Disclaimer: As I’ve mentioned before, if you’re a diabetic and introducing a new food to your diet, make sure to do your own research and to test how it affects your blood sugar. Different people react differently to different foods. I have Type 2 diabetes and my body reacts very well to farro.
What is jollof rice
Traditional jollof rice is an iconic West African dish. In addition to the rice itself, common ingredients for this recipe include fresh or canned tomatoes, hot and sweet peppers, a variety of spices and tomato paste.
This dish is often made with scotch bonnet or poblano peppers. I only added one scotch bonnet pepper to my version because I don’t have a huge tolerance to spicy foods. I fount it to be a perfect balance of heat. If you like it extra hot, feel free to add more hot peppers to the recipe. While researching, I also found some recipes that use cayenne pepper and hot chili flakes. All good options. You do you.
Who makes the best jollof rice?
I added this title to catch your attention… click bate I guess? I’m not touching that question with a ten foot pole! 😂
You see… I think this question is similar to my experience growing up in the Azores. Many homes make similar recipes, with the same names and mostly the same ingredients; and (surprise, surprise) everyone claims their version is the best. Even from town to town on the same small island, there were many different versions of the same dish–every town claiming there’s to be the best or the original.
Jollof rice is popular all across West Africa: Ghana, Nigeria, The Gambia, Senegal, Cameroon, Sierra Leone, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Togo and Mali. All these places have some version of jollof rice. I would absolutely love to taste all their versions to pick my own favourite, but I won’t dare get into a discussion about where the original or best version comes from.
For our post, I must have looked at 30 different recipes to come up with my own. I’m so happy with the result. This dish is so full of flavour. My version uses farro so it’s different enough that I feel confident claiming it to be the best jollof farro–at least it’s the best (and yes, only) version of jollof farro I’ve ever had.
Why we used farro instead of rice
Since being diagnosed with diabetes last year, I made some major changes to my diet. Some of things I loved aren’t good for me if I want to control my blood sugar levels. I used to eat a lot of bread, pasta and rice. I avoid these foods now.
Lucky for me, I love experimenting in the kitchen and trying new foods.
I’d never even heard of farro until about a year ago. It’s known as an ancient grain. It’s an extremely nutritious super food. It contains protein, fibre, magnesium, zinc and B vitamins. Farro is one of the grains containing the most fibre, which means it’s less likely to spike blood sugar levels. (yay for me)
Farro has a chewy texture. My older son tasted the jollof I made, and he told me he loved the flavours, but not the chewy texture. Personally I love the nutty flavour and chewy texture. I was so excited when I found this ingredient. It allows me to have rice-like food without the blood sugar spikes I’d get from white rice.
What can I serve jollof with?
I guess the question would be, what can’t you serve with jollof? I served this with some grilled meat the day I made it. You could have this with grilled or fried fish, stews, chicken and even on it’s own. It’s packed with flavour and definitely not a boring side dish that needs other foods to help it shine.
Make today yummy!
I didn’t know jollof rice or farro until recently, and here I am making a new delicious recipe that’s completely different from anything I grew up with. I think it’s a reminder that when we open our minds and learn from others, we can grow, not only as cooks, but as human beings.
I love the foods my mom made when I was growing up, and I’ll keep making and sharing Portuguese recipes on our blog.
Having said that, there are literally hundreds of thousands of ingredients out there, most still unfamiliar to me. This gives me an unlimited potential to expand my culinary repertoire.
There’s no reason to ever be bored with food, regardless of your pallet or dietary restrictions. The world is your oyster (mmm…😃 oysters)… now go make today yummy!
Jollof farro, a diabetic friendly alternative to rice
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 large red onion peeled and cut in half (dice one of the halves)
- 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 medium carrot diced
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 2 hot house tomatoes
- 1 large red pepper
- 1 scotch bonnet hot pepper
- 3 cups farro
- 6 cups chicken stock
- Use a food processor or blender to puree the tomatoes, red pepper, the uncut half onion and scotch bonnet, set aside.
- Heat the oil and butter in a large heavy pot over medium heat.
- Sauté the 1/2 diced onion for about 5 minutes or until it’s softened.
- Add the garlic and carrot, and cook for about 5 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to medium low.
- Add the tomato paste, curry powder, thyme, ground ginger, smoked paprika, salt, black pepper, bay leaf, and stir.
- Cook for about 10 minutes, while stirring every few minutes.
- Add the farro and chicken stock.
- Lower the heat to low, stir, cover and cook for 35 minutes.
- Uncover, stir and let sit for about 10 minutes to let the farro soak up the remaining liquid.
- Stir again and serve with your favourite protein, with vegetables or on it’s own.
- If you still have a lot of liquid in the pot, cover and cook on low for another 10 minutes.
- Uncover and stir again.
- The dish is really nice hot, but can also be eaten cold.