Wednesday, 12 March 2014


Who doesn't love party jollof rice??? If we are really honest to ourselves we would admit that the only thing we look forward to at events especially in Lagos, is that plate of hot smoky firewood scented and flavoured rice! Well, that and small chops... I replicated it at home and trust me if i could build a firewood fire, so can you. Firewood is cheap and really accessible and wherever you find firewood you will find someone selling little bottles of kerosene. No, you don't want to use petrol because its more dangerous plus it burns off quicker so your wood doesn't have time to really burn.

So we'll start with a fire building tutorial.
Find a nice dry spot a bit away from your door/window.
Get a base that will not burn, like a random sheet of aluminum or plantain leaves or just build it on the ground if you don't mind the stain or washing off the ashes when you're done.
Next, find something stable you can use as your stand for your pot, i used and old metal flower pot stand.
Lay little bits of flammable stuff on your base, nothing plastic please! As plastic melts it breaks down and releases chemicals have have been found to be cancer causing plus the smell will affect your food, we certainly don't want that! You can use bits of scrap paper and pieces of wood that splinter off your firewood. Wanna know something else that holds fire really well? Coconut shell! Lol. My mum told me this, i tried it and it really does, smolders and burns slow too.
Now poke your firewood in from different angles all meting in the middle, but do not overcrowd them, your fire needs air to burn.
Pour a cup of kerosene over the wood and carefully light it up and step back. The fire will burn for a minute or two then start to die down. This is where you have to put your back into it.
Get a fan, magazine, newspaper, clean dustpan, whatever you can fan the flame with and get to work. Count as you do, fan too much and you will put the fire out completely. Fan maybe 15 times and rest for 3 seconds and watch for a small flame, if you don't see one yet but you see some smouldering embers, go at it again. In 2 minutes or less you should have a nice steady fire. And emmm, you might wanna tie your hair up first...
When you have your fire going its time to go find a pot that you haven't used in maybe a year and even forgot you had and prep it for the cooking.
Another tip, rub palm oil all over the outside of that pot. This way all the soot coming off the firewood gets trapped in the oil and doesn't stain your pot. Washing off palm oil is messy, no doubt, but it'll have you from scrubbing charcoal stains off your pot!

Now i had seasoned my goat meat with salt, pepper, garlic and onions, cooked it and fried it in vegetable oil and saved the oil... Lets get to cooking.

2 Cups vegetable oil
1 Cup palm oil
1/4 Cup ground crayfish (optional)
Medium sized bowl of rough ground red tomatoes and tatshe (bell pepper)
2 Cloves of garlic (grated)
1 Red onion (chopped)
Meat/chicken stock
3 Seasoning cubes
Salt and pepper
Long grain rice

Put your vegetable oil on the fire, pour in a little palm oil (optional, i like the extra flavour) and add onions, crayfish and ground tomatoes and tatashe and allow to fry for 5 minutes or until "dry". Firewood flame burns hot than you might expect so you have to keep your eyes on the pot. This is also why i choose not to soften the onions by itself first as i normally would.

Wash your rice a couple of time with hot water and salt a couple of times and then rinse with cold water. I don't recommend pre-cooking the rice first and washing because most times you might end up over cooking before washing, breakup the rice while washing, releasing the starch and then still end up with sticky rice. If you don't go turning your rice, it wont get sticky.

Strain rice and add to the pot and stir till its well coated and allow to cook for a minute. Add your stock and stir, season and taste. Then, LEAVE THE RICE ALONE! Cook uncovered or with the lid of the pot slightly off, we do want some of that smoke to get into the rice.

Keep rechecking your firewood and fire, add more wood if you need to but no more kerosene.

If you notice the rice is still a bit hard and needs a little more stock or water add some, if you notice its cooking unevenly turn the pot around a bit. Instead of stirring, insert a wooden spoon between the rice and the edge of the pot and gently push and lift so the liquid recirculates.

When the rice is cooked, don't be in a hurry to take it off just yet, allow it to burn for a minute or 2. Trust me on this.

Now go wash your smelly self off, pat yourself on the back and enjoy!