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The Melting Pot: West Africa - Patrick's Jollof Rice.

anna magnowska


There is a rich and wonderful diversity within the NHS. Many healthcare workers have settled in the United Kingdom to work as nurses, doctors, healthcare assistants, porters, radiographers, caterers, therapists and many other vital roles within our National Health Service. According to the most recent consensus around 192,000 healthcare workers were born outside of the UK, and the NHS is one of the largest overseas employers.

Statistics aside, many great friendships have been formed within hospitals, GP surgeries, clinics, and in the community between people from all over the world who work within the NHS. 

We decided to celebrate this wonderful aspect of the NHS by asking people to give us recipes that are not only delicious, but that also tell us a story about them.  If you would like to send in a recipe and let us know your story then get in touch at

Patrick is a paediatric and adult A&E nurse from Ghana. He decided to train as a nurse in London after coming to England to work for his uncle.

He gave us his recipe for Jollof Rice, a popular dish of West Africa. For Patrick, it represents the taste of his home. The recipe can change depending on the part of West Africa it's from but the basic ingredients are always rice, tomatoes , tomato paste, onions and peppers. Traditionally the Ghanaian recipe uses long grain rice. 


  • Meat or fish of your choice - we are using around 500g chicken cut into pieces
  • 500g long grain rice 
  • 1 fresh chilli pepper (optional)
  • 3 large onions
  • 4 large tomatoes, blanched, peeled and crushed. 
  • 2 large cloves of garlic
  • 4 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1 sweet pepper
  • 1 litre stock or water with 3 stock cubes
  • Vegetable oil
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper 
  • Spring onions/fresh parsley/coriander to garnish


First cut up the chicken into small pieces and season with salt and pepper. Cover and leave for 1-2 hours. At this point you can also rinse the rice and leave to soak in cool water for an hour. This will prevent clumping when it's cooked. 

Heat the oil up in a frying pan and add the chicken. Cook until it's brown then remove the chicken from the frying pan and set aside. Add the onions, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper and fry until the onions become soft. Take the onions out of the skillet and set aside. 

In a large covered cooking pot, bring the stock and two cups of water to a simmer. Place the meat and onion mixture into the sauce pan and cover.


In the same skillet used for the chicken,  add the peppers and cook until slightly softened, then add the garlic. Cook for about a minute then the tomatoes and season to taste.  Cook until the tomato sauce becomes darker and softened. Add this vegetable mixture to the chicken and stock in the large sauce pan. 

In the same skillet, add the rice and tomato paste and combine until  you see a pinky orange colour. Add the rice to the large sauce pan and stir gently. 

Cover the sauce pan and cook until the rice is done and the vegetables are tender. Make sure the bottom of the pot doesn't become too dry by stirring occasionally. If required, add more water or stock to the mixture. Adjust the seasoning as required. 

Serve with a garnish of chopped spring onions, parsley or coriander.