Jollof & Plantain Arancini (Risotto Balls)
Jollof rice is a popular dish across Nigeria and the rest of West Africa and is made by steaming rice in a seasoned tomato and red pepper purée. Loved passionately by Nigerians and non-Nigerians alike, everyone will tell you their mum or aunty makes the best pot. To stay out of the debate, at Chuku’s Nigerian tapas restaurant they put their own special twist on it by swapping rice for the superfood quinoa. Here they offer you another food fusion – jollof and plantain arancini.
For the jollof rice:
200g parboiled long grain rice
6 plum tomatoes
2 red bell peppers
2 red onions
1 Scotch bonnet chilli (or to taste)
thumb-size piece of fresh root ginger, peeled
100ml of vegetable oil
2 stock cubes
1 tsp of thyme
salt to taste
For the arancini:
4 tbsp Aduna Moringa Powder
300g jollof rice, cooked
jollof (tomato and red pepper) purée
1 plantain, diced and fried
4 tbsp plain flour
3 slices of multiseed bread
750ml vegetable oil
Scotch bonnet chilli, chopped
handful of rocket
To make the jollof rice:
Blend together the plum tomatoes, red bell peppers, onion, chilli and fresh ginger. Pour this purée into a large pot and cook it down until it becomes a thick paste. Then cover with 50ml vegetable oil and fry for 10-15 minutes until the purée begins to separate from the oil.
Add the thyme, stock cube and salt to taste. Take out half of the tomato and pepper purée and set aside for later. Add the parboiled rice and remaining oil to the remaining purée. Pour water over the rice, so the two are level, then cover the pot with a lid.
Put the pot on a low to medium heat and steam cook the rice until all the water has disappeared – by then it should be ready.
To make the arancini balls
Whilst the rice is cooking, set out 3 bowls. In the first add the flour and Aduna Moringa Powder, in the second beat an egg and in the third add homemade breadcrumbs made by blitzing the seeded bread in a blender.
Once the rice is cooked, scoop out warm jollof rice from the pot into a fourth bowl and add the purée that was set aside. Mix together, so that the rice becomes sticky like the texture of risotto. The softness of the warm rice and the purée moisture is needed, so that the rice can be moulded into arancini balls. Note: you’ll have made more jollof rice than you need for this arancini recipe, so you have plenty for a chef’s snack.
Scoop out a tablespoon of jollof rice onto your palm and flatten with your fingertips. Place a dice of plantain on top. Add another scoop of jollof rice and mould into a round ball. Sit the moulded arancini onto a plate.
Repeat the process until the bowl of rice is empty.
Dip the balls one-by-one into the moringa-flour mix, then the egg and then into the breadcrumbs, making sure they are well coated.
Pour the vegetable oil into a deep saucepan and place on a high heat, ready to deep fry the arancini. Make sure the oil is no more than halfway up the saucepan to make the oil doesn’t bubble over once hot. Test the oil by dropping in some breadcrumbs – if they sizzle and float, it is ready for frying.
With a perforated spoon, dip the arancini into the hot oil and fry for 3-5 minutes until golden brown. Transfer onto kitchen roll to absorb the excess oil.
Garnish with rocket, chopped scotch bonnet chillies and serve with a portion of fried plantain (dodo).
Recipe by Chuku's