Jollof Rice and Eggplant
Jollof rice is such a delicious and flavorful dish, the times I’ve had it, it was the best thing on the plate. Adding meaty vegetables like eggplant graduate this side dish to a main course. If there are any leftovers, reheat them in a nonstick pan to crisp up the bottom like a Tahdig (see recipe notes below).
Jollof Rice with Eggplant
- 2 Tbsp Sheba
- ½ tsp thyme
- 2 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
½ Cup vegetable oil, divided, for browning the eggplant
2 Chinese eggplant (about 1 pound) split lengthwise and cut into 2” pieces
1 Onion, thinly sliced
- 1 Tbsp vegetable oil, for caramelizing the onions
- 2 Tbsp butter (dairy or vegan)
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 Bay leaves
3 Plum tomatoes, cut into ¼’s
2 Cups basmati rice, rinsed well and soaked for 20 minutes then drained well
3 Cups water
Spice Blend: mix and set aside
- In a heavy bottom 10” skillet, heat ¼ cup of the oil for eggplant.
- Season the eggplant with half of the spice blend and brown them in the hot pan, adding more oil as needed.
- When the eggplant is ready, remove and set aside.
- Add the sliced onion to the pan and 1 more tablespoon of oil and cook over medium heat.
- While the onions are cooking, blend the tomatoes and remaining spice blend, and any leftover blend from seasoning the eggplant, with 3 cups of water to liquify.
- When the sliced onion edges are browned, add the butter and continue cooking until well caramelized. When ready, stir in the tomato paste to combine well.
- Add the blended tomato and spice liquid, bay leaves, and drained rice and stir to combine.
- Increase the heat to boil then reduce again to simmer for 10 minutes, or until the liquid is reduced to just under the surface of the rice.
- Arrange the browned eggplant back on top, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes or liquid is completely absorbed.
Turn the heat off and leave the pan to steam with the lid closed for 10 more minutes until the rice is tender and fluffy.
With the leftover rice, crisp it up as an easy Tahdig! For a simple version, heat a nonstick pan with butter and oil. Crumble and layer in the cold, leftover rice and cover the pan with a lid. Heat on low heat until the bottom is crispy and the rice is heated through.
A big dollop of labne, a sunnyside egg, or a few sauteed shrimp make the meal even more hearty.
Variations and Ideas
The recipe above also works well when adding vegetables and quick cooking proteins like shrimp. See the technique in the Crispy Persian Vegetable Rice.
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