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Jollof Quinoa

Lerato's Jollof

Photo for Lerato Foods by



Sweet and smokey flavours evoking memories of love and family; that is the beauty of jollof to me. I love sharing this recipe with guests at my cookery classes and creating new memories as we cook together.

The great thing about this dish is that the burnt crust you may get at the bottom of the pot is a favourite in Nigeria. I personally avoid it because I do not like burnt pots. So if yours burns a little, remember its all part of the wonderful recipe.

Originally cooked with rice, this recipe is wonderful with grains such as barley, Ethiopian teff, brown and wild rice varieties. You can also find British grown quinoa in stores now. Be conservative with your water quantity and don't be tempted to stir. The most common question I am asked is, "why is my jollof always too soft?" It is because of too much water added to early. As it cooked, add a little more water at a time, and leave your grains to steam cook. Use more water for brown rice which will also need patience and an extended cooking time.

For cooks who love to enjoy endless possibilities, try this recipe and make it your own. 


Serves 6

Cooking Time: 45 minutes  

300g Quinoa, thoroughly rinsed

For the puree (chop if prefered)
5 tomatoes or 1 x 400 ml can of tomatoes

1 brown onion

1 scotch bonnet (optional, or pierce and place into the puree)

5cm or a thumb size of ginger

3 garlic cloves

2 chilli peppers

Continue with
2 tbsp olive oil

2 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp ground garlic

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp turmeric

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 stock cube (optional)

2 tsp fine sea salt 

1 bay leaf


Let's get cooking!

1. In a heavy bottomed pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add the puree. (If using chopped ingredients, sautee your onions first). Cook on medium heat for up to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until it reduces.

2. Add the dry spices and cook for 5 minutes. Add the rinsed quinoa, stock, salt and just enough water to submerge the quinoa.

3. Turn up the heat, and as soon as you bring it to a boil, reduce it to low, cover and steam-cook for up to 20 minutes. The quinoa will start to swell. Check regularly and carefully push the quinoa from the sides to check for water. Add a little water at a time if dry.

4. After 20 minutes take it off the heat and leave covered to continue to steam.
To serve, fluff with a fork.

Garnish with your favourite herbs, slices of bananas for a hearty option, or lemon and pomegranate jewels for a zesty addition.


If you enjoyed this recipe, please like and share with the world. I love reading from you, so share your pictures when you do try it.

Remember to tag me @leratofoods on Instagram, Twitter & Facebook also using the hashtag #leratofoods so I can easily find your posts.
Happy cooking!!!


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