Recipe: Nigerian jollof rice
February 19, 2021

Looking for ways to celebrate Black History Month? Recent Child and Youth Care grad Lala Kelsy-Braide shares this recipe from her home country. “Jollof rice is a celebration dish of West Africa,” she explains. “You eat it at parties, naming ceremonies, weddings and funerals. It is a fragrant dish that is revered across the sub-region for its sweet taste and subtle spiciness. You can eat jollof rice with any protein of your choice, too.” The dish can be cooked in the oven (the easier option) or on the stove (the quicker option).


  • 3 Tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 Teaspoons of fresh thyme or 1 Teaspoon of dried thyme
  • 1 Tablespoon of minced garlic or garlic powder
  • 3 Cups of long-grain, uncooked rice (basmati works well)
  • 1 Tablespoon of paprika (curry powder also works)
  • 2 Teaspoons of chicken bouillon (can substitute Creole seasoning)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 and 3/4 Cups of tomato sauce (can substitute crushed tomatoes)
  • 4 Cups of broth or water (5 and 1/4 Cups for the stovetop method)
  • Optional ingredients:
    • 1 whole scotch bonnet pepper or ¾ teaspoon of hot pepper sauce
    • Sauteed vegetables like peas, carrots, green beans or corn
    • Sauteed diced meat
    • Parsley for garnish

Baking method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Rinse rice with water.
  3. Put all the ingredients in a shallow dish with a tight fitting lid (a dutch oven works well) and stir so that everything is combined.
  4. Place the dish in the oven and let it cook for 70 to 80 minutes. Start checking it after about 70 minutes.
  5. When all ingredients are cooked through and simmering, carefully remove the dish from the oven and let it rest for about five minutes.
  6. Fluff the rice with a fork, throw in your cooked add-ins (proteins and vegetables) and mix until they’re distributed evenly. Garnish with parsley and serve warm.

Stovetop method:

  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onion, thyme, and garlic. Cook for about two minutes or until the onion becomes soft and translucent.
  3. Add the rice. Season with paprika, bouillon, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring often, for about 30 seconds or until fragrant. Then stop stirring and let the mixture brown for two minutes.
  4. Pour in the tomato sauce, broth, and (if applicable) hot pepper.
  5. Bring to a boil, stirring once or twice. Reduce heat to low, cover pot and let simmer until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed, or about 15 to 18 minutes.
  6. Remove the pot from heat. Let it sit covered for five minutes then fluff the rice with a fork. Throw in sauteed vegetables and meat, if applicable. Garnish with parsley and serve warm.
A bowl of jollof rice cooked by Georgian grad Lala Kelsy-Braide

Tips and notes:

Baking dish: If you don’t have a dutch oven, cover your dish tightly with aluminum foil. Double the foil to retain more heat.

Doubling the recipe: This recipe has a generous yield, but if you want twice the rice, double everything except the cooking time. You might have to add just a few minutes more, depending on your chosen cookware. For the oven method, start checking after 80 minutes.

Types of rice: Most varieties of rice work well. If you use brown rice, add another cup of broth and expect a longer cooking time.

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Recent Georgian grad Lala Kelsy-Braide, wearing traditional Nigeria clothing in the halls of the Orillia Campus

Meet Lala

Alasoba (Lala) Kelsy-Braide came to Georgian as an international student from Nigeria to study Child and Youth Care at the Orillia Campus. As a student, Lala was a valued leader in the Georgian community. She championed several initiatives as the VP of Community Engagement for the Georgian College Students’ Association (GCSA) in Orillia.

Now a recent graduate, Lala works at Apple Blossom Village as a Youth Support Worker for young people with special needs and mental health challenges. She is on the Board of Directors at MakingChangeSC, chairing the Community Engagement and Cultural Committee. She is also an active member of the Ontario Association of Child and Youth Care (OACYC) and a proud mother of two children, Kelsilda and Kelsmorrison.

Lala’s jollof recipe was inspired by a recipe on African Bites.