The chef Tunde Wey is based in New Orleans, but he was born in Nigeria, where jollof rice is a well-loved dish. The rice is cooked in a flavorful tomato and pepper purée; his version is vegan, and laced with chile heat.
- Serves: 7 persons
- 2medium tomatoes, roughly chopped (about 5 ounces each)
- ½medium Scotch bonnet pepper (or use a habanero pepper), stem removed
- ½medium onion, roughly chopped
- 3small red bell peppers, roughly chopped (about 5 ounces each)
- ½cup vegetable oil
- 1 ½teaspoons salt
- 1teaspoon curry powder
- 1 ½teaspoons hot ground chile pepper, such as African dried chile or cayenne
- 1 ½teaspoons garlic powder
- 1tablespoon plus 1 heaping teaspoon onion powder
- 2bay leaves
- ½teaspoon ground ginger
- 1tablespoon dried thyme
- 2 ½cups medium-grain rice
Step 1In a blender, combine tomatoes, scotch bonnet pepper and onions; purée. Pour out half the purée into a bowl; set aside. Add the bell peppers to the purée remaining in the blender and pulse until smooth. Add to the mixture that was set aside and stir to combine.
Step 2Heat vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add blended vegetables along with the salt, curry powder, ground chile pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, bay leaves, ginger and thyme. Bring mixture to a boil.
Step 3Stir in the rice until well mixed, then reduce the heat to low.
Step 4Cover pot and let cook until rice is al dente, about 45 minutes. Check after 30 minutes; if rice is sauce-logged, remove the lid to cook off the excess sauce. If rice seems dry, stir in 1 to 2 cups water. Allow the rice at the bottom of the pot to char a bit to infuse it with a smoky flavor.