Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Around the World: Jollof Rice

Here is a little lunch box ode to Africa.

Jollof Rice is a dish served in many West African countries, including Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, and Gambia. I replaced the traditional chicken in the dish with chicken-style seitan, and cooked it in a base of tomatoes, tomato paste, ginger, onion, and green pepper, along with peas and carrots.

On the side is a dish of cooked collard greens served in a very African way: with a spoonful of peanut butter! Peanut butter, called groundnut in Africa, is added to a lot of savory dishes in ways we wouldn't expect here in America. It adds creaminess and flavor along with extra protein and fat.

For dessert I packed two more of those lovely baby bananas, which our guests from the African Children's Choir said were just like the ones in Uganda. I will always think of that now when I see baby bananas!

Verdict: My husband and I agreed, this was one of those dishes that you just didn't want to stop eating -- soooo good!! Shmoo was happy after we handed him almost all our big chunks of seitan and took his share of the green peppers. 5 stars.

34 comments:

Bianca said...

Oooh, that looks good. I love African food. And I'll have to try that peanut butter in greens thing.

VeggieGirl said...

Fantastic lunch, as always. The baby bananas are cute, but I find that they taste too starchy - I prefer the "regularly sized" bananas ;0)

cjtoscano said...

Thank you for your wonderful book! I just got it and made the tofu fishsticks for my boys. They loved them! The first time they liked tofu(other than in a smoothie)! As a homeschool mom of 4 boys, lunches can be hard. Thanks for a wonderful help!

BTW, this looks yummy!

Karen said...

Beautiful lunch as usual. Have you thought of trying ethiopian injera in a lunch?

Melissa said...

Oh...it looks so yummy!

Jennifershmoo said...

>>Have you thought of trying ethiopian injera in a lunch?

Yep! In fact recipes for injera, wat, and alecha are in my cookbook:

http://veganlunchbox.blogspot.com/2005/10/injera.html

http://veganlunchbox.blogspot.com/2006/03/ethiopian-injera.html

funwithyourfood said...

I love mini bananas. I prefer them to larger ones because I can never eat a whole banana.

Great looking lunch for sure!
Teddy

Nikki said...

That looks sooooo good. I have had Liberian style Jollof before and I found that it is very soupy. Yours seems thicker which I like.

kelli-bird said...

This looks great! I love that you are doing a bit for foods around the world. For us, it's just all too easy to get stuck in the pasta and Mexican food rut!!! At work, we have a "Lunch Team" of 5 people. We found that it's easier and cheaper for each teammate to have an assigned day of the week to bring a homemade lunch for all 5 workers. The result is a less boring lunch, a conversation starter, strong support from your coworkers to eat healthy, and a friendly competition to see who can come up with the most creative and healthy lunch. It's had flawless results for a year so far. I can't wait to try this recipe! I recently used peanut butter in a spicy African peanut soup and it was a hit, despite the initial skepticism of my coworkers. . .

Rebecca said...

Hi! I stumbled across your blog, and your cookbook looks amazing! Researching it, I see you have two editions. What are the differences between the two? Do they have the same recipes?

Thanks so much!

Rebecca

Kara said...

I only found your blog today, and I love it! After reading some very compelling books (The China Study and others), my boyfriend and I have decided to try being vegan. I cook a lot and pack lunches for both of us every day. Your blog will be a great resource for meal planning! I look forward to buying your book.

Mary said...

I recently started a new job in a small town where it seems mighty odd to people that I don't eat meat for every meal. Vegan lunch box is helping me win over my co-workers: I brought your cupcakes in yesterday with a "vegan cupcakes" sign (for which I had many questions on what the word "vegan" means) and by lunch they were all gone.

I love that every day the people across from me in the lunch room ask "What is that? It looks so good!" or "I've never heard of a samosa! What kind of meat is in it? Oh. Huh." or "HEE-ca-mah - how do you spell that?"

Thanks so much for your book and your blog!

Ariad said...

Thank you for sharing all of your beautiful recipe ideas. I usually pack luch for myself because it is so hard to buy anything vegan when out around here.

Second Best said...

I've eaten this in The Gambia. :) It's tasty stuff, and seemed to often be on menus without the chicken, so was a good vegan/vegetarian option. Someone above mentions a spicy peanut butter soup. Our Gambian friend taught us how to make a version of that called Domoda. I have friends who request if often.

Miss Marie said...

mmmm, i love ethnic recipes! Thanks!

Jennifershmoo said...

>>I see you have two editions. What are the differences between the two? Do they have the same recipes?

The first one was self-published and is out of print. The new edition has all the recipes that the old one had plus a few new ones, and is completely reorganized.

Rebecca said...

Cool! Thanks for answering my question. I'm putting your book on my cookbook wishlist!

bLu eYd YoGi said...

hEy jenniferschmoo! i am a vegan mom of 3~ been lurking for awhile & never left a comment~ i lOVE your site! thank YOU!
i just wanted to INVITE YOU to the Big Halloween BASH ~
today! over at my blog! Stop by & have some cider :)
eRiCa
www.blujaystudio.com

qtn said...

do you recommend purchasing the seitan products over the internet? i have trouble finding them in nearby shops, and where i do find them, they can be expensive.

Jennifershmoo said...

Ask at your local stores. No stores around here carry the chicken-style seitan we like, so I ask the local health food store to order me a case (6) at a time. That way they charge me wholesale and I don't pay any shipping. It keeps for several months in the fridge.

Nightlily said...

You can also make your own seitan. There is a fairly easy recipe in Veganomicon. You use vital wheat gluten to speed up the process. It's cheaper than store bought and you can get exactly as much as you need.

Sis said...

I just bo't the Vegan Lunchbox book and read thru the whole thing immediately. I love the ideas! We made a menu up today and went shopping to try about 5 of the menus, HOWEVER.... I really wanted to try those leaf pies and I couldn't find decent sized leaf cookie cutters anywhere. sigh They are so beautiful, and I am determined to make them. Any ideas where to find the cookie cutters?

Jennifershmoo said...

I bought mine at a kitchen gadgets store a few years ago. CopperGifts has some cute ones that look to be about the right size:

http://www.coppergifts.com/productcart/pc/viewPrd.asp?idcategory=0&idproduct=2

I love the giant acorn, too! A big acorn and an oak leaf would make an adorable hand pie combo.

Fatemeh said...

I love the idea. I started out as a vegan and now as a vegetarian it is a little easier to have a variety of food options but I still want several new vegan ideas since I commute to school a couple days a week. I see your book is on amazon.com...is it better to purchase it there or through you?

Jennifershmoo said...

Thanks, Fatemeh! I don't sell the book directly anymore, so amazon or any bookstore would be great!

"Miss" said...

My friend told me about your blog and book and I think this is going to be a godsend for me...I am trying to come up with interesting and healthy food for my 13-month-old who is allergic to milk and eggs, and already I am inspired by your creativity and beautiful photos. Thank you!

Fatemeh said...

Great! My friend and I will start our vegan v. vegetarian competition tomorrow and after about a week I usually run out of ideas on what to eat. Your book will definitely help.

We want to see who can get more fit in 6 weeks; someone with a vegan diet or someone with vegetarian one.

Christina J Clark said...

Hi Jennifer - I'm interested in speaking with you about an article for Green Daily (http://www.greendaily.com).

Could you please contact me?

cmjacobs76 at gmail dot come

Thanks!

Chris Clark

olajuwon said...

Hi Jennifer! Your website is fantastic and I think it's great that your showcasing African cuisine. I'm Nigerian and I've been a vegan for almost a year now. The transition has been a lot easier since I have so many vegan recipes from back home. I did have a question though. How did you cook the jollof rice? In Nigeria, it usually has an orange color because of the tomatoes. Did you boil the rice in the base? Thanks and once again, I love the website. I'm getting your book as an early Christmas gift :)

Jennifershmoo said...

No, I cooked the rice separately then spooned the base over the top. Once it was mixed together the rice was definitely orange!

Fatemeh said...

Jennifer! I'm going to write about your book again...this book has made being vegan so easy. The first time I was vegan was for over a year and I got very sick because all I ate was soy. I rarely if ever ate rice, bread, pasta, fruits, or veggies. I literally ate soy everything everyday for over a year.

I have never felt as healthy as I do now. The competition is going great and I am able to exercise for much longer than I ever have, I am toning up, and my skin looks great.

-Fatemeh

Loretta said...

Lived in Ghana, West Africa for two years. Thanks for the memories of the jollof rice and small bananas. I will have to try it this way.

Stop by my blog for pictures of Ghana (see my sidebar).

Shalom,
Loretta @ Vegan Footprints
http://veganfootprints.blogspot.com/

admincrazy said...

Looking by here and learn and see so many beautiful things. Keep Up!

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