We’re big fans of Cooking by Heart, Alana Lowe and Paul Helzer’s Web-based video project that documents family food traditions and recipes being shared across generations.
So we jumped at the chance to feature their latest video and recipe—for Nigerian jollof rice—on City Spoonful. The video features Ediomi Utuk, of Bloomfield, New Jersey, and her mother Affiong Utuk, of Willingboro, New Jersey, cooking the traditional Nigerian dish, which combines rice with tomato, onion and ample amounts of spicy crushed red pepper.
Although the dish is common throughout West Africa, this particular recipe was created by Affiong Utuk.
“I just came up with it,” she told Lowe and Helzer. “It evolved over time. Nobody said this is what you do.”
But for Affiong Utuk, sharing her recipe with her daughter is far more than a simple cooking lesson.
“I think one thing we do incorrectly is try to force our children to adapt to our way of life,” she told Lowe and Helzer. “We should just expose our way of life to them and let them warm up to it. That is the best way to let them learn and be themselves and feel free.”
Ingredients (serves 6):
3 cups long-grain parboiled rice
9 cups water
8 to 9 bouillon cubes (vegetable, chicken or beef)
2 to 3 tablespoons crushed red pepper
¼ cup vegetable oil (for cooking)
6-ounce can of tomato paste with roasted garlic
1 medium onion, diced
2 bell peppers, diced
* Place rice and water in a large pot.
* Add bouillon and crushed red pepper.
* Boil on high heat for 20 to 25 minutes, or until rice is al dente. Let cool.
* In another large pot, heat oil. Then add tomato paste, and move it around continuously so it doesn’t burn. Sauté until tomato paste is caramelized.
* Add onions and peppers, and cook until onions are soft.
* Add rice to the tomato paste mixture, and gently fold the two together until it is uniformly mixed.
Check out Cooking by Heart’s other short films and recipes at cookingbyheart.wordpress.com.