The Washington Post
4 to 8 servings (makes 8 cups)
Active time: 2 hours; Total time: 2 hours 30 minutes
MAKE AHEAD: The chalé sauce can be made 1 day in advance and refrigerated.
The jollof dry spice mix can be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place for several months. The green kpakpo shito salsa can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. The finished jollof can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Reheat leftovers in the microwave or on the stove top.
Cubeb pepper is widely available online, as well as at some spice shops and African markets.
Adapted from “Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen,” by Zoe Adjonyoh (Voracious, 2021).
For the jollof dry spice mix
2 tablespoons ground ginger 2 tablespoons dried thyme 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 1 tablespoon garlic powder 21/ teaspoons ground
21/ teaspoons ground nutmeg
21/ teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons onion powder 1 teaspoon smoked paprika 1 teaspoon fine sea or table salt 1 teaspoon freshly ground cubeb pepper (may substitute a mix of freshly ground black pepper and allspice)
For the chalé sauce
7 ounces canned diced tomatoes or 10 ounces fresh tomatoes, hulled and coarsely chopped
1 jarred roasted red bell pepper, drained
1 small white onion (about 4 ounces), coarsely chopped
1 small red Scotch bonnet chile pepper (use half and de-seed if you have a low heat tolerance or substitute 1/ teaspoon cayenne
for a milder heat)
1 tablespoon tomato paste 2 cloves garlic (optional) One (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, minced
1 teaspoon Madras curry powder (extra hot, if desired)
1/ teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/ teaspoon fine sea or table salt,
plus more to taste
1/ teaspoon chili powder (extra
hot, if desired)
For the jollof
3 tablespoons peanut oil or vegetable oil
1 medium white onion (about 8 ounces), diced
1 teaspoon curry powder, such as Madras
1 teaspoon chili powder 2 tablespoons jollof dry spice mix (see above)
2 cups chalé sauce (entire yield from above)
101/ ounces basmati rice or
other long-grain white rice, thoroughly rinsed until the water runs clear, then drained
1/ to 1 cup water, as needed
51/ ounces fresh or frozen peas
(no need to thaw, if frozen)
3 carrots, scrubbed and diced For the green kpakpo shito salsa
2 medium white or red onions (about 1 pound total), diced 31/ ounces green kpakpo shito
(cherry) chile peppers, roughly chopped (may substitute any other hot green chile, such as green bird’s eye, jalapeño, habanero or Scotch bonnet)
One (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, minced
1 clove garlic, chopped 2 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/ teaspoon fine sea or table salt,
plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Make the jollof dry spice mix: In a medium bowl, combine the ginger, thyme, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander, onion powder, smoked paprika, salt and cubeb pepper until combined. Blend them together in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle, working in batches, if needed. You should get about 2/ cup. Use right away or
3 transfer to an airtight container and store in a cool, dark place until needed.
Make the chalé sauce: In a blender, combine the tomatoes, roasted pepper, onion, Scotch bonnet chile, tomato paste, garlic, if using, ginger, curry powder, red pepper flakes, salt and chili powder. Blend until you have a fairly smooth paste. Taste, and season with more salt, if desired. You should get about 2 cups. Use right away, or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until needed. Start the jollof: In a large, heavybottomed pot, such as a Dutch oven, over medium heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion and saute until golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the curry and chili powders and stir to coat the onion, then stir in the 2 tablespoons of jollof dry spice mix.
Add all of the chalé sauce to the pan and stir well to combine. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce should be slightly thicker and darker than when you started, and extremely aromatic.
Make the green kpakpo shito salsa: While the sauce is cooking, start the salsa (you may need to break this up into two parts and finish it while the rice is steaming). In a food processor or blender, combine the onions, chiles, ginger, garlic, lemon or lime juice, olive oil and salt. Process gently in brief pulses until you have a coarse paste of finely chopped ingredients. Scrape down the sides and stir once or twice for even chopping. Avoid pureeing the mixture, especially in a blender. Taste, and season with more salt, if desired and black pepper, to taste. You should get about 3 cups. Use right away, or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until needed.
Return to the jollof: After the sauce has cooked, stir in the rice and 1/ cup of the water and bring
2 the mixture to a boil. If there isn’t enough liquid to actually boil, stir in a bit more of the water, just enough to bubble. Stir in the peas and carrots until combined. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot with a piece of foil or parchment to keep in the steam and replace the lid. Cook for 12 to 17 minutes, until the rice is mostly, but not completely, soft. When you check on it, stir the rice and scrape up as much of the layer of rice from the bottom as you can. If it’s looking very dry or threatening to burn, add another splash of water. Replace the foil and lid, turn off the heat and leave the pot on the burner to allow the rice to finish steaming to cook through, 8 to 10 minutes. You may end up with final a layer of browned rice at the bottom, which is normal (and some people’s favorite part), but it shouldn’t be charred to the point of being acrid. If you remove the pot from the burner and leave the lid on a few more minutes, that can help it release from the bottom as well. Fluff up the rice, then serve with the kpakpo shito salsa on the side.
Nutrition | Per serving, based on 8 (1 cup rice and 2 tablespoons salsa): 250 calories, 5 g protein, 42 g carbohydrates, 7 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 390 mg sodium, 4 g dietary fiber, 5 g sugar
Recipe tested by Becky Krystal; email questions to email@example.com