DIY Recipes: How to make the best Ghana Jollof

Jollof rice is a much-loved festive dish in Ghana.

Ghana Jollof

It is very simple and easy to prepare.



  • For the meat

750 to 800g (1 1/3 lbs) lamb (or beef)

½ an onion

1 scotch bonnet pepper (habanero is a good substitute)*

1 bouillon cube

3 whole cloves (roughly 1/4 tsp ground)

  • For the rice

4 Tablespoon oil

1 large onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1-inch fresh ginger, grated

1 scotch bonnet pepper (habanero pepper)*, chopped

1 Tablespoon tomato puree (tomato paste)

6 large, fresh tomatoes or 1 and ½ cans of tomato, chopped

1 seasoning cube/bouillon cube (or salt to taste)

1 teaspoon thyme

2 cups long-grain rice

2 cups hot water or stock/broth

½ cup mixed carrots and peas (thawed if frozen or fresh)

A round of parchment paper that fits inside your cooking pot (see step 11)


  • The meat

Cut the lamb (or beef) into sizeable chunks.

Create a paste by blending the ½ portion of onion and lamb seasoning in a food processor or with a mortar and pestle. Then, rub the paste on your meat pieces.

If the meat is tough, simmer the meat and sauce paste until the meat is tender, then remove the pieces of meat and grill or fry them so the lamb pieces crisp up.

If the meat is tender, it can go straight to the grill for cooking through. Set the cooked meat aside.

  • For the rice

Rinse your rice and start some water boiling (for soaking the rice in step 7). (The rice is washed to remove excess starchiness, which can make the final dish gloopy or sticky.)

To make the stew base, heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan.

Fry the onions until golden brown. Add the garlic and ginger for a few seconds before adding your tomato puree (tomato paste). Fry for just under a minute.

Add the thyme and bouillon cube, followed by the tomatoes and scotch bonnet pepper.

Cook the sauce for about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir continuously to make sure it is not burning at the bottom.

Next, add all the meat and stir to coat it well in the sauce. Continue cooking the stew.

While the tomato sauce is cooking, soak the rinsed rice in some boiled water until the stew base is ready.

Once the stew is thick, with an oily film forming on the surface, remove half the meat stew from the pot and set it aside for serving. (This is a preference particular to Ghanaians, who will often eat jollof rice with additional stew on the side.)

Strain the soaked rice and add it to the pot. Season to taste carefully.

Top up the pot with enough water or broth. For those with an experienced eye for rice, this would normally be about 500ml (2 cups). (You may need to add more later if the rice is still hard.) Stir to mix, then bring to a boil, then reduce to medium heat.

Once simmering nicely and the moisture has nearly all gone, add the peas and carrots. Then cover with parchment paper right above the rice (to lock in moisture and add natural cooking pressure). Close with an airtight lid. Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 20 minutes.

Taste the rice. Once the grains are cooked it is ready.



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