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Tasty Tales: Jollof rice

Updated: Jun 5

Dive into the flavors of West Africa with the classic Jollof rice, made with rice, tomatoes, onions, peppers... find out how to cook it using the recipe below!

In my children's book Tasty Tales on history and food, I share the story behind Jollof Rice. A fragrant and beloved dish, that countries such as Senegal, Ghana, and Nigeria all claim to be the birthplace of! Depending on who cooks it and where, Jollof Rice has a different list of ingredients.

This is my version that I made for Tasty Tales readers that I hope you will love to eat and cook with your loved ones!

Tips for cooking this:

This recipe takes some steps and some time, as well as weighing amounts of ingredients. Be careful with the stove, too, and be sure to ask a grownup to help you.


About an hour, including preparation and cooking time.


  • 1 cup long-grain rice

  • 1 cup tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes

  • 1 onion, finely chopped

  • 1 bell pepper (any color), diced

  • 1 carrot, grated (optional)

  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth

  • 1 teaspoon curry powder

  • 1 teaspoon thyme

  • 1 teaspoon paprika

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • Vegetable oil for cooking

Be sure to serve with delicious additions like fried plantains, or chicken!


  1. Wash the rice: Ask an adult to help you rinse the rice under cold water until the water runs clear. This helps remove excess starch.

  2. Prepare the vegetables: Finely chop the onion and dice the bell pepper. Grate the carrot if you're using it.

  3. Heat some vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and cook until they're soft and translucent.

  4. Add the diced bell pepper and grated carrot to the pot. Cook for a few minutes until they start to soften.

  5. Pour in the tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes and stir well. Let it cook for about 5 minutes.

  6. Add the washed rice to the pot and stir until it's coated with the tomato mixture.

  7. Pour in the chicken or vegetable broth. Add the curry powder, thyme, paprika, salt, and pepper. Stir everything together.

  8. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot with a lid and let the rice simmer for about 20-25 minutes, or until the rice is cooked and the liquid has been absorbed.

  9. Once the rice is cooked, fluff it up a bit with a fork and serve hot.

Enjoy your homemade Jollof rice! You can serve it with grilled chicken, fried plantains, or your favorite veggies. Did this recipe make you crave more Tasty Tales? Check out your local bookshop or find it on Amazon, Bol, or elsewhere online!

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