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Mrs Kush: 10 Reasons Why Your Jollof Rice Sucks



Jollof rice (INVENTED IN NIGERIA… argue with yo mama) is a very easy dish to prepare but even easier to mess up if you don’t do it right. I have not included things like over cooking, undercooking and burnt offering type scenarios. That will be addressed in my “10 Reasons Why You Should Never Step into a Kitchen” article. Let me know if you’d like to read that.

So, without further ado here are my 10 reasons for your Jollof woes and my attempt to help you fix them:

You are not using enough tomato/pepper blend
You blend 2 pieces of tomatoes, 1 chili pepper, 1 red bell pepper and half an onion and hope to make enough rice for a small wedding. Ko le werk. The key to an awesome Jollof rice experience is that each grain of rice is saturated in the delicious Jollof sauce.

Your tomato blend is rubbish
Your onion to tomato ratio is 1: 50, you can’t even be bothered to buy fresh pepper, so you use ata gungun, again, Ko le werk!

You are attempting to bulk up your rubbish tomato blend with tomato puree
Not only is your tomato blend sinful, the quantity is too small, so you attempt to bulk up with 19 sachets of tomato puree; and the fact that this will even make the rice neon red is a huge bonus for you abi? Epic fail! The acidity from tomato puree will murder you rice before it gets on the plate. Don’t do it!

You are too lazy to fry off the tartness from the tomato puree before adding other ingredients
By all means use tomato puree to help you get that extra redness and richness, but the tartness of the puree especially in large quantities will make it seem like you added a bucket of limes. Try frying off the puree in oil for a bit to get rid of the tartness. You will still get the lovely colour and richness without the sour taste.

Your seasoning / spices are incomplete or not enough
This should be taught in primary school; but for those that don’t know, the basic seasoning for Jollof rice are Curry Powder, Thyme, Bouillon cube(s) and “Bay leaves”. Bay leaves are not essential, but I think they should be. Anything else you add should be an enhancement based on your pallet. Hell, you can even add chocolate to make it extra special (please don’t).

Your insufficient seasoning and spices are bad
I once bought curry powder from an Asian store that was more orange than an orange, and yep it tasted reeeeeeeeeeally bad. But I was a cheapskate and felt I could compensate with other ingredients instead of tossing it out. It didn’t work. Jollof rice spice brands are like good bras.  Once you find a brand that works for you, DO NOT GET ADVENTOROUS. Stick with what you know except someone highly recommends it, you have tasted it and know this to be true. And in case you were wondering, I did not toss it out I used it till the very end. My mother taught me wasting food is a sin (Are spices food?)

You don’t know what bay leaves are (or you do and wilfully choose not to use them)
This is open for debate, but do not debate with me except you have taken the pain to make two separate pots of Jollof with the exact same ingredients with one of them having bay leaves. Have you? Me neither I don’t have that kind of time but if I did I bet you the subtle difference in the taste with the Bay leaves batch will be a delight. Disclaimer if you dump a forest of bay leaves into a pot of Jollof rice with number 1 – 6 offences you will end up with a tasteless vegetable-Jollof hybrid.

You measured the rice to the last grain and can’t afford to allow a little burning
Another one for debate. Side eye to those who make Jollof in the oven (is gas free in your area?) The number one reason I’ve heard from people that make Jollof in the oven is that it doesn’t burn. My answer to that is remember when you were growing up; when your aunty was getting married; and all the women in the house cooked the food. Didn’t you fight with your siblings for the bottom of the pot because that was the most delicious part? No? Oh sorry I didn’t know you were Dangote’s offspring. Next!

You think your 3-month-old chicken stock will be magically better than water
Please if you do not have constant power supply (or at least gen supply for a few hours daily) toss out your old chicken stock. Do not use it for Jollof rice or any other thing for that matter. The fresher the better. If in doubt just use water.

You think people that allow their Jollof to rest for a few minutes before serving are hippies
O gbona feli feli should only be limited to Amala and other such type of food. I postulate that one of the reasons why party Jollof is so great apart from the infusion of the firewood smell is that it takes you a few hours before you actually get to eat it. The flavours would have had a chance to marry and infuse into one another making the Jollof taste like the national treasure it truly is. Give 10 – 20 minutes after cooking before serving. Good things come to those who wait. This, however, does not apply if you live in a Nigerian hostel or have flat mates; in that case, screw the waiting and get in there now. It might be your only chance!

Mrs Kush.
(I am a food expert and I say this with confidence because I have the waistline to prove it.)


  1. DatEnuguChic

    April 27, 2017 at 1:02 pm

    I love your writing style. It was a pleasure reading this.

    • Fear God

      April 28, 2017 at 11:26 am

      Now this is how to write an article that is witty, educative and not condescending. Well done Mrs Kush

  2. debutante

    April 27, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    Love you already!

  3. Lliki

    April 27, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    Nice one.

  4. Anon

    April 27, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    “Jollof rice (INVENTED IN NIGERIA…” Tell that to the Wolof and Jolof people.

    I don’t like bay leaves in anything. Sometimes, I use rosemary as an alternative and it gives it a good taste.

    If you like bay leaves, the worst type of bay leaves are the ones bought in packs. Grow it and use fresh bay leaves only.

    The best jolof rice is “party” jolof rice and I know those caterers do not use bay leaves. It’s a subjective choice for you.

    • TeeS

      April 27, 2017 at 2:34 pm

      Bay leaves actually give the jollof rice a really nice taste . Obviously part jollof rice is just the firewood. You can’t beat that. Unless you attempt to make the jollof rice on a grill…,maybe I’ll try that ???.

    • Anon

      April 27, 2017 at 4:53 pm

      You can make party jolof rice at home without using firewood. Skills!

  5. Nancy Drew

    April 27, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    11. The brand of rice used is trash, if you’re not skilled not use ‘basmatic’ rice
    12. If you’re stuck with hard rice stop adding water, u can steam with foil paper

    • Iris

      April 27, 2017 at 1:56 pm

      I learnt number 12 from my Ghanaian (yep) friend. We don’t need as much water as we think.

    • Miss_Flygerian

      April 27, 2017 at 2:35 pm

      Number 12 alone dramatically improved my jollof game. I always wondered why my jollof rice would come out unsatisfactory until I came about this particular tip on Dooney’s kitchen.

    • Caterer in waiting

      April 27, 2017 at 3:29 pm

      Oh yes, Dooney’s Kitchen Party Jollof rice tips should be made into a culinary bible. My Jollof game used to be so shameful before. Don’t try me now o. This last easter the caterer my mother paid disappeared. Don’t ask, long story. My sister and I went to the market, I changed into jeans and cooked all the food for the party. My mother was looking at me like an alien took over her daughter. 2 bags of rice for Jollof and fried rice totally slayed with peppered meats. Efo Riro and giz Dodo. . Thanks to Dooney’s kitchen recipes and tips.

  6. o

    April 27, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    I didn’t learn to cook jollof till I was married (my mum never cooked it cos she was a white rice woman) so at first my jollof sucked. But I’m glad to say it’s now very good. I add some turmeric powder to the other spices when frying the sauce. Once your sauce is tasty, then you jollof is tasty. You must get the sauce right before adding the rice. The frying is key, if not na concoction rice you make. Jollof must burn, if not, no be jollof. Lol

    I really loved this article. Very funny

  7. Greatness

    April 27, 2017 at 1:29 pm

    Lol. I enjoyed reading, such a witty writer.

  8. coolchic

    April 27, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    Love this.

  9. Jay

    April 27, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    I enjoyed reading this ???

  10. Regina

    April 27, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    A point to note: tatase peppers are not bell peppers. They are cubanelles or Italian frying peppers, with a much different flavour profile and texture. They are sweet, yes, but slightly picante as well, and are the real reason our jollof rules.

    • prec

      April 27, 2017 at 3:30 pm

      WOW Thanks for this, I’ve been wondering why a particular taste has been missing from mine..

  11. Mummy Ade

    April 27, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    Love you! funny write up and yes i agree on the bay leaf, that was the game changer for me. I also add Rosemary…

  12. Dr. N

    April 27, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    You Madam are the MVP

  13. ify

    April 27, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    Mrs Kush, love your writing style and enjoyed reading this piec from beginning till end. Might I add that I concur with you 100%

  14. Jules

    April 27, 2017 at 3:23 pm

    Different people with different method

  15. CHIKA

    April 27, 2017 at 3:42 pm

    This made me smile all the way.

  16. Bennie

    April 27, 2017 at 3:55 pm

    Love this;
    (I am a food expert and I say this with confidence because I have the waistline to prove it.)!!!
    very funny. Good job

  17. Obitalker

    April 27, 2017 at 5:01 pm

    I love, love, love, love your write up. please write your other article. I am waiting to read it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. Kay

    April 27, 2017 at 5:14 pm

    Good tips.. I use less curry tho. + try using ginger and garlic when seasoning your chicken.. Use the stock in your jollof! That’s my secret recipe right there.. my jollof has never remained the same haha

    • BlueEyed

      April 27, 2017 at 5:37 pm

      That’s my own secret too, that and another spice that ends with “ny”
      Also with rice, water is not what cooks your rice, it is actually steam, small water, reduced heat, covered with foil and your rice will come out perfect!

    • Mz Socially Awkward....

      April 27, 2017 at 11:15 pm

      Na wa unto you, oh….. I can nae be cracking brain unto deciphering this your cryptic clue at this late o’clock, na.

      Oya, come and whisper it. ????

    • Ajala & Foodie

      April 28, 2017 at 1:36 am

      @BlueEyed, ok I have googled spices nothing they come up ending with “NY” Abeg whisper am like Mz. SA said. Una know say steam na the same as water she just in a different state, so it is still water cooking our jollof. I get your point though I.e no need drowning the rice in ?.

    • Stuz

      April 28, 2017 at 2:59 pm

      Benny chicken seasoning o. Lol. That thing upped my chicken stock game.

  19. Nike

    April 27, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    Awesome write-up. Witty and refreshing. Hope to read more from you.

  20. Mummybubu

    April 27, 2017 at 5:33 pm

    Good piece up there. ‘Argue with yo mama’ lol

  21. Adamazi

    April 27, 2017 at 7:03 pm

    Loved the introduction “Jollof rice (INVENTED IN NIGERIA… argue with yo mama)” . Great humor and nicely written.

  22. Orienma

    April 27, 2017 at 8:35 pm

    Please my good people pardon my ignorance, what exactly is this bey leaf ? Maybe I know it with another name.please say it in different names I may know.Thanks!

  23. Orienma

    April 27, 2017 at 8:39 pm

    Please my good people pardon my ignorance, what exactly is this bey leaf ? Maybe I know it with another name.please say it in different names I may know.Thanks!
    Abeg no curse me.

    • Ajala & Foodie

      April 27, 2017 at 9:55 pm

      @ Orienma, I am not sure bay leaf has another name. If it does I sure do not know it but you can google it. I am sure there is a picture of it online. It is really a ? but used for seasoning.

  24. Ajala & Foodie

    April 27, 2017 at 9:52 pm

    Am I the only one that thinks ground white pepper is a must? My hubby has become something of a jollof connoisseur. He can tell if the ratio of tomato :pepper is off by even 1. So recently, I took out bay leaf and he did not notice!!! I did though but maybe because I made it. (I don’t know for sure) but yep I was experimenting the importance of bay leaf ? in Jollof.

  25. Peaches77

    April 27, 2017 at 10:35 pm

    Try ginger and garlic in the meat stock and fry with the tomatoe as well. It’s the truth!!!

  26. miini

    April 28, 2017 at 8:21 am

    Great article! Funny and engaging. Great comments too. Yes we’ll love to read your next piece.

  27. Orienma

    April 28, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    Thanks darling.

  28. TMNkem

    April 28, 2017 at 3:57 pm

    I Love Love Love this!!! Great piece! Steaming gives the grainy but soft jollof rice whilst also ensuring the moisture of the jollof sauce is there! 🙂

  29. KitKat

    April 28, 2017 at 11:16 pm

    Nice article. I love your sense of humour Mrs Kush.

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