After witnessing a smoldering fire under a jollof cooked in Lagos, I knew that the concept of burning must also be at the heart of our dishes. In our recipe, we burn and smoke the vegetables on the grill until blackened and bubbly, then blend them into a broth of roasted chicken, dried mushrooms, spices, relish, seaweed, and caramelized tomatoes. We lightly toast the rice grains, then steam them in a broth to a very al dente, almost undercooked consistency. The rice is then dried, oiled by hand, cooled, and then toasted with sizzling aromatic butter and wok black sauce. My father introduced me to fried Hainanese chicken rice on very rare occasions. After mincing ginger, scallions and garlic, he pours scalding oil over the vegetables, which bubble and sizzle from pan-like heat. Since then, I’ve been fascinated by the sound, aroma, and process of this dip, and know its aroma will add its own smokiness to our jollof.
When we toast rice, we aim for grains that are crunchy, separated, and have a springy center. I can tell if the Jollof is cooking properly by listening to the frequency of the hissing sound as the pan approaches the plating channel. If the pan makes no sound, or sits for too long 15 seconds, I know the grain will have a greasy, bland consistency and will need to be re- cooking. For some reason, most chefs at Ikoyi think the rice part is the easiest, but it actually takes an amazing attention to detail to make a great bowl of rice. Time and temperature are everything. While the rice was cooking, we simultaneously heated the crab custard, which acted as a glaze, added at the last moment before we smoked the whole dish. Crunchy, chewy, creamy, crunchy, smoky, spicy, sweet, and salty, it’s the kind of food you crave when you’re hungover or sitting in front of the TV with a beer.
2.5kg Grilled Chicken Wing Stock
grams of light brown sugar 200