Jamie Oliver’s Ghana inspired Jollof caused a lot anger and outrage within the African community on social media last year, and though I didn’t do a Jollof post at the time, I really did not and still do not understand the fuse. Like seriously, who says one cannot interpret food classics the way one wants?
If you follow me, you should have realised by now that I love playing with food, creating new recipes and making food healthier. I make Koki without oil using red bell peppers, use Garri make cookies, make plantain bread or cassava crepes for example so I should be shot dead? Why are people not allowed to try something different? Why do we want to kill creativity in the kitchen? Who is to decide how to cook a dish if not the eater themselves.
Anyway this is not a rant post, so let me just go ahead an introduce you to this plate of zeeliciousness – our Shape UP African (SUPA) jellof created with all my weight warriors in mind.
We already know that consuming vegetable foods has long been associated with reduced risk of many lifestyle-related diseases like obesity. This dish is made with some vegetables that pack a serious nutritional punch for overall health. The ingredient that makes this dish not only SUPA delicious but also very healthy is BEETROOT.
beetroot contain an antioxidant called alpha-lipoic acid which has been proven in studies to lower glucose levels, increase sensitivity to insulin in diabetes patients. It also improves physical activity performance by improving muscle oxydation during exercise. Because of its high fiber content, beetroot will help prevent constipation and promote regularity for healthy digestive tract.
Have high blood pressure, heart disease? Include more beetroot in your food. The high concentration of Nitrate in beets can help reduce blood pressure and even treat cardiovascular diseases. Now how cool is that?
Without much ado, let me show you how easy it is to make this dish and do your health some good. Shall we?
Let’s cook! 🙂
- 2 cups basmati rice
- 6 large extra ripe tomatoes
- 1 large onion
- 2 red bell peppers
- 2 large carrots
- 2 medium beetroots, red
- 1 Tbsp. red bell pepper powder
- 6 garlic cloves
- 1 Tbsp. fresh or dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp. curry powder (optional)
- 1/2 thumb ginger
- 1/2 tsp. white pepper
- Pepper if you like it hot
- Bouillon cubes as desired
- Water or beef stock to cook the rice
- If you are not using par-boiled rice, I recommend you par-boil the rice. This step not only cuts the overall cooking time by half, it is the step that will give your rice the grainy, non-sticky consistency.
- Wash your rice with warm water first to remove starch. As you wash you will notice that the water will turn whitish or should I say milky. That's the starch (in other words the calories) coming out. Wash till the water become clear.
- Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add rice. You may add salt if you wish, but I have trained myself not to boil rice with salt. Salt is not necessary at this stage.
- Make sure that the water in the pot just covers the rice. We do not want to cook but par-boil the rice.
- Once the rice is half way done, wash it with very cold water. This will stop any further cooking of the rice.
- For this recipe, we will be using fresh tomatoes. Depending on the type you use, the tomatoes may be sweet or sour. So what we want to achieve is a more neutral taste.
- To achieve this taste, we have to cook the tomatoes for quite some time.
- Blend onion, garlic, ginger, white pepper, scotch bonnet and red bell pepper powder using a blender.
- Add mixture into a non-stick pot or pan, add about a cup of water and boil until the taste of tomatoes have been neutralized.
- Now you are ready to add in your vegetables.
- Add the par-boiled rice into the tomato stew, add beef stock or water, a little at a time, add your choice bouillon cubes (beef, chicken or vegetable) and a pinch of salt and let it cook just until the rice is almost al dente.
- Now add cubed beetroots, bell peppers and carrots. Let it simmer for about 5 mins.
- heck if rice is al dente. If so serve. If not, add more beef stock/water, drop by drop or cover the pot with aluminium foil and let steam cook the rice on very low heat.
- Serve and enjoy.
- Because on of our rules at Shape Up African is to eat fresh wholesome foods, we avoided tin tomatoes in this recipe. Red bell powder enhances the color to give it that red color that can only be given my tomato paste or tin tomates.