Jollaf rice with beef and onion

Jollaf rice is a West African rice dish – this version hails from Nigeria. And it’s bonkers good. Here’s my take for doing it at home. First you have to make Obe Ata. It’s a spicy, saucy base used in a lot of Nigerian and West African cooking. Similar, but not the same as Harissa.


  • 3 jalapeños or 1 habanero, destemmed
  • 1 red, orange or yellow pepper, broken down, seeds removed
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 a red onion
  • 1 inch piece of ginger
  • 8 oz whole canned tomatoes
  • 1 tbs avocado oil

Use about a cup of the Obe Ata in rice, freeze the rest for later. This should yield two cups.


  • 1.5 cups rice, basmati unwashed (trust me)
  • 2.5 cups chicken, beef, or veggie stock
  • Splash of liquid smoke (optional)
  • 1 lb sliced beef (sirloin, chuck, boneless short rib all good choices)
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced thin
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cayenne (optional)
  • 1 tsp paprika, sweet or smoked
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp savory dried herbs or 5-6 sprigs fresh thyme

** preheat oven to 350 degrees ** While your Obe Ata cooks, fry the beef, reserve. Then soften onions in the same heavy bottomed pan or Dutch oven. Once softened, reserve about Half, then add Garlic (Cook about a minute, then add tomato paste, spices). Cook another few minutes keeping food from burning with splashes of stock or water.

Add Obe Ata, stir and cook for a few min then

Add herbs, stir

Add rice, stir

Add stock, stir

Add reserved beef, stir

Cover lid, add to stove and cook for 40 min.

Remove and let sit for 15 min – DO NOT PEEK

– after 15 min, add the reserved onion, fluff up but do not stir rice with a heavy hand. Add juice of half a lemon if desired and taste and adjust seasoning.

Top with chopped parsley, scallions, chives an/ or cilantro – serve immediately

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