This West African Dish is Our Most Popular Recipe of All Time

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Much has changed at Food52 over the years—office locations, columnists, the seriousness with which we discuss TikTok. However, one thing has long stayed the same: Ozoz Sokoh’s Jollof Rice is our most popular recipe of all time.

A rice dish that’s cooked in a deeply seasoned tomato stew—think: curry, thyme, and bay leaves—Jollof is a nourishing, classic West African staple that impresses and delights at any meal. With its mostly hands-off cook time, and use of produce basics (Roma tomatoes, peppers, onions) and pantry staples (curry powder, long-grain rice, tomato paste), it nails the all-important effort-to-enjoyment ratio. Although it would work alongside any piece of meat or fish, Jollof is traditionally served with stews, braises, and plantains.

It’s worth noting, that when making this specific Jollof, you should read through the entire recipe note. Over time, Ozoz has made some changes to the recipe, like electing to no longer parboil the rice before introducing it to the tomato stew base. While any version of this recipe will work well, referencing her updates—and their corresponding rationale—will help you make the Jollof that reflects your preferences.

According to Ozoz—whose Food52 community profile is wonderfully named Kitchen Butterfly—Joloff is as culturally important as it is delicious. “It’s the one dish across West Africa that is a unifying dish,” she told Food52 co-founder Merrill Stubbs on an episode of At Home With Us. In fact, the dish is so universally beloved, it has its own holiday: Each year on August 22nd, the dish’s fans celebrate World Jollof Rice Day.

While the dish is unifying in that it’s enjoyed throughout the region, its origin can spark debate, as Nigeria, Ghana, and Senegal all claim to be the home of Jollof. In fact, when Nigeria and Ghana compete against one another in soccer, the clash is often referred to as the “Jollof Derby.” In January 2023, the debate became a matter of international bureaucracy as the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared Senegal Jollof’s country of origin.

Although its birthplace is contested, the dish itself seems to bring nothing but joy to those who make it—especially our community members, who have left over 50 near-perfect ratings. After trying Ozoz’s Jollof, add your review in the recipe’s comments to let us know your experience.



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