This is a one-pot dish that can quickly become your go-to.

Jollof rice is a popular West African dish that’s full of flavor and easy to prepare. Host Afia in Los Angeles grew up eating and making this dish and is now sharing her beloved family recipe with us.

I grew up in Accra, Ghana in West Africa and cooking has always been part of my life. I still remember sitting around the kitchen fire at 4 years old helping my mom and older siblings cook. Thinking back, some of my fondest memories were being with my mom in the kitchen, singing songs while cooking. One of the dishes I loved watching my mom prepare was jollof rice. She always knew how to play with herbs and spices to really bring out different flavors. This was one of my favorite dishes so when I was 7 years old, she helped me cook my first pot. She encouraged me to play with flavors and put my own twist to it. The outcome was delicious! Since then, I’ve continued to make jollof rice – following my mom’s techniques.

Host Afia
Host Afia and her mom
Host Afia and her mom


  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 4 cups water
  • 5 roma tomatoes, chopped 
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste 
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and diced
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper or less
  • 1.5 teaspoons turmeric 
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder 
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder 
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • Few sprigs of thyme
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley 
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


  1. In a medium pot, over low heat, add coconut oil, onion and cook over 2 minutes
  2. Add the garlic and let it cook for 30 seconds
  3. Add tomatoes, cook for 3 minutes
  4. Add tomato paste and cook for 30 seconds
  5. Wash rice in cold water, drain
  6. Stir in rice and cook for 1 minute (stirring as you cook)
  7. Add 4 cups of water, stir in the spices, cilantro, thyme, salt and pepper
  8. Bring the pot to a boil
  9. Cover and cook on low heat for about 20 to 30 minutes until rice is cooked and the liquid is absorbed
  10. Garnish with the parsley and serve

If you’d like to try host Afia’s jollof rice and other dishes for yourself, save your spot at her next dinner here.