Perfect Jollof Rice for Your Kwanzaa Feast

Kwanzaa is a week-long celebration of African-American culture that takes place from December 26th to January 1st. It is a time for families and communities to come together to honour their heritage and celebrate the seven principles of Kwanzaa. One of these principles is Ujamaa, which emphasizes the importance of cooperative economics and the sharing of resources. In the spirit of Ujamaa, we’re sharing a delicious recipe for Jollof Rice – a traditional West African dish that is perfect for Kwanzaa.

Jollof Rice is a one-pot dish that is full of flavour and spices. It is made with long-grain rice, tomato paste, onions, peppers, and a blend of spices like paprika, thyme, and cumin. The dish is usually served with a protein like chicken or fish, and it is often shared among family and friends.

Here’s how to make Jollof Rice:


  • 2 cups long-grain rice
  • 4 cups chicken broth or water
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Rinse the rice in cold water and drain.
  2. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat.
  3. Add the onion and sauté until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the bell peppers and garlic and cook for another 5 minutes, until the vegetables are soft.
  5. Add the tomato paste, paprika, thyme, cumin, and curry powder and cook for another 2 minutes, until fragrant.
  6. Add the rice and stir to coat with the vegetable mixture.
  7. Pour in the chicken broth or water and bring to a boil.
  8. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, until the rice is cooked and the liquid has been absorbed.
  9. Fluff the rice with a fork and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Serve hot.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is Jollof Rice?

Jollof Rice is a popular West African one-pot dish with rice, tomatoes, onions, spices, and various proteins. It is a flavorful and colourful dish often enjoyed during Kwanzaa celebrations and other occasions.

Can I make Jollof Rice vegetarian or vegan?

Yes, you can make vegetarian or vegan Jollof Rice by omitting the meat or replacing it with plant-based protein options like chickpeas, tofu, or tempeh. You can also use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.

What type of rice is best for Jollof Rice?

Long-grain parboiled rice is recommended for Jollof Rice because it holds its shape well and absorbs flavours without becoming mushy. Basmati or Jasmine rice can also be used but may require cooking time and liquid quantity adjustments.

How spicy is Jollof Rice?

The spiciness of Jollof Rice can be adjusted to your preference. You can add more or less hot pepper, depending on your taste. You can omit the hot pepper entirely if you prefer a milder version.

Final Tips for Flawless Jollof Rice

Jollof Rice is a versatile dish that can be customized to your taste preferences. You can add more or less spice depending on your preferences, and you can also add your favourite protein or vegetables to the dish. Some popular additions to Jollof Rice include chicken, fish, shrimp, or peas.

Jollof Rice is a perfect dish for Kwanzaa because it symbolizes the principle of Ujamaa. It is a dish that can be shared among family and friends, and it is a great way to celebrate the spirit of togetherness and cooperation that is at the heart of Kwanzaa.

Jollof Rice is a delicious and flavorful dish that is perfect for celebrating Kwanzaa. Whether you’re cooking for your family or sharing the dish with friends, Jollof Rice is a great way to honour your heritage and celebrate the principles of Kwanzaa. Try this recipe, be sure to share your comments down below, and enjoy the flavours of West Africa!

Rusty Burlington


  • Rusty Griswold

    Since 2015, I have been building my light display to celebrate the holiday season and experimenting with various recipes to bring people together around the table. I have learned many do's and don'ts in both areas along the way, and share them with everyone via the website. M Mike
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