Nigerian Jollof Rice With Beef

Nigerian Jolla Rice with Beef Recipe

The Spruce / Ozoz Sokoh

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 75 mins
Total: 90 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
300 Calories
14g Fat
25g Carbs
19g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 300
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g 19%
Saturated Fat 3g 14%
Cholesterol 50mg 17%
Sodium 471mg 20%
Total Carbohydrate 25g 9%
Dietary Fiber 2g 9%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 19g
Vitamin C 44mg 218%
Calcium 47mg 4%
Iron 3mg 15%
Potassium 480mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Jollof rice is the most popular rice across the Coast of West Africa. Spiced, red-orange it is street food, everyday lunch, Sunday rice, celebration food, and everything in between.

The rice grains are stewed and layered with flavor, but emerge at the end of cooking somewhat separate—the goal is more pilau than risotto. Converted or parboiled long grain rice works best because the parboiling process strengthens the grains so they cook in the sauce without breaking down and turning to mush.

Building the stew base is the most important step and involves cooking the tomatoes twice—first, you cook down the mix and reduce it, which blunts the raw edge of the tomatoes, onions, and peppers. Second, you create the stew—a fried, spiced base seasoned with curry powder, dried thyme, bay leaves, salt, and more.

"This Nigerian Jollof Rice with Beef recipe was absolutely delicious. The rice was perfectly cooked and extremely flavorful, and the addition of meat made it a full meal. Be sure to cut the meat as instructed so it becomes tender within the prescribed cooking time." —Diana Andrews

Nigerian Jollof Rice with Beef
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 4 medium fresh plum, or Roma tomatoes, 3 coarsely chopped, 1 sliced for garnish, divided

  • 1 medium red bell pepper, coarsely chopped

  • 4 small red onions, 2 coarsely chopped, 2 thinly sliced, divided

  • 1/4 Scotch bonnet pepper, optional

  • 3 cups vegetable stock, chicken or beef stock, or water, divided, more as needed

  • 10 ounces (300 grams) stewing beef, cut into 3/4-inch pieces

  • 2 teaspoons curry powder, preferably a Caribbean blend, divided

  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme, divided

  • Salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 1/4 cup neutral oil, divided

  • 3 small to medium dried bay leaves

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter, divided

  • 2 cups converted long-grain rice, such as Uncle Ben's, rinsed

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Nigerian Jolla Rice with Beef ingredients

    The Spruce / Ozoz Sokoh

  2. In a blender, combine the 3 chopped tomatoes, red bell pepper, the 2 chopped onions, Scotch bonnet, if using, and 1 1/2 cups of stock or water. Blend on high, in batches if necessary, until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. You should have about 6 to 6 1/2 cups.

  3. Transfer to a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

  4. In a medium bowl, toss the beef with 1 teaspoon curry powder, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, and a generous pinch of salt and pepper.

  5. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy-duty pot over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the beef in batches, if necessary, cooking until golden on all sides, about 7 minutes per batch. Remove the meat as it becomes done to a plate. Set aside.

    pan-fry beef till brown

    The Spruce / Ozoz Sokoh

  6. In the same Dutch oven, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. When the oil shimmers, add 1 of the sliced onions, the remaining 1 teaspoon curry powder, the remaining 1 teaspoon dried thyme, bay leaves, and a large pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until the onion becomes translucent, about 2 minutes.

  7. Add the tomato paste and 1 teaspoon of butter, stirring constantly until the butter melts.  

  8. Add the reduced tomato-pepper mixture to the pot, the remaining 1 1/2 cups of stock, the meat, and any juices from the plate. Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and continue to cook until the meat begins to tenderize, about 15 minutes.

  9. Taste for seasoning and adjust to your liking—salt and curry powder should be the most forward taste elements. 

  10. Add the rice and stir well to coat the grains.

  11. Cover with a doubled piece of foil or parchment paper. Cover the pot with a lid—this will seal in the steam and lock in the flavor. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the rice and meat are tender, about 30 minutes. Check the rice after 20 minutes. If the pot is dry and the rice is still al dente, add 1/4 cup more broth or water. Stir the mixture to combine. Cover with foil and the lid. Continue to cook, checking every 5 minutes until the rice and meat are tender.

    Double piece of foil with lid on the pan

    The Spruce / Ozoz Sokoh

  12. Stir in the remaining teaspoon of butter until it melts. Garnish with the remaining sliced onion and the remaining sliced tomato. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Serving Suggestions

Plate your jollof rice with sweet, ripe fried plantains and Nigerian salad—a mix of coleslaw— for a popular accompaniment.

Recipe Variation

You can leave out the beef for a vegetarian version, subbing in even more veggies, if desired. Alternatively, you can use chicken or fish in place of the beef (adjust cooking time as needed).

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