Abiola’s Basmati Jollof Rice

I’m a dab hand at Jollof – she laughs in red and spice. Well, I’ve finally gotten things down to at least consistent, delicious results. That’s with long grain rice though, not basmati. 

Learning to make basmati Jollof has been a lifelong dream, from the days of Holland when @olayide_williams and I would order stunning basmati Jollof from Bose, 80 euros for a huge tub that we’d work our way through in days

However, my basmati game was so weak – the rice always ended up mushy or broken, I never got the right kind of taste….till last week when a friend, A came over. A is T’s mum. T is friends with R, daughter #2 – picky eater extraordinaire. So one day, we’re at T’s house, R refuses to leave because #Jrice is cooking. When it’s done, she gets a huge bowl and I taste a bit. Mind blown. Mind blown. Mind actually blown. My friends actually have the rice game on lockdown, from fried to J!

I started pestering A to teach me. And I learnt last night. She brought all the ingredients, I brought the meat stock and history was made. When we began, A told me a few things

  • how she uses the same number of tomatoes and tatashe (red poblanos) and how that generally translates into a 60:40 ratio by weight
  • how the weight of the tomatoes and rice were the same though she’d never measured by weight, just eyeballed. When we measured though, she was so close to the truth, we both shivered. With excitement. There’s a lot of science and ratios to perfect dishes – perfect being your own spec, apart from when it comes to dodo but that’s for another day.
  • Also, she only cooks her basmati Jollof in a non-stick pot


Here’s what I learnt about cooking basmati Jollof:
1. The right rice will give the right Jollof rice!

Use #goldensella. It’s a parboiled basmati – yellowish, long grain and steamed during the processing. It’s similar to our/ Thai long grain varieties only slimmer. The science behind parboiling opens up the grain, makes the nutrients more bio available and allows flavors in. Generally speaking, parboiled rice is more nutritious than white rice. 

The milling procedure of Golden Sella Rice differentiates itself from any other form of rice. It is ensured that the paddy is first steamed and further dried, for the purpose of milling. Later the rice is gently parboiled to lock-in the nutrients. This help in lending the grains form a long slender shape and adapt a soft golden or a yellow colour.

This rice has a strong ability to absorb the flavours of herbs, spices and much more, and that is why it is used in variety of Persian cuisines such as Pulao, Biryani etc. A dish can look appealing if golden Sella rice is used. Since, the grains are elongated post-cooking and further adds aroma, flavour, fragrance as well as visual beauty to the dish. Also, each rice grain separates out perfectly after cooking. Golden Sella Rice is also appreciated for various health benefits; Source – Quora

Golden sella rice is the cultivar – different brands have their golden sella. It is also called 1121 Golden sella – one of over 40 varieties. A swears by Asli, pictured below.


2. We used raw rice, just washed – not parcooked


3. Tomato paste isn’t a necessity. My friend used a lot of fresh tomatoes and tatashe (#redpoblano) and no tomato paste

4. We didn’t use any salt – we only used seasoning cubes


5. Our seasoning consisted of curry powder, dried thyme, stock cubes, black and white pepper. No salt. Because when you use stock cubes, you shouldn’t use salt


6. Once the rice is in, cook on the lowest temperature possible so the rice steams. You stir a couple of times till its ready



The results were stunning and I’ve since made a couple of pots with great results – still learning though! I am super pleased that finally, I’ve crossed that bridge and I can cook basmati Jollof. My life will never be the same again! Thank you! What do you think? What tips and tricks do you have in cooking with golden sella?

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