Nigerian fried rice is one of the most distinct tastes of West Africa. From the type of rice to the vegetables, meat, and the flavorful stock, every ingredient distinguishes this lovely dish from the other types of fried rice. Forget the mainstream rice recipes, Nigerian cuisine is here to broaden your horizon in the kitchen.
Nigerian fried rice is one of the most popular types of comfort food in West Africa. Luckily, you don’t need a whole bunch of exotic vegetables and spices to cook it. That’s what makes it so simple.
Besides, you can always add your own nuances with vegetables and other types of meat. Nevertheless, we are going to talk about what distinguishes Nigerian fried rice from others.
In this recipe, the type of stock you use is everything. Nigerian-style chicken or beef stock is the most suitable option. First of all, it has a combination of traditional Nigerian curry spices incorporated. The fresh ingredients are also distinct to this stock, such as onion, green beans, carrot, and peppers.
What makes it different from the Asian fried rice is mainly the type of stock used. In Chinese fried rice, soy sauce is the main ingredient that deepens the flavor of the rice. We don’t need/use soy sauce for Nigerian fried rice recipes.
You might think“how the heck am I going to find it? To that, we say“make it at home.” The advantage of that is, you can enrich your Nigerian stock with whatever you want, however you want. There are also options for substitution (see the ingredient substitution section).
Once you get the stock shortage handled, the rest is super-easy. IF you’ve been to Nigeria or have been at a Nigerian ceremony, you know that our food is incomplete without protein aka meat.
We are known for adding several types of meat into one pot of stew (chicken, goat, beef, smoked fish…). We like having options.🤷♀️
The traditional way is to stir in cooked cow liver (chopped into small pieces) into the fried rice. But you always have alternatives (again, see the ingredient substitution section). After this mouth-watering introduction, it’s time to get down to business.
- 3¾ cups (750g) long-grain parboiled rice
- Vegetable Oil
- Chicken (whole chicken or chicken drumsticks)
- 100g cow liver
- 1 tablespoon Nigerian curry powder (NOT Indian Curry)
- ½ cup green beans
- 3 carrots
- Salt (to taste)
- 3 onions
- 3 stock/bullion cubes
- 1 tablespoon thyme
- 2 cups mixed vegetables containing corn, carrots, green beans, and peas
- 1/2 bulb red pepper
- 1/2 bulb green pepper
- If chicken is too large, cut into chunks and cook. Fill the saucepot with enough water to cover the chicken. Add one or two Knorr cubes, chopped onions, salt, 2 tablespoon curry powder, and thyme. Cook until well done (20-25 minutes). Save chicken broth.
- Cooked chicken can be broiled in the oven for a crispy top or deep-fried to your liking.
- Measure out your Jasmine rice. Rinse and place in a cooking pot.
- Add chopped and mixed vegetables, shrimps, freshly chopped onion, seasoning cubes, curry powder, thyme, vegetable oil, and salt. For a kick, add one or two bay leaves and a dash of parsley.
- Strain the chicken broth.
- Add 2-3 cups of chicken broth to the saucepan and bring to a boil. If you don’t have enough chicken broth, you can use water or canned broth. Too much liquid will result in soggy rice. No one likes soggy fried rice.
- Stir the content of pot and cook on medium heat with the pot lid on. This should take around 30-45 minutes. If your rice is ready but you still have some water left, remove the lid of the pot or transfer to the over at 350ºF for 5-10 minutes. If rice is still too hard, it’s ok to add a little bit of water at a time while cooking on medium heat.
- Once done, remove from heat and take off pot lid. You do not want the rice to keep cooking.
- Your fried rice is ready. Served with broiled chicken, coleslaw, and a glass of zobo drink. Don’t forget your Moi Moi! 😉
Having difficulty achieving the perfect rice consistency that does not look like mashed potatoes? Preheat your oven to 350ºF, add all your ingredients including the broth and vegetable oil. Stir, replace the lid (the rice will dry out too quickly without the lid on), and place in the oven. Cook for 30-45 minutes. It’s ok to stir the content midway through the cooking process and add some water if needed. Once cooked, remove from the oven. Stir to evenly mix the rice and vegetable. Serve hot!
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 349Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 111mgSodium: 329mgCarbohydrates: 53gFiber: 8gSugar: 11gProtein: 18g
* Please note that all nutrition information are just estimates. Values will vary among brands, so we encourage you to calculate these on your own for the most accurate results.
- Let’s suppose you couldn’t find Nigerian stock or make it at home. You can still cook this delicious fried rice using Jamaican, or West Indian stock. Though not as flavorful as homemade chicken broth, you can use pre-made chicken broth.
- If you don’t have a cow liver, you can always replace it with a protein of your choice. Shrimp is a popular alternative that pairs nicely with Nigerian fried rice. Also, you can go the vegetarian route by omitting shrimp or liver altogether.
- The vegetables in the traditional recipe include carrot, green beans, red/green pepper, onion, and peas. But, feel free to add or subtract any vegetable you like.
The Type of Rice
For this recipe, the best type of rice is long-grained parboiled rice. With this type of rice, the grains are precooked inside the husk before processing. Parboiled rice is less sticky compared to classic white rice, so it is much handier for our recipe.
Besides, it contains a lot more nutritional value than white rice because it doesn’t undergo the refining step that takes away most of the fiber and mineral content. I’ve also had great results with jasmine rice.
Tips For Cooking Nigerian Fried Rice
First and foremost, you should always wash the rice before cooking. This will help you get rid of the excess starch that often causes the grains to stick to each other.
The best result from fried rice depends on the mixing step of the cooked rice and the other vegetables. Instead of adding the rice right away, you should wait for the cooked rice to cool down and for the steam to evaporate. Otherwise, you run the risk of ending up with moist rice.
For the vegetables, overcooking will mushy, and that is not the Nigerian way! You should stop as soon as your carrots develop color and wilt down so that the veggies can remain crunchy.
Nigerian fried rice is one of those notorious meals that start to go bad quickly due in part to the mix of vegetables.
As a general rule of thumb, wait for the rice to completely cool down before putting a lid on it. If covered before completely cool, the moisture from the hot rice will condense on the lid and fall back into the rice making it sticky.
It is best to consume your Nigerian fried rice on the same day of cooking, but you can still preserve the leftovers in the freezer. After the rice has cooled down in half an hour or so, put the leftovers in an airtight container and keep in the freezer for up to one week. The rice will preserve longer but the flavor not so much. Eat within a couple days of storing in the fridge.
Frequently Asked Questions About Nigerian Fried Rice
What makes Nigerian fried rice yellow?
The yellow color of Nigerian fried rice comes mainly from the curry powder, chicken stock, and seasoning cubes absorbed by the rice. Some people add yellow/light green food coloring to their fried rice.
Is Nigerian fried rice healthy?
The parboiled rice used in this recipe is more nutritious than white rice. It is especially beneficial for maintaining our gut health. It’s healthier than pasta but not so much compared to salads.
Fried rice can look like an insignificant and non-nutritious meal, but Eastern and African interpretations might surprise you. With this simple and flavorful Nigerian fried rice recipe, you can leave a perfect first impression on your guests and their taste buds. If you have tried this recipe, let us know how it went in the comments down below.
If you liked our Nigerian fried rice recipe, check out these other recipes: