A Favorite Food: Coconut Jollof Rice

“Let the stoics say what they please, we do not eat for the good of living, but because the food is savory and the appetite is keen.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Jollof Rice

Jollof Rice

Growing up in a large family meant we had many occasions to celebrate. Inviting extended family members and serving traditional foods was always a big part of our gatherings. Days before a special event, my mom and a few aunts would go shopping for all the fresh ingredients and gather in the kitchen to discuss who would make what dish - Jollof Rice was always on the menu. Jollof Rice is a very popular savory dish in Nigeria, and its origins can be traced back to the Wolof people of Senegal and The Gambia. The addition of desiccated coconut to my recipe is a twist my ever-inventive, gourmet cook mother added to this traditional dish, hence, her dish/recipe for -
Coconut Jollof Rice.
What comes to mind when you think of happy times with your family? Think about it. Many family stories are centered around cooking and eating favorite foods. When I think back to my childhood days, more so than my adult life, I have fond memories of dishes prepared by aunts and grannies from both sides of my family. There were dishes that, Dada, my paternal grandmother made and other dishes, Mama Clara, my maternal granny prepared. Each set of relatives brought their childhood food memories, from our varied and extended family history, and planted them firmly in their dishes. Visiting extended family for special events was always an opportunity to be regaled with stories of ancestors, and close friends, who gave away secret recipes only under duress on their dying bed… We all have these stories.

Dessicated Coconut

This week for Tell The Truth Thursday: What is your favorite food/best recipe?
Interestingly, in today's world of busy, over-scheduled, modern families, the dynamic has shifted as people eat in a hurry, order take out foods or go to restaurants a lot more than previous generations. Working outside the home has meant that many of us can no longer follow the footstep of our moms and have a sit down dinner promptly at …. .... Fill in the blank. Even though I enjoy cooking and prepare several meals at home, we eat out too. In terms of favorite foods, we love Asian, African, Mid-Eastern and Continental cuisine, and vary our restaurant outings on eating foods from those parts of the world. However, we do eat foods from around the globe and my kids have developed a sophisticated palate and enjoy eating out as well as eating foods I prepare in my kitchen.

Despite the shifting, modern, dining winds in many households, I choose to cherish memories of my mom's cooking, while embracing the modern ways we break bread. I make sure that special occasions and holidays are celebrated at home with food cooked in my kitchen. What about you? Do you work inside or outside the home? How does it impact planning family meals?  Enjoy the rest of my story and the Coconut Jollof Rice recipe below…


“There is nothing to which men, while they have food and drink, cannot reconcile themselves.” George Santayana


For a favorite dish, I have others, I chose Coconut Jollof Rice because, while the basic recipe is quite popular and common in West Africa, my mom’s addition of coconut gives the dish a complex and unique flavor.  My mom studied catering/food management during her student years in England, and prepared this version on special occasions; birthdays, religious holidays, and even on days when she felt particularly in a celebratory mood.

My fondest memory of enjoying this dish was of my mom sitting at the dining table, on several occasions, and sharing stories of her exuberant days as a student caterer-in-training. She always spoke of how she took simple classic dishes and added quirky touches or unusual ingredients that gave her cooking instructors pause… Those were definitely fun meal time stories. Mom's Coconut Jollof Rice recipe below is one of those dishes! Enjoy!

2 ½ cups Vegetable or Chicken broth
2 cups Water
¼ cup Vegetable oil
½ cup Tomato sauce
4 cups Converted Uncle Ben’s Long Grain Rice
Serves about 4-6

1 cup chopped Green/Yellow/Red Peppers
1 cup chopped Carrots
1 cup chopped String Beans
1 cup diced Onions
1 cup diced Scallions
½ cup crushed Garlic
¼ cup chopped Basil
2 cups diced ripe red Tomatoes

½ cup desiccated coconut
½ teaspoon powdered nutmeg
1 teaspoon all purpose Seasoning
Salt, Black or Cayenne Pepper to taste

Place a large, non-stick cooking pot with lid on stove-top. Add vegetable oil to pot and set burner on medium heat. War the oil for 1-2 minutes, and test the oil with a small piece of onion. Once the piece  bubbles slightly,  fold in cups of fresh ingredients*and slowly stir contents with a wooden spoon. Sauté for about 5-7 minutes.

Add vegetable broth, (or chicken/beef broth if you wish), water, tomato sauce and rice to the pot, cover with lid and cook at medium heat for about 10 minutes then set burner at low heat. Add dry ingredients** to pot and simmer for about 20-25 minutes, stirring contents every few minutes to ensure rice is cooked properly, remains soft/fluffy and dry of excess liquids, not hard or sticking to the pot.

Taste the rice for softness and flavor and add a little water or more salt and seasoning if preferred. Once the rice is cooked to your satisfaction, turn off burner and serve hot with grilled fish, chicken, or a side of green salad. Fried plantains are also very popular with this dish.

You may rinse off the rice in warm water, to remove excess starch before adding to your cooking pot.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: What are your food memories?
Do you have a favorite dish that brings back memories of your grandparents? Your parents? Are you building food memories with your children or family now? Do share. Thank you!

All Photos: Jollof Rice via Wikipedia and via ChefInYou, Dessicated Coconut via TianaFoods , Elegant Jollof Rice via AlhajiCuisine,  Seasonal Organic Vegetables via TreeHugger

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet


  1. What a great dish and pictures of your food. I love reading about traditions and
    celebrations that include foods from other cultures.
    Food unites and helps people build relationships.
    You shared a good one here.
    Don't your readers like food!? Great post!

  2. Thanks for your comment... Perhaps because I posted two blog posts on the same day, it might have made it harder to comment on both at the same time, so most go for the most recent post. LOL! It's all good. I'm sure some people will read it again.

  3. New follower here from:
    Would love to have you.
    This is a nicely designed blog. Love it
    Laurie from
    Grandma Sez So

  4. TY for your comment Laurie! I enjoyed visiting your blog too. :-)

  5. nice dish there. Thanks for sharing. This is another way to add twist on rice.

  6. This is the first time I read about coconut jollof rice. I have a problem with my memories so I can't really remember food that reminds me of our grandparents except for bibingka that our mother's father always bring as pasalubong.

    Mommy Maye

  7. wow, that's a very interesting dish! looks delish! hmm, let see. i can't really remember exactly but mostly more on vegetables and this what we call in our province, "buro" or fermented rice with fish. yummy! My lola or grandma would most often prepare that for us and i love it! i miss it actually.

  8. This recipe looks very tasty. Thanks for sharing!

  9. This sounds amazing and love that it is vegetarian. Thank you for sharing.

  10. I love all sorts of rice. We make it all the time in our house - I think my fav is basmati :)

  11. Oh wow that looks super tasty! We love rice at our house and have it almost everyday with meals. I should try this!

  12. I always like reading about different traditions and favorite foods. This rice looks amazing and I would love to make it. Rice is one of my favorite foods.

  13. That's such a cool twist on the recipe. The added coconut taste sounds really good.

  14. That sounds delicious. I have never had rice like this before. I definitely want to try it.

  15. Jollof Rice looked so colorful and tasty. Is it like a national dish in Nigeria? Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  16. This looks so delicious! I would love to make this soon!

  17. Everything looks wonderful! I'm pretty sure I've never met a rice I didn't like!

  18. This dish sounds very interesting, I think my husband would love it. I can't want to make it!Thanks for sharing this recipe! We are big basmati fans!

  19. I haven't heard of this rice dish before. I look forward to trying it though as all of the ingredients sound delicious!

  20. I've never tried this but this one looks yummy and I'm so curious what it is taste.

  21. I've never heard of Jollof Rice. The recipe looks delicious. I added it to my Dinner board on Pinterest.

  22. I love rice and coconut. I have tried a few different coconut rice, but this looks delicious. I would love to try it.

  23. Oh my! I had no idea there were so many different preparations for dried coconut. The only one I've ever used is "flaked."

  24. This sounds really delicious. I love coconut and rice so I'll have to make this some time for dinner.

  25. I love just about any kind of rice dish and this looks so delicious! I would love to try to make this soon. Thanks for sharing.

  26. That is such an interesting looking recipe. I bet it tastes good.

  27. Yum! That looks delicious. I love coconut rice and this kind sounds even better. Thanks for the recipe.

  28. This looks so good! I am pinning it for the future use :)

  29. In my household we eat rice with every single meal every night of the week. I definitely want to give this one a try I'm sure the family would love it.

  30. Yummy, that certainly does look very tasty. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe.

  31. Although that does look very tasty I can not stand to eat anything made with coconut anything. Most people say you cant taste it but I can, I can smell it, taste it, sense it. I know it sounds ridiculous but I almost have a phobia of coconut!

  32. Yum! This looks so tasty and I love that you have an explanation of all the different rice. I am keeping this recipe!

  33. The Coconut Jollof Rice looks good. My favorite family recipe is spaghetti and pork chops. My Mom makes it and I love it to pieces because of the sauce (cooked with the pork). I don't even like pork chops, but I like this meal.

  34. It is so nice to have a favorite dish like this rice to connect you to an earlier time. When I see fried chicken it makes me think of my Gram and my mom.

  35. I have never tried this before. It looks so delicious. I will have to try this recipe this weekend. I am sure my family will love it.

  36. I've never heard of this food before but it sounds amazing! I love anything with rice and coconut so this recipe sounds like something I will love. Thanks for showing me the recipe!

  37. I work from home, it totally makes the difference in what I cook and how and I only have three favorite recipes I cook...though I have tons of memories of family time around the table

  38. Omg You are making me so hungry!!

  39. Looks so yummy and delicious! I had this food only once, but it was absolutely tasty. I really like this recipe & will definitely love to try this one. Thanks a lot for sharing it.

  40. This looks sooo good! I love rice and am always trying new recipes. Thanks so much for sharing.

  41. Sounds delicious! I love anything with rice and I also love coconut!

  42. I have never heard of this kind of rice. Looks very good and filling. Gotta try it!


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