy dance. I am sure if we query Google to release data about searches made on Jollof Rice for the past 24-48hours, the results would go through the roof. YES! Again, Thanks Jamie. He made his Jollof rice, more popular than Jollof rice itself. Take that to the bank. It is no mean feat. Food Bloggers like me would kill (okay, not that extreme), for that kind of notoriety on a novel re-creation of an old classic. Like with the Katy Perry song – “this is how we do” – Respect!

Jamie’s Twist on the Classic Jollof Rice

2. I have been faced with this kind of situation before, somewhat on a very small scale, because I was the “Yoruba” woman who dared to cook food and blog about it. According to some people, I had no business doing so, because I am not one of them. I don’t know what it is, but when someone who is not considered “one of us” (even amongst Nigerians) dares to put their own interpretation on a dish, the claws and knives come out. I refer you to Chef Fregz’s BN Cuisine post on Edikang Ikong months ago.{Click here if you missed it} Someone should have warned Jamie Oliver. The argument for the preservation of culture is a strong one, and not one I will easily cast aside, but have we asked ourselves how many of these cultural food tips have any basis to them. I have been guilty of simply passing them on like a robot. “Don’t cut Oha leaves with a knife, or it would be bitter. False. I have debunked that myth so many times. Onions are the enemy in traditional soups, even in the stock? Oh really? Why is that? It affects the taste. Sure it does, because they told you so. Don’t cook Ewedu leaves with the stems, or it would reduce its viscosity. Nope, it does not. I have come to think that theory was invented by our great grandmothers as a punishment for naughty children, and it has stuck over generations. Everyone who cooks ewedu is aware of how tedious the process is, have we ever asked why it shouldn’t be cooked with the stems? As an Act of Rebellion in my early teens, I tried it out behind my mother’s back and smiled with mischief when she didn’t notice. Today is the first time I am ever speaking about it. Sorry Mum, circa 1998, that Ewedu was blended, stems and all.

3. May I remind all the Twitter Placard carriers that Jollof did NOT originate from Nigeria/Ghana? Actually the SeneGambians who own the dish should have asked for all our heads decades ago, because our “interpretation” of Jollof rice is a far cry from theirs. In the same vein, Chinese people, all how many billion strong of them, should ask us to apologise for turning their Fried Rice into something they won’t recognise, with all the curry powder, even Martians would turn away from the green colour.

4. Beyonce has the Beygency, Justin Bieber has Beliebers, Lady Gaga has, oh dear, what are her fans called again? Anyway, as with music, fashion, Hollywood, we serious foodies have our own icons, and Jamie Oliver is high on the list. We adore him, and you don’t just “come for him”, without hearing from some of us, especially when your backlash has no basis. He represents how a regular average Joe came into the game, wide eyed with no privilege of a fancy background, just on the back of talent and passion for food, has built an empire. £200 million and counting. To many of us, he is what our dreams look like. With the clout of his name, he has brought the spotlight to many serious food problems all over the world, and is an instrument of change and bringing joy through food. No, this is not kissing arse. Remind yourself of the last time you came to Don Jazzy, DBanj, Genevieve, Omotola, Rita Dominic’s, Tiwa Savage’s defence.

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Please follow me and let us dissect a recipe that clearly states “Jamie’s Twist” on Jollof rice. Please, let us not show ourselves up as a continent of people who cannot read. Remember the phrase “If you want to hide something from Africans, put it in a book”.

Appearance
First, the cherry tomatoes. Last I checked, the old way of cooking Jollof rice by the Iya Alase’s involves slicing firm tomatoes and onion rings just before the pot is taken off the heat. Many don’t even know the history of how Jollof rice is prepared in Nigeria. Image of Jollof rice I prepared months ago. Similar pictures with sliced tomatoes and onions, abound all over the internet.

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Okay, he added parsley, I say Jamie gets a pass. We use Bay Leaves and dried Thyme in our Jollof rice. Also, Iwuk Edesi (native jollof rice), is cooked with a fragrant herb – Efinrin/Nchawu/Ntong/Scent Leaf. Image below. Iwuk Edesi is also cooked with shredded smoked fish. Jamie, shredded some chicken breast into his dish.

10441253_10203982366139642_7564622328418350341_nThere are many variations of Jollof rice with people adding vegetables such as peas, runner beans, sweetcorn etc. They haven’t been accused of sacrilege or blasphemy.

Ingredients
Ground coriander – he gets another pass, it was used to season the chicken. Many of the people screaming blue murder, have eaten Jollof rice at parties with nutmeg in it, numerous times. It is a tip passed on by popular caterers.

Look through the list of ingredients, nothing seems amiss. The lemon wedge – which I wondered what it was doing there, but hey, tons of people add a dash of lemon to even the most unlikely of dishes. Nothing the world hasn’t seen before.

He did not put “Maggi” – if i hear? So, if you are let’s say allergic to MSG, you should not cook Jollof rice?

Method of Preparation
I still can’t find any problem. I advocate for parboiling the rice first, and mixing with a rich pepper stew, because that is how I was taught by the experts. On the other hand, there is the other method for cooking jollof rice which starts and ends as a one pot dish, which Jamie deployed.

So, the problem is just how it looks? Really! One point Uncle Cousin Jamie, you forgot the ginger, “o wa very very important Sir” (it is very important). Hehehehe

We are a stagnant continent for lots of reasons. The unwillingness to embrace change or accept something different, is largely responsible, and we find this attitude prevalent in very many areas. The Chinese have the most popular cuisine today, and it is not due to their population strength. Their food has been set free like a bird leaving the nest, gaining its own wings and soaring.

We have eaten the same types of food for centuries, there are not that many “Nigerian/Ghanian” ways to cook Jollof rice. We have been there done that, we all have the T-shirt. I think it is time we loosen the chains, and let the world experience what we have to offer. The more the “twists”, the better. Maybe one day in twenty years time, a food blogger would hire a British logo designer, and she would not tell her, sorry no icons exist for food items from Africa. Can’t you use the other well recognised food icons I designed for you? Who outside of your people would recognise the icon for “Egusee”? What is that by the way, do pumpkins grow in Africa too? Can’t I just use an image of women looking into a big bubbling pot over a coal fire? Story for another day.

Thank You Jamie Oliver. #Jollofgate……..The ministry is moving.

Photo Credit: Dunni Obata | Jamie Oliver

I'm an IT Project Manager by day and a cook the rest of the time. I love entertaining, and one of my bad habits is feeding people, so guests beware. When I'm not cooking, I'm watching Food Network, American TV series and National Geographic in that order. When I want peace and quiet, I curl up on the sofa and read a good book I'm very passionate about Nigerian food. I believe our food has a lot to offer globally, and with the right exposure, it can stand proud alongside food from other cultures. I'm hoping to get us all fired up and talking about Nigerian cooking irrespective of whatever part of the world you live in. Welcome to Dooney's Kitchen

107 Comments

  1. dolapo

    October 31, 2014 at 10:49 am

    I love me some dooneyrooney! I am totally with you on this, we need to evolve as a people and why not in our cuisines? As a delicate local eater, i love your blog and has been blessed by your Ayamase recipe. Let Jamie put his twist on that!

  2. Chef Oni

    October 31, 2014 at 10:54 am

    Thank you. Like I keep saying this, the hype is so unnecessary. We all add our individual twist when cooking why is Jamie different.

    ” I think it is time we loosen the chains, and let the world experience what we have to offer.”
    You could not have said it any better.

    Afrodeeiam.blogspot.com

  3. Tee

    October 31, 2014 at 11:04 am

    Great points you highlighted Dunni.
    And please y’all, before you decide to attack/dismiss this write-up, put aside your bias and really take time to read and digest this with a clear mind.

  4. madam

    October 31, 2014 at 11:05 am

    this is really beautiful, looks like the rice has so palm oil

  5. madam

    October 31, 2014 at 11:06 am

    i love the shredded chicken by the way

  6. Nma

    October 31, 2014 at 11:07 am

    Nicely done. food is versatile and he did explain where the food originated and that it was his twist..

  7. largerthanlife.com.ng

    October 31, 2014 at 11:10 am

    the comments on Jamies page cracked me up ..buh really is that the jollof rice i fell in love with…the jellof rice that made my boo buy me iphone 6 …im heart broken

    • british/naija/ghanaian

      November 1, 2014 at 12:18 am

      Really???….your Jollof rice made your boo buy you an iPhone 6?…Well, well, that must have been one hella’ Jollof rice. Why don’t you send the recipe to BellaNaija so we can, no, so I can try your recipe ay?

  8. Miss I

    October 31, 2014 at 11:14 am

    Africans are very dramatic jor…..

  9. Mimi

    October 31, 2014 at 11:25 am

    Nah Dooneyrooney! It wasn’t about the Jollof Rice! Many people were looking for an “oyinbo” to lash out on for whatever reasons they have. Some people don’t even know what he did or did not do, “Ha! He did something to jollof rice, people are “tasing” him, oya we sef get mouth.” Shikena, that’s my own theory and i am not sorry about it. Later they will come back and say anybody who refuses to classify Bread and Akara as burger is a racist! Taaaa!

  10. madam

    October 31, 2014 at 11:27 am

    Dear Bella Naija, i would appreciate if there is a separate column for food, recipes and all, for food lovers like me.
    so it would be easy for u to go back and check old recipes too..without using “related post” would appreciate if this is considered. thank you bella 🙂

  11. Berry Dakara

    October 31, 2014 at 11:33 am

    I
    LOVE
    YOU!

    C’est fini

    • Berry Dakara

      October 31, 2014 at 11:36 am

      All those people that are shouting up and down should stop eating so-called Chinese food in Nigeria… and don’t dare whisper Suya Pizza because the Italians will come and burn us all.

      Talking about “abomination against ancestors.” *rolls eyes*

    • TA

      October 31, 2014 at 12:29 pm

      Ha! ha ha . I love me some Suya pizza. Calling Dominos now now. Lol

    • Simi

      November 6, 2014 at 11:46 pm

      True. True. We don’t realize how much the Chinese, Italian, Indian, Thai restaurants and even pizza places here have had to remix their original recipes to satisfy the Nigerian palate. There are very very few countries whose indigenous cuisine is as spicy as Nigeria’s. Even in Africa. (And by spicy, I mean peppery not curry).

  12. Bleed Blue

    October 31, 2014 at 11:38 am

    Dunni! Oh mannnn this girl can write! Excellent point of view. I’m totally with you. Live and let jollof live jare.

    And by the way, shall I sulk here about our Civic Center meet up that never happened? 🙁

    • TA

      October 31, 2014 at 12:27 pm

      Me want to sulk here about the reply I did not get. Dunni, oginni?

    • Dunni O

      October 31, 2014 at 3:21 pm

      Really, I was actually going to say that you didn’t respond to. my mail. How about we both resend the messages and wipe the slate clean

    • TA

      October 31, 2014 at 4:33 pm

      @ Dunni, Oh so sorry, never got it. Ok will re-send and hoping to read yours too. Thanks.

    • Dunni O

      October 31, 2014 at 3:18 pm

      I am ever so sorry. If I had a Private Jet now, I could have moved my trip by a day, alas, we still fly commercial. We will have to meet another time. I insist

  13. Chinekwu

    October 31, 2014 at 11:55 am

    Thanks for d points . I love Jamie n i have nothinh but respect for him after he tried our very own dish. Love ur work too. I am a huge fan.

  14. Audrey

    October 31, 2014 at 11:56 am

    Is it that serious? I thought it was only a bunch of mischievous people having fun on twitter. oh well.

  15. ronke omolegbe

    October 31, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    Nice read Dunni. Honestly, I agree with the twists. I once shared a flat with a Chinese who couldn’t eat Chinese food cooked in America, she said it wasn’t the real deal. I said well, its the real deal for me, food should be versatile,creativity is the real deal. welldone!

  16. Gbemmy

    October 31, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    Seriously .. its so funny the way some people think .. if we really want to preserve culture pls lets do …. 1. Do not use Blender . grinding stone is our heritage . our ground parents never used it … 2. Wait even gas cooker is not part of our culture we need to go back to the days of fire wood .. 3 did our parents use refrigerators … guess not they used all those clay pots … 4. also they never used all this fancy pots, non-stick pots to cook the joll of rice our ancestors used firewood and clay pots or all those big cooking pots so when the #jollofgate fighters go back to all those stuffs .. i would readily join in the fight it would be a national fight

    • Colour Purple

      October 31, 2014 at 8:51 pm

      Just wanted to know if you were joking when you said “ground parents” hehehe

  17. ify

    October 31, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    Very well said Dunni! Thanks for the insight! I second with you on this! #jollofgate. The ministry is indeed moving! Lol! If knowledge was left at the point where our great grandmothers and father’s left it with the unwillingness to try new things, we would have no Nollywood, no Nigerian comedy industry, No fashion industry or music industry in the way they are now – so big that they have been exported to the world. Surely, our Nigerian Cuisine deserves the same kind of opportunity to become globally recognized and I am sure we all want that so let’s all support this ministry. Lol!

    Ify
    eatingnigerian.com

  18. TA

    October 31, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    Dunni de la hot chef. What Jollofgate? Which one be jollof gate nah? You people have come again o. Yes, am not on Twitter and have refused to be ! Lmao! But I do know and love me some Jamie Oliver because am a foodie. 🙂
    And all I have to say is great piece, I loved the article especially this bit ”…we are a stagnant continent for lots of reasons. The unwillingness to embrace change or accept something different, is largely responsible, and we find this attitude prevalent in very many areas. The Chinese have the most popular cuisine today, and it is not due to their population strength. Their food has been set free like a bird leaving the nest, gaining its own wings and soaring…
    Dear Dunni, please can you share with a Sister how to minimise burning while cooking my Jollof rice besides the low heat and non-stick pot measures? I don’t mind the under pot charring a little, some people prefer the ‘bottom pot’ anyways. Lol! Am talking serious burning. Please help. Thanks

    • Dunni Obata

      October 31, 2014 at 6:42 pm

      To minimise burning, I am going to give you a tip that you have to be seriously careful with otherwise your jollof rice would turn soggy. If you are using my two pot method, by the time you combine the rice with the pepper stew, you know you would need to add a little water or beef stock to it, till it just goes slightly above the level of the rice. If you are not sure, go slightly more and then watch the rice like a hawk, tasting ever so often. As soon as it starts to soften, and you can still see a lot of liquid on top, scoop with a spoon, until you can see the rice much clearly. It should be fine and not burn. To get this balance right, comes with lots of practice, but the go over and then decant rule I have found works, if you are willing to be observant, cos you can go from okay to soggy stat, and you would be sorely disappointed. I hope that helps

  19. Moi

    October 31, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    Thank you Dooney. You couldn’t have said it better…I hadn’t been to Jamie’s website until today. Heck! I didn’t even know him until i started seeing the jollof rice brouhaha everywhere. He clearly stated ‘JAMIE’S TWIST ON A JOLLOF RICE RECIPE’ Helloooo???!!! The comments on his page cracked me up though but in all, i see absolutely nothing wrong with what he did. Don’t we all tweak recipes sometimes? Mbok, free the man jor.

  20. Ms Lee

    October 31, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    God Bless you Dooney!

  21. lifeofastrangercalledme

    October 31, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    Well see what the commenters are saying in this article in response to Jamie’s #Jollofgate!
    msn.com/en-gb/foodanddrink/foodnews/jamie-oliver%E2%80%99s-version-of-jollof-rice-does-not-go-down-well-with-west-africans/ar-BBc7uso

    The closet racist have used this opportunity to speak their disturbing minds on the subject.
    One even went as far as saying and I quote “Shame they don’t take personal hygiene as serious as food.. Least it wasn’t served up with Ebola” – This is terrible indeed.

    Either way regardless of how creative one can or must be, one musn’t divert too far from the original. Diverting totally makes the dish an entirely different one, and not creativity at work!

    • lifeofastrangercalledme

      October 31, 2014 at 12:54 pm

      If you must be creative then calling it your twist is important which Jamie did.. But his twist should be something identifiable. He used so many different ingredients, and none of the basic ones that is core to the dish, which makes it understandble for the outcry. But not for the insults. No one whose spent time working up food magic deserves to be insulted. He gave it his best try, and should be commended for trying, but should also be corrected which many did. But may took is far too far! I hope this #Jollofgate should be wrapped up pretty soon. Jamie O is a really nice man, and I have loved replicating some of his dishes. Please people cut him a little bit of slack!

    • lifeofastrangercalledme

      October 31, 2014 at 12:57 pm

      meant “who has” not “whose” – terrible typo 🙂

    • Dunni Obata

      October 31, 2014 at 6:44 pm

      Thank you for your comment. So many different ingredients, so many? None of the core ones, really? Tomatoes, onions, vegetable oil, rice, tomato puree, which of those is not core to Jollof rice?

  22. Aijay.....

    October 31, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    I just love you Dunni. Now let me go back and read the article/recipe.

  23. Changing Faces

    October 31, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    People should first educate themselves on the meaning of jollof before shouting! It simply means one pot, so add whatever you want to rice, mix it all in and allow it cook in one pot and it’s jollof. Also it didn’t originate in Nigeria… So we may want to chill

  24. Gloria Lawson

    October 31, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    Dooney! Dooney! Dooney! So great I called you thrice! Yet again a truly insightful article! You nailed it gurl! We need yo continue to evolve -simple!
    Well done Sweets!

  25. D

    October 31, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    Ok, I never knew people had issues with Jamie Oliver’s Jollof rice (Sometimes I think I live under a rock) I use mint and basil leaf in my jollof rice (since I don’t have access to scent leaf) and the only way I can get my hubby to eat poultry is by shredding it in food so I have been known to bake chicken, turkey or duck and cut them up and put them in my jollof rice. And I never thought of using cherry tomatoes instead of slicing big tomatoes but Jamie’s cherry tomatoes will be a faster way to go. Why do we act so narrow minded sef.? A big Amen to you Dooney, now I am thinking of making Jollof rice.

  26. tunmi

    October 31, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    Keri Hilson would have liked the support given to Oliver when she was making fufu…or some other swallow food. Tsk, Nigerians.

    Have you actually considered the views of the Chinese when it comes to American-Chinese food? They find it weird. They are not clamkrkng for its popularity like you may think. Yes Jollof trended, good. Did he really need to be defended? Well, at least I learned where Jollof came from. Let’s keep dashing culture in the name of trending.

  27. Jo!

    October 31, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    Nope, I still don’t like his version. Because he’s Jamie, in the next couple of years the default Jollof rice recipe will be his, hence the noise we’re making, let it sha be on record that people stated that the recipe is somehow

    I have had the original Senegalese Wolof rice before, and absolutely hated it, and I know technically, we can’t claim it as ours. but the jollof rice most people know is the version we (Nigerians largely) have made popular and I could have taken everything else but the coriander, it was used to spice the chicken yep, but he did use the juices to cook the rice, I mean Coriander?????? Ha!

    • And Another Critical Thinker

      November 1, 2014 at 1:56 pm

      My sentiments exactly, oyinbo people know how to appropriate african things and give no reference to the original source.

  28. Aijay.....

    October 31, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    Sad. No recipe.

  29. BlueEyed

    October 31, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    Lady gaga stans are called little monsters

  30. Olori Tari

    October 31, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    Much Ado about nothing!

    Lol at some comments above but I have had convos with Asians and some of them absolutely hate how their recipes are being modernised.. So I guess it’s a thing of they’ve had to accept it like that! They’re also quick to tell you “No offense but what you are eating in that restaurant isn’t the REAL thing “.

    + I’m sure it was just for the sake of banter. More than anything, this people “complaining” are concerned about having a laugh and that’s about it. That’s why you see comments such as “Jollof rice is part of the 7 wonders of Africa”…”Jollof rice is a religion”…”this is an abomination “. Not that a lot of of them are taking it to heart… If you take things on “Black” twitter serious, then I don’t know…

    That being said, I haven’t even looked a the recipe (don’t plan to) but the picture is not the slightest bit attractive!

  31. yeancah

    October 31, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    haha Doooney, i hail.. the whole jamie oliver buhaha brought our J.rice to the forefront. meanwhile what he cooked was not jollof rice jere make we talk true.. but he tried as an oyibo man.. i prefer him renaming that rice dish. cuz that ain’t no jollof rice. meanwhile. i tried your jollof rice recipe.. using the parboiling method.. and it was awesome.. i followed every detail to the letter cos it was different from my own method.. my kitchen kept smelling like an ”olopo’s” stand point. thanks dooney. meanwhile go and approve my post on your redefining giz-dodo topic on the blog.. i tweaked the recipe as usual.

  32. Funmi

    October 31, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    Hahah! Dunni I trust you to lash out, but me wouldn’t go as far as saying he made jollof more popular than jollof itself, that in itself is sacrilege. (Lol) I think the outcry did that, without the mention of jollof that rice would have gone unnoticed, just another rice dish. That said I’m all for twists, modification, recreation especially in the name of health which is my biggest concern when it comes to naija food. In any case what makes you a chef is the ability to create, otherwise you are just a really good recipe follower. Naija food is truly going global….:)

    • Dunni Obata

      October 31, 2014 at 6:47 pm

      Actually it is not sacrilege, because there are many people who would try out Jollof rice now, and had never heard of it before, despite the numbers recipes that already exist online. That on its own is a plus, and wash;t meant to deride Jollof rice

    • Bamidele

      October 31, 2014 at 7:20 pm

      You made a great point, it would have gone unnoticed without the mention of Jollof or the outcry.

  33. Chinel

    October 31, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    If Jollof rice is “öwned by SeneGambians”‘ , then why do you list in your first point that “”for once social media is talking about Nigerian food”? Please alot is happening in the world right now, and not everyone who hasn’t heard about Jollofgate lives “”under a rock””. That jollofgate is trending when more than 4500 people have died from a terrible virus is really to question our sense of humanity. Some clique phrases should be used appropriately please.

  34. Aibee

    October 31, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    I haven’t even finished reading oh, but I got to you cooking ewedu with the stem and my eyes almost popped out of the socket. Thank you Dunni. Because God knows the worst part of cooking ewedu for me is picking those small leaves.

    Let me go and finish the remaining.

  35. Omo Oyo

    October 31, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    As an African living in diaspora and a lover of our culture and heritage, my concern with this Jamie issue is that a lot of things has been copied from our culture and not acknowledged. Anyone who has travelled around the world and tasted Chinese food will tell you that it does not taste the same everywhere but the catch is that they still attribute the dishes to Chinese people. Now the question is if Jollof rice becomes trendy all over the world like Shawarma, Paella, JerkChicken will it still be said that it is originally from Africa?

    • Dunni Obata

      October 31, 2014 at 6:35 pm

      and where did Jamie say that the dish did not originate from Africa. Prior to this incident, many people did not know that Jollof wasn’t originally from Nigeria. Why are you not feeling pained for the Wollof tribe. Many people don’t know that Shawarma is Arab. They call it a Nigerian dish. Same with Fried Rice and Meat Pie. Or did our ancestors have curry, thyme, white pepper, butter and margarine, or processed white flour? You can’t accuse someone of the same thing you are guilty of. Shining a light on our modern day food history, comes into mind here.

  36. Nene

    October 31, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    Dunni is such a sell out. Siding oyinbo so that he (Jamie) can notice her and further her culinary. Since she is also based in the UK. Just like our people did in the 1800’s (sold our people into slavery) just for some meager recognition.

    • Nike

      October 31, 2014 at 5:35 pm

      Wow. I am amazed people actually think like this ^^

    • Dunni Obata

      October 31, 2014 at 6:32 pm

      Hi Nene, I didn’t think of that, when I wrote this, but if common sense gets me noticed by Jamie’s camp, I swear, it would make my year, and I will be waving at you all the way from the top. Meagre recognition indeed. I have no words.

    • DL

      November 4, 2014 at 6:40 pm

      I think it was a joke, sweetie. Chill! 🙂

    • FDV

      November 1, 2014 at 6:23 pm

      This is the most unintelligent bigoted comment ever!! And it got over a hundred likes? I worry about the way people reason .

  37. Gambian Fatou

    October 31, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    Finally someone who knows the origin of jollof rice/ benachin/chebb!!!! From precolonial senegambia, when Senegal and Gambia used to be one. The region had six states back then and one of them was Jollof ( the people spoke Wollof, we still do in both countries). Trust me Nigerian/Ghanaian jollof tastes nothing like Senegalese/Gambian jollof rice!!!!
    BTW, parsley is used to stuff the fish or chicken (depending on what you’re cooking), and you have to season your FISH with lemon once it has been cleaned!!!!!

  38. omawunmi

    October 31, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    Yeah Dunni does not understand the problem with jamie oliver ‘ s rice is appropriation. next thing we know jollof is a big hit invented by him and the African side of the story will be left to the dust.
    i also really think most of the noise was pure levity. you can see that by the over the top language used. although I seriously agree that my ancestors didn’t die for this shit

    I use parsley and nutmeg in my jollof and throw into the oven and voi la. perfect every time

    • Dunni Obata

      October 31, 2014 at 6:26 pm

      As for appropriation, I guess we did the same thing to the Wollof tribe, because we also took over their dish, used our own interpretation and made it a hit, so much so until this incident many people did not know Jollof rice didn’t originate from Nigeria. We can do that to our fellow Africans but a white person is not allowed. Ah, I get it. I guess the Arabs should start Shawarmagate, and the Cornish should start Meat Piegate. You see, you do the same thing, Jamie did, and I am sure your friends and family love your Jollof rice, but the same people, jokingly or not, are calling for Jamie’s. You also use the oven for yours, my dear. Hi five.

    • Idomagirl

      October 31, 2014 at 6:49 pm

      But how can it be appropriation when he did not claim to invent it? He clearly stated that he was putting his twist on a classic dish. In what world is that appropriation?

    • And Another Critical Thinker

      November 1, 2014 at 1:54 pm

      You don’t have to invent something before you appropriate it. Think critically ehn!

  39. Marzi

    October 31, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    One thing is sure – this dish isn’t from the Woloof period because tomatoes are originally from Central America and there were none in Africa or Europe before the explorers started messing about. Ditto for chillis and avocados.

    • FDV

      November 1, 2014 at 6:32 pm

      That isn’t enough to prove it doesn’t date back to the wollof period. The dish has evolved over centuries it might be hard to tell what the original recipes where. One thing has remained constant with the variations tomatoes and pepper, History hasn’t provided us with when tomatoes got in the recipe. At least we had pepper in West Africa before the Europeans can snooping around .

  40. Adetoun

    October 31, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    Very well said Dunni……kp up the good work I am ur greatest fan !

  41. Opeyemi

    October 31, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    I agree with the fact that the herbs he used are fine but everything else? No. I’ve always known the origin of Jollof rice was Gambian and I’m still looking forward to the day I taste the original jollof rice. Having said that the rice that Jamie made-presentation wise just bears no resemblance to the one we are used to seeing on a regular basis. We don’t need Jamie Oliver to make Jollof rice ‘known’. That’s the issue I have with this article. Not all publicity is good publicity anyway. Nigerian Cuisine can and will be known through other means. Most people who aren’t African know Jollof rice anyway and I’m pretty sure they too would say that his version is very different to say the least. We’re all entitle to our own opinions anyway and I found it interesting reading this article.

    • Dunni Obata

      October 31, 2014 at 6:30 pm

      There’s a bit of advice my mother gave me, which I will share now. You have to learn how the world works. There is not that much room for idealism. You say we don’t need them, I bet you, we do. The number of people that would try out the “real” Jollof rice and Jamie’s version, in the next coming weeks are people who probably have never visited a Nigerian food blog before, or even heard about it, even though recipes for Jollof rice has existed online for years and years. If you think we don’t need them, you are sorely mistaken. Our food won’t necessarily crossover just because. Western Cooking shows and competitions have showcased somer erstwhile unknown food cultures, yet you say we don’t need them. That is how the world works Opeyemi. If we sit down and bury our heads in the sand, thinking they will just come and find us there, my dear, the world will walk right pass. Jollof rice going out from the Wollof people, is what transformed into the Jollof rice Nigerians love today. Imagine what we would have missed out on, if this dish didn’t gain wings and soar from its originators? Think on that for a second

    • A

      November 10, 2014 at 9:38 pm

      Lmaooo your defence is so appalling, please stop kissing Jamie’s ass. He is not that great of a cook and many of his recipes are yuck! please don’t insult us that know real chefs!!

      And you are being so fake. Just admit that he could have made a little more effort with his version. If your argument is suya pizza please beg park well. Suya pizza still looks like pizza and pizza can have any topping…so chill on that. There is nothing wrong with remixing recipes, but there is a lot wrong with when your remixing bears no resemblance to the real recipe. And it is especially appalling to African’s who have very little to be proud of in this world. If you claim to be such a foodie, why don’t you understand how people must feel when you call that rubbish a remixed version of jollof rice. Please you are trying way too hard to be the anomaly.

      Jollof rice is more than just food to Nigerians, it like one of the best things in life for a lot of people, especially foodies like u claim to be. So please don’t try to reduce the importance of jollof rice, its ok if you don’t appreciate it the way many Nigerian’s clearly do.

      I am actually so upset. He called our food a flipping concept, we don’t go around calling roast dinner a concept, thats rude.

  42. Idomagirl

    October 31, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    I frankly don’t see what the fuss is. It’s not as if Jamie claimed to be the inventor of jollof or something.

  43. Ehis

    October 31, 2014 at 7:03 pm

    I think your response is a bit OTT. The responses to Jaime were light hearted and funny. Not to be taken seriously. But your write up is making a big deal about what was arguably light banter.

  44. orude

    October 31, 2014 at 7:30 pm

    correction its not Katy Perry that sang How we do, but Rita Ora

    • Tee

      November 1, 2014 at 1:16 am

      First, learn to read properly. Second, when in doubt, Google is your friend.
      Dunni said “Katy Perry’s This is how we do” and Dunni is correct.

  45. step77

    November 1, 2014 at 1:03 am

    I disagree with the writer of this article, that picture of Jamie Oliver’s twist on Jollof actually looks like Paella. He has totally deconstructed the basic look of Jollof rice and presented something else and then to mitigate that he slapped it with the moniker “a twist”. This is certainly no twist, this is a shift! Example: If I were to present a deep red coloured beef stew made with masala in the recipe and called it my twist on Indian curry, I am sure to receive a similar backlash or if I presented my twist on the classic Pizza as a pile up of vegetables and ( even suya) with a sprinkle of cheese and a dollop of tomato paste on top of regular slice of tortilla bread, I would receive scorn from hard core pizza lovers. lets call a spade a spade, ice cream looks iced, cakes look baked, Jollof has its signature look, as with fried rice ( albeit with the variety of prep methods world over yet still retains that fried-riced presentation). Therefore no form nouvea food artistry should be permitted to take away from the signature look of West Africa’s Jollof. And for thos who think this is a small issue, we need to bite hard at this Jamie dude because let me tell you, the exploitation of ethic foods is slowly but surely gaining ground and becoming a muli-billion dollar industry in the food services world, ask the Chinese. We need to set the record straight before even our culinary heritage gets watered down and the big US $$ chomps and clamps it into oblivion.

    • Dunni Obata

      November 1, 2014 at 10:37 am

      he issue here is the look right? Look at the recipe closely and the instructions. If Jamie took step by step pictures of him cooking this dish, you would see that it would resemble the classic Jollof rice. I still don’t get why many people can’t see that. The basic construct is still there. It was at the end that the garnish with chicken breasts, cherry tomatoes (which we already do but he used more of) and the parsley. That was the only “crime” he committed. Someone called my attention to an episode of Master Chef where one of the contestants used Bulgur Wheat to make a risotto. The person won that round, you didn’t hear Italians making a fuss, I mean she didn’t even use rice, the basic ingredient of a risotto. I have seen many nigerian food bloggers make Bulgur Wheat Jollof, , nobody made noise but we quickly chomped on Jamie because he is popular and we would be noticed. Oh by the way Tortilla pizzas already exists. Many recipes abound online. Yo haven’t heard the Italians making noise about it

    • Moi

      November 7, 2014 at 2:35 pm

      It was actually quiona.

    • And Another Critical Thinker

      November 1, 2014 at 1:50 pm

      I totally agree with you Stepp77.

  46. Critical thinker

    November 1, 2014 at 6:42 am

    Jamie Oliver didn’t get people talking about jollof rice. The article on his website was written in June and went unnoticed until West Africans discovered it in the past week or so and kicked up a fuss.

    Personally I have no issues with Jamie putting a twist on the recipe, I just find it a laughable attempt. But nothing irks me more than Dunni’s rather desperate attempt to promote herself on the back of #jollofgate. How else does one explain the laboured attempt to rise to Jamie Oliver’s defence? I guess too many people had spoken against Jamie’s recipe so the only unique selling point left was to leap to his defence .

    What western media has deemed an outrage is what most Nigerians would call ‘bants’. And to lend credence to what is just media hype is rather cringe worthy!

    • Dunni Obata

      November 1, 2014 at 10:13 am

      Rather desperate attempt to promote myself on the back of Jollof gate. Now that is funny. The thing with Nigerians is we have herd mentality, and anyone who doesn’t follow the crowd, suddenly has an agenda, because we feel automatically we must support each other even if it doesn’t make any sense to. Yes it was a laboured attempt, because i carefully presented the facts and not got carried away with emotions. We didn’t invent Jollof rice, many of us are guilty of the exact same thing Jamie did, but becausehe is white and a rich TV Chef, he became target practice.Oh, his post got people that never even knew what Jollof rice is talking about it. It must really hurt you guys to think your dear old Jollof rice that has existed for centuries, never got this much publicity until it appeared on Jamie’s site. You see, I am not a Lagos socialite who is “known” for knowing sake. The hard work I have put in on my blog will forever promote me, and not an article speaking common sense amongst the noise. Critically think about that

    • Critical thinker

      November 1, 2014 at 10:33 am

      You are Nigerian and I just disagreed with you so that makes your ‘herd mentality’ argument a bit of a slippery slope.

    • Olori Tari

      November 2, 2014 at 3:38 am

      “because he is white and a rich TV Chef”…LOL Aunty “lagos” socialite, gbogbo celebrity status… your mentality is a joke – A BIG JOKE. Talking like he is the first person who is being attacked about jollof rice. I don’t even think all these jollof attacking even makes any sense, after all they are the one cooking and eating it and I wish people would live and let live by leaving people to cook the way they want… but again, it’s more of banter – you seem to be the one taking it WAY too serious; even more than western media who can’t understand bants. Jamie Oliver isn’t the first person to be attacked for jollof rice and he wouldn’t be the last, so yes sister quit all these because he is white and rich bla bla – it’s a rubbish mentality. It is just more in the media because his forum is the popular one. If Jamie Oliver’s jollof rice was presented the way a lot of people are accustomed to, there would be no single brouhaha and no one would have “come” for him. So stop acting like they were waiting for the almighty Jamie Oliver’s jollof rice recipe, so they can attack. These people bantering away are bantering away because it’s perhaps different from what they know NOT because it’s some rich white ass man’s recipe. Quit playing pls… earlier this year,Tesco had to take down their jollof rice recipe. Heck, even some YouTubers have had to take their recipes down because of arguments in the comment section, at least I know of a Ghanaian who got attacked because she did it differently….I guess she’s white and rich too na.

      LET TWITTER BE TWITTER.

      I don’t even care about his twist or whatever… but ughhh some arguments here mahn. Humour me!

    • Dunni Obata

      November 1, 2014 at 10:49 am

      You just disagreed with me, I am one person. One person doesn’t make a herd. English 101. When Jamie’s camp approach me, I will sure to make you know. As you are the genius that figured it out, I would sure to remember to reserve a prize for you. Good reward for “critical thinking” right, I will remember you on the way to the top. Have a lovely Jollof rice filled weekend

    • Critical thinker

      November 1, 2014 at 11:53 am

      You made a generalisation about Nigerians but suddenly it’s convenient to point out that you are ‘one person’.

      “When Jamie’s camp approach me, I will sure to make you know. As you are the genius that figured it out, I would sure to remember to reserve a prize for you.” English 101?

    • Tope

      November 1, 2014 at 12:52 pm

      God bless you. My sentiments exactly. Coming to promote herself. Sell out oshi. All for oyinbo recognition.

    • Dunni Obata

      November 1, 2014 at 10:35 pm

      Ah yes o. Oyinbo recognition is good now, the internet you used to type this, was created by oyino now, are you not selling out you your own people. You should still be communicating the authentic African way. Please petition Goodluck to recognise all authentic Nigerian jollof rice cooks. Tope, please type up your recipe for jollof rice and send to jamie to prove you are refusing to “sell out”. Remember to put your name as a promoter of Nigerian jollof rice which originated from the wollof tribe. We the sell outs will be waiting

    • Dunni Obata

      November 1, 2014 at 10:22 pm

      After a long day of working to “promote” myself, which is bringing sweet rewards if i may say so. One of the best bits being i don’t have to hide behind an avatar, I thought to come announce that Uncle cousin Jamie has asked that you guys come share your authentic West African jollof recipes. At least if you can criticise, you should be able to instruct. It would truly be laughable if only a handful of people submit recipes. I am guessing that would likely be the case, because jumping on the bandwagon is easy, putting in the work, not so much. Someone said you would find that more than 90% of the people who complained cant even cook Jollof rice, but I won’t go there. so, preservers of culture and jollof rice please share your recipes. Let us see what you can do. Make sure to use your name, so you can promote yourself too. “Critical thinker” you can’t take to the bank and cash.

  47. Max

    November 1, 2014 at 8:48 am

    I’m Hungry!! lol

  48. yourstrulyblogposts.blogspot.com

    November 1, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    Calm down people , it’s only jollof riceeeeeeeeee. By the way, Dunni is an amazing cook – indeed some people were born to cook. My dad is such an amazing cook who loves to cook for me. They keep telling him that he is wasting his talent as he doesn’t have a restaurant (he’s an artist by profession ). Hope one day he opens his restaurant

  49. And Another Critical Thinker

    November 1, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    One of the most annoying things Nigerians in Nigeria do is that when they have nothing valuable to contribute to the conversation, they just concur and refuse to reason independently. All you ll see is “well said”, “I love me some Dunni” “abeg tell them” or “I agree”. Think independently and always weigh the other side of each argument.

    On the issue at hand. I am sooo disappointed at Dunni, especially since she is someone who projects herself to love cooking Nigerian food THE RIGHT WAY and to me has a pet peeve for the wrong use of recipe or procedure(I have been to her website and have followed A LOT of her recipe). She is usually like “you must not do this”, “you must do that”. Then, it’s rather baffling that she would give a British chef a pass. Why? Because he is British?

    IM not insinuating that only Nigerians should cook Jollof rice, but I think you are trying too hard to justify some condiments Jamie used. I’m not saying Dunni should follow the “herd or bandwagon” but as someone who promotes Naija food in the western world, your take is rather bias!

    Other than that, I have followed your recipes and it has improved my culinary skills.

    The danger of letting an oyinbo man create his own Jollof like this is that. Very soon, Jollof rice will not be credited to the Africans, the real Jollof will be lost somewhere in the white man’s recipe book as THEIR own!

    • Dunni Obata

      November 1, 2014 at 10:11 pm

      For someone who follows my blog, I should use the word disappointed too, but because I am polite like that, I wont. The instances I use words like you must not do this are for recipes when I want you to cook it EXACTLY like how I would cook it. For someone who follows my blog you would know that I am always for pushing the boundaries with Nigerian food. you must have read me repeat many times that the reason why our food has not gone far because we are too rigid and dont allow variation and interpretation.I have said that so many times it is at the core of what i do with my blog. If I now chomped on Jamie’s head like the herd, that will make me a hypocrit. then you should be disappointed. Nothing I wrote on this article goes against my personal ethos. It is those that DO truly follow my blog that are agreeing with my article, not because they are not thinking independently. dare i say it is you guys who are acting like he killed the President are the ones that are not thinking independently. you really don’t have faith in your own people if you think that jollof rice can be stolen by the white man. What does that say of you and your opinion of all the hard working Nigerian food bloggers like me. You can use our recipes but you dont have the faith that we can carry Nigerian food further.. Thank you very much for the vote of confidence.

    • Dunni Obata

      November 1, 2014 at 10:38 pm

      *hypocrite

  50. FOODIE

    November 1, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    FOR THE LOVE OF BASMATI! Jamie’s twist on a Jollof rice recipe. na so we no sabi read? WHAT DOES THE WORD TWIST MEAN IN THIS CONTEXT? ALL HE DID WAS MAKE SOMETHING DIFFERENT AND WE ARE BURSTING OUR JUGULARS

  51. Mimi

    November 1, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    The lemon is there for the chicken. I am mixed European and we squash lemon in what ever meat we use. It is delicious it’s not a must but thats what we do.

  52. Beadazzled

    November 1, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    I don’t see anything amiss in Jamie’s Jollof Rice. I add cumin or coriander to mine too. Sometimes black pepper. All depends on the flavour you are trying to create. Why have your food tasting the same all the time.

  53. dolapo

    November 2, 2014 at 12:57 am

    Well said, Dunni. This issue is being overflogged. We borrowed JollofRrice from the Gambians and they have not asked for our heads with the way we have ‘murdered’ it over the years-our own “twists”. “Oyinbos” own salad and we have continue to churn out different versions of salad-even african salad, and they have not killed us. Please let Jamie Oliver be o jare. This is another twist to Jollof Rice. Afterall, naija doesn’t own it. Let us invent recipes that we can call our own.

  54. Anna

    November 2, 2014 at 3:56 am

    Jollof rice has nothing to do with the original Senegalese thiéboudiène (with fish) or thiebou yapp (with meat) so let Jamie Oliver have his version

  55. Emeka Jollof lover

    November 2, 2014 at 10:14 am

    Ohmo You don’t like “his” version… “his” being the operative word here – your view, your entitled to it BUT he has the right to cook Jollof (a dish that didn’t originate in Ghana or Nigeria btw) or any dish he wants. Just like west Africans love to cook”our version of (CHINA’S!!!) Fried rice without anyone accusing us of kidnapping the dish. The guy was very clear that this is “his” interpretation of the food. I don’t really care for the dude BUT OMG I am so proud that he has taken our West African dish and dragged it into the mainstream… to then say that he will be credited with it, I’m sorry is the most retarded, daft, fascial argument I ever heard!! He (and millions of other chefs!!) cook “their” interpretation if Italian, chinese, Mexican, Indian, British meals and NOT 1 PERSON has said they invented the meal – he even bleeding accredited the dish to us for crying out loud.. Nonsense! Variety is the spice of life – you think Lasagne you eat now is the same dish invented centuries ago….The media is awash with negative conotations of Africa – Nigeria and Boko Haram; west Africa and Ebola and when someone exposes a rich and wonderful side of our culture – our beautiful cuisine idiots want to lynch him. A beg go and sit down and stop spreading misinformation and hypocrisies. Nonsense!!!!

  56. Emeka Jollof lover

    November 2, 2014 at 10:25 am

    Please read my earlier comment – it equally applies to you.

    Lack of variation of our dish has meant that it doesn’t quite meet western palettes. 1 of the biggest shock I had in my life was going to China and ordering Chinese dishes – My God – it is nothing like you get in the west. Point? They adapted and Chinese people make a killing selling Chinese cuisine. I want the same for west Africa.

    Any person, with just the single, brain cell, will know that oyibo Jamie O, from Essex, the whitest white boy, could NEVER have invested something called “Jollof”, certainly not in this Google era(??!?!!?!)… so “think critically” yourself and recognise the nonsense you’re spewing doesn’t hold to any form of logical scrutiny.

  57. step77

    November 2, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    Read my post again, I am arguing against presentation that takes away from the signature look. I am very well aware of tortilla Pizzas, hence my use of tortilla in the example. Basically my point is, even if you add the core ingredient ( e.g marsala in the curry example), or substitute a classic ingredient ( e.g standard tortilla versus classic crust) it still should not take away from the signature look of the dish as it is known regionally or world over for. Tortilla pizzas ‘still’ look like the classic pizza, but if you create an open faced wrap and call it a pizza then that is a fail.. As with curry looking like beef stew – or in your friend’s case, Jollof rice looking like paella.

  58. The Mane Captain

    November 2, 2014 at 10:29 pm

    I like your conclusion Dunni. My first thought was, smh…what a distraction from the real issues in AFRICA! Jollof rice is cooked in various ways by many. I hate plain jollof rice. I love jollof with bay leaves and mixed veggies wth sliced tomatoes and onions. similar to Jamie’s recipes.
    Us Africans have been told to copy from such a young age, creativity and innovation is dicouraged, and when someone dares to step out of the norm, we punish them. It’s true that the jollof rice looks nothing like the actual jollof rice we’re used to, but I applaud him for being creative!

  59. Naveah

    November 3, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    Love the write up but point of correction if you will – Ntong is NOT used for Iwuk Edesi, it’s Ikong Ubong otherwise known as Pumpkin leaves as used in Edikang Ikong. The only Iwuk (Efik word for any porridge type food) that contains ntong leaves is Iwuk Ukom (Plantain Porridge).

  60. OY

    November 5, 2014 at 10:50 am

    i dont agree to per boiling first. fry the stew, make it rich, add water to boil it and then put the rice

  61. bluebell

    November 5, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    Well said, Dunni. It is Jamie’s twist alright. Most top UK chefs don’t take Jamie and his recipes seriously, despite his popularity with the public. You wouldn’t go to him if you wanted an original recipe as he ‘twists’ just about everything. I wonder if he knows the furore he raised by featuring this recipe. It got people talking and he got lots of views on his website. Result!!!!

  62. Moi

    November 7, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    I disagree with ‘all of you’ who say Jamie’s approach is wrong.
    What exactly is the right way of cooking different foods we eat!
    If he opened a restaurant in naija ,included that dish on the menu and put a ridiculous price on it- most of you will be queuing at his door to eat it.
    People need to open their mind to diversity abeg.

  63. yem

    November 27, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    BTW gaga fans are called “Monsters”

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