What is the origin of jollof rice?

Jollof rice is a very delicious dish. For many years already, Nigeria and Ghana have been debating about its origin. What is the origin of jollof rice? The answer to this quite an intriguing question you will find in this article.

Jollof rice

Cooks often call jollof rice “Benachin.” This fantastic rice dish is extremely popular in many African countries. It is the ancestor of the Louisiana dish jambalaya. Another great thing about jollof rice is that it perfectly goes with any chicken and meat. Every year on August 22, the world celebrates International Jollof Rice Day.

Origin of jollof rice

Jollof rice has always been one of the most shared dishes in Western Africa. It is widely spread in Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Cameroon, Gambia, Senegal, Liberia, Togo, and Mali. Several regional variations in its ingredients and name exist.

Origin of jollof rice

Jollof rice got its title from the name of the Wolof people. In many African French-speaking areas people call jollof rice “riz au gras.” Notwithstanding the differences, this unique dish is mutually understandable crosswise the region. Due to million African diaspora throughout the world, jollof rice has already become the best-known African dish outdoor of the continent.

Many scientists still have been arguing about the origin of jollof rice. The two debating countries are Nigeria and Ghana since both these countries keep on declaring to be the real origin of jollof rice.

The real origin of jollof rice

Moreover, jollof rice seems to be the very traditionally delicate question between Ghana and Nigeria. However, historians say that the roots of jollof rice origin should be found in Gambia and Senegal, for the great Jolof Empire occupied these regions. According to James C. McCann, the prominent agriculture historian, jollof rice might spread from Senegal to its present range since such a dispersion is not seen in political, historical, or linguistic, patterns. The scientists suggest that this fantastic dish spread from the Mali Empire, mainly the Djula tradespeople who dispersed extensively to the local urban and commercial centers.

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Dispute between Ghana and Nigeria

Many regions in Africa have numerous discussions about the origin of Jollof rice. Nevertheless, Ghana and Nigeria have one of the most long-lasting and widespread debates about the origin of jollof rice.

Dispute between Ghana and Nigeria about jollof rice

The main disagreement over this dispute is which country invented Jollof rice. Another question is whose jollof rice has the best taste. The real motive for this everlasting quarrel is owing to the enormous admiration of jollof rice in the traditional West African cuisine. Both Ghana and Nigeria have already demonstrated the dependable competitiveness over the argument as who can serve jollof rice the best.

Nigerian jollof rice

Many specialized contest shows have been organized to determine which jollof rice is the best. The most well-known critics from the whole planet examine and taste the differences in Ghanaian and Nigerian jollof rice recipes. Then they give their honest general verdicts on this dish.

Traditional jollof rice

By the way, Facebook and Twitter have already become general tools for those people who like sharing own photos and opinions about the origin of this prominent African dish.


To crown it all, now it is still quite difficult to figure out which African country can the considered the only place of the origin of jollof rice. Historians state that jollof rice roots should be found in Gambia, Senegal, or Mali.

West African jollof rice

Notwithstanding this, people in Ghana and Nigeria are sure that jollof rice is their traditional dish. No matter who is right or wrong. The main point here is that because of this long-lasting argument, we have a perfect opportunity to enjoy numerous new recipes of this delicious African dish! 

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