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The East Africa Red Rice

Red rice in Central Africa is roughly the same as jollof rice or wolof rice in West Africa or pilau rice in East Africa.

This recipe, originally from Senegal, has as many variations as there are countries that claim it as their national dish. Each part of the continent has adapted the recipe according to its history, its environment, and the products that today make up its culinary identity.

To make this dish successfully, don’t use round, basmati rice or long-grain rice that hasn’t been parboiled. You need rice that remains firm when cooked and doesn’t break up by absorbing the sauce during cooking.

It’s best to use jasmine rice or parboiled long-grain rice. Red rice is always on the table at a celebration. It’s an ideal side to spinach dishes, dishes with a sauce, and even grilled food.

Ingredients (For six)

• 300 g (10½ oz) parboiled long-grain rice
• ¼ cup (60 ml) oil (canola, sunflower or peanut)
• 2 tbsp red nokoss
• 3 tbsp tomato paste (concentrated purée)
• 150 g (5½ oz) tomato passata (puréed tomatoes)
• 2 Selim pepper pods
• 1 bay leaf
• Salt
• Chives, to serve


  1. Rinse the rice in cold water and drain. Pre-cook the rice for 10 minutes, either by steaming or in salted boiling water. Drain again.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pot and sweat the nokoss for three minutes.
  3. Add the tomato paste and cook over low heat for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix in the rice.
  4. Add the passata, Selim pepper pods and bay leaf and continue cooking until the mixture has reduced and thickened. Season with salt and add 2¼ cups (560 ml) water (or 1.5 times the volume of rice), then bring to a boil and cook for three minutes.
  5. Reduce the heat to very low, then cover and cook for 10 minutes.
  6. Stir the rice with a fork to separate the grains. Cover and leave to cook for a further 10 minutes. Repeat this step until the rice is cooked. Sprinkle with chopped chives.
  7. Serve with grilled meat or dishes with meat and sauce.

Source: The Guardian