How to prepare Nigerian Fried Rice

If you’re tired of the same old fried rice or just want to try more food, make Nigerian fried rice.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (185 g) rice
  • Water or beef stock for parboiling the rice
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 g) salt, optional
  • A few smoked fish for parboiling, optional
  • A few smoked prawns for parboiling, optional
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon (20 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup (75 g) chopped onion
  • 3 tablespoons (24 g) ground crayfish
  • 1 1/2 cups (230 g) diced mixed vegetables
  • 1/2 teaspoon (0.5 g) ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon (2 g) Nigerian or Jamaican curry powder
  • 1 to 3 stock cubes (such as Maggi or Knorr)
  • ½ cup (165 g) smoked prawns or crayfish
  • Chopped scallions to garnish.

Parboiling the rice

  • Rinse the rice with cold water. Place 1 cup (185 g) of dry rice into a fine mesh strainer. Run cold water over the rice and use your hands to gently rinse the rice. You can use ofada, basmati, white, or jasmine rice for this recipe.
  • Pour water or beef stock into a pot and add seasonings, if desired. Pour enough water or beef stock into a saucepan to fill it 3/4 full. The amount of water or beef stock you need will depend on the size of your pot. If you’d like to add seasonings, consider stirring in:

1/2 teaspoon (2.5 g) salt
A few smoked fish
A few smoked prawns

  • Bring the water or beef stock to a boil. Turn the heat to high and let the liquid come to a full rolling boil. Keep the lid off of the pot while the liquid heats up. This will prevent it from boiling over.
  • Stir in and boil the rice for 5 minutes. Add the rinsed rice to the boiling liquid in your pot. Boil the rice for 5 minutes so it softens a little and absorbs some of the water. If the liquid looks like it might boil over, reduce the heat to medium-high.
  • Drain some of the water and cook the rice for 3 to 5 minutes. Wear oven mitts and carefully drain off some of the water or beef stock. Drain until the liquid level is about 1 inch (2.5 cm) above the rice. Simmer the rice for another 3 to 5 minutes so it’s mostly cooked. Turn off the burner.

Frying and seasoning the vegetables

  • Sauté the onions for 7 to 8 minutes. Pour 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of vegetable oil into a large skillet or wok and turn the heat to medium. Once the oil is hot and shimmers, stir in 1/2 cup (75 g) of chopped onion. Stir and cook the onion until it becomes soft and almost clear.

You can leave the onion in large chunks or dice it finely according to your preferences.

  • Stir in ground crayfish and cook the mixture for 1 minute. Add 3 tablespoons (24 g) of ground crayfish to the sautéed onions and stir until they’re combined. Cook the mixture over medium heat until the crayfish is fragrant.

If you can’t find ground crayfish, you can leave it out but the rice won’t be as colorful.

  • Stir in vegetables and seasonings. Add 1 1/2 cups (230 g) of diced mixed vegetables into the skillet and stir in 1/2 teaspoon (0.5 g) of ground pepper, 1 teaspoon (2 g) of Nigerian or Jamaican curry powder, and 1 to 3 stock cubes (such as Maggi or Knorr).

You can use frozen mixed vegetables and add them to the skillet while they’re still frozen. If you prefer, chop and dice your own mixed vegetables. Try carrots, corn, green beans, and peas.

  • Fry the vegetables in the seasoning for 2 to 5 minutes. Stir and cook the vegetable mixture over medium heat until the vegetables are heated throughout. If you used frozen vegetables, this will take closer to 5 minutes.

Avoid overcooking the vegetables or they’ll lose their shape and their color will dull.
If the vegetables stick to the skillet, pour in another 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of cooking oil.

Frying the Rice and Assembling the Dish

  • Stir the rice into the skillet. Transfer the parboiled rice to the seasoned vegetables and stir the mixture until it’s combined. The rice should turn a little yellow once it’s mixed with the seasonings.
  • Drizzle in oil and fry the rice for 2 minutes. Pour 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of vegetable oil over the rice and stir it to coat the rice. Continue to stir the rice as it cooks over medium heat. The rice will finish cooking and absorb the flavors of the vegetables.

For crispier rice, fry the rice in batches so the skillet isn’t crowded.

  • Stir in the smoked prawns and adjust the seasonings. Add ½ cup (165 g) of smoked prawns or crayfish and stir it into the rice. Taste the Nigerian fried rice and add salt according to your taste. If the rice is still too hard, add 1/2 cup (120 ml) of water or broth and cook the rice over medium heat until it’s as soft as you like.
  • If you want to adjust the flavor of the rice, stir in more ground crayfish, curry, or ground pepper.
  • Serve the Nigerian fried rice with protein. Turn off the burner and serve the hot rice with fried chicken, grilled chicken, sautéed shrimp, or grilled beef. Garnish the dish with chopped scallions.

Storage

  • Store the leftover Nigerian fried rice within 2 hours of making it. Refrigerate the rice in an airtight container for 5 to 7 days.

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