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[Recipe] Nigerian Jollof Rice with Chicken Drumsticks

Updated: Mar 9, 2020

My obsession with Jollof Rice began sometime last year, and there's been no turning back ever since. I initially failed in my pursuit of authentic jollof rice in Hong Kong, as my only lead was a restaurant in Chung King Mansions that I wasn't entirely sure how to access. So I looked up a bunch of YouTube videos and recipes online, and after multiple trials and errors, combined them to make my version of what I envision the "perfect" jollof rice would taste like.

This recipe incorporates more accessible ingredients [Hong Kong] so you don't have to scramble for spices. It’s important you use long-grain basmati rice for the desired texture, or else you might get sticky, wet Jollof. The spice level is low to moderate -- leaves just enough of a tang, but not burning hot. You can adjust the number of chilis, or keep the seeds in before blending.

Also, it's for four people but if you're just two, I highly recommend you to make it anyway and enjoy the leftovers over the next few days. :)

Jollof Rice Ingredients (serves 4)


-6-8 large chicken drumsticks or 12 mini chicken drumsticks (prefer the mini, easier to cook)


-Olive oil

-Soy sauce

-Tomato paste

-Garlic salt

-Dried thyme

-Curry powder

-Lemon pepper (optional - I use McCormick's)

-Chilli powder (optional)

-Spicy Garlic rub (available at GREAT Pacific Place,

-2 chicken bouillon cubes

-2 bay leaves


-1 red bell pepper (chunks)

-4 medium tomatoes (quartered) -2 small red onions (diced, separated into 2 piles)

-4 red chilis (deseeded, diced)


-3 cups of washed basmati rice


-1 blender

-1 deep pot + its lid

-Aluminum foil

-1 small, shallow saucepan

-1 colander (for rice)

Directions for cooking:

1. Tenderize chicken drumsticks with fork & rub with olive oil & soy sauce in a mixing bowl. Rub with Garlic Spice mix, garlic salt, a touch of dried thyme and curry powder. Marinate overnight in the fridge. If you don't have time to marinate overnight, just keep it to the side while you do the next steps.


2. Prep the vegetables. Cut up 1 red bell pepper, 4 tomatoes, 4 deseeded red chillis and 1 red onion into chunks, and put into blender. Add 1 tsp of dried thyme, 1 tsp tomato paste, and 1 tsp salt. Blend until completely smooth.

3. Take the blended concoction (2) and bring to boil in a shallow saucepan. Let it simmer and reduce down to a thick, red paste while you do the next steps.


4. Dice up the 2nd red onion. Heat up the deep pot with olive oil. Fry with red onion, a pinch of dried thyme and the marinated chicken drumsticks.

5. Cook until golden on the outside on all sides (different cooking times for big / small drumsticks of course), and then pour in ~3 cups of water, or until the drumsticks are mostly covered.

6. Mix in 2 chicken bouillon cubes, 2 bay leaves, 2 tsp tomato paste, 3 tsp curry powder. Place lid and let it all simmer together on medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes. Check on the progress of (3), and set aside if it has reduced down to a thick paste.

7. Take out the chicken drumsticks from the broth, and set aside.

8. Add the red paste (3) into the deep pot, and mix together. Taste the broth now and see if it has enough flavour. Add garlic salt / chilli powder / tomato paste / salt to taste.


9. Add 3 cups of washed basmati rice into (7). Mix it up, and make sure the liquid just covers the rice. If not, add water & adjust seasoning as needed.

10. Take heat down to low. Place aluminum foil on top. Cover firmly with the lid, without escaping steam. Steam for 20 minutes.


11. Take the drumsticks you've set aside, and fry it up in a pan with olive oil for a nice sear on the skin. Sprinkle with lemon pepper. Make sure it's cooked all the way!

12. After 20 minutes are up, it’s done! Make sure you scrape up the burnt parts at the bottom for a delicious crunch. Combine with chicken, and serve.

You're probably going to have leftovers -- and somehow it tastes even better the next day. If you're all out of chicken, heat it up and enjoy it with a runny sunny side-up egg on top!

Feel free to follow me / ask me questions on Instagram @furellie!




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