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Nadiya Hussain’s Jollof Pilau with Salted Cucumber Salad

Taking inspiration from West African jollof rice, Nadiya Hussain's pilau, as seen on her BBC series, Nadiya's Family Favourites, is an easy, vegetarian one-pot dish packed with flavourful spices.

From the book

Introduction

African street food is becoming very popular and I love the flavours of jollof rice, which in some ways tastes similar to the food I grew up eating, and in others is entirely different. Jollof rice is also my brother’s favourite, so I've created an easy recipe for him to use at home. This simple pilau is cooked in one pot and has all the distinctive jollof flavours. For a protein hit, I add vegetarian chicken-style pieces, which soak up all the spices.

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Ingredients

For the jollof spice mix:
30g ground ginger
30g garlic powder
45g chilli flakes
20g dried thyme
20g ground cinnamon
15g ground nutmeg
20g dried coriander
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp ground black pepper
For the salted cucumber:
1 large cucumber, halved lengthways, thinly sliced
1 red onion, thinly sliced
20g rock salt
For the pilau:
500g basmati rice
5 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 tsp salt
300g vegetarian chicken-style pieces
4 tbsp jollof spice mix (see above)

Method

Start by making the jollof spice mix. Put all the spices into a large jar. We only need a little for this recipe – the rest can be safely put away for another occasion.

Soak the rice in cold water.

Make the salted cucumber by putting the cucumber, onion and salt into a bowl. Give it a stir and set aside.

To make the pilau, you need a large saucepan with a lid – the dish will be made in one pot. Put the pan on a high heat and add the oil. As soon as the oil is hot, add the onion and salt, and cook until the onion is soft.

Now add the chicken-style pieces and fry them with the onion for a few minutes. Add 4 tablespoons of the jollof spice mix and stir well. If the spices start to stick to the base of the pan, add a small splash of water. Cook the spices for at least 10 minutes on a low heat.

Drain the rice in a sieve, making sure you remove all the water. Add the rice to the pan of onion and chicken-style pieces, and stir it in so it gets coated with all the delicious spices.

Boil a full kettle of water and have it at the ready. Pour boiling water on to the rice and keep going until the water is a couple of centimetres above the rice. I like to be accurate, and I even have a rice ruler to make sure.

Boil on a high heat, making sure to stir all the time. As soon as all the water has been absorbed, pop a lid on the pan and leave the rice to steam for 15 minutes on the lowest hob setting. When the rice is ready, fluff it up, using a fork.

Drain the cucumber in a colander and rinse with a little water to get rid of excess salt. The cucumber and onion should be soft. Serve alongside the rice.

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From the book: Nadiya’s Family Favourites

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