Nigerian Jollof is rated just right, but you know what it isn’t? Fried rice. Yes, I said what I said. Fried rice is the slay queen of rice, the rice that other rice-s aspire to be. Fried rice is special but unlike party jollof which almost always turns out spectacular with that perfect blend of tomatoes, peppers and onions, smoky firewood flavor and the occasional bay leaf to fan yourself when the rice is too fire, Nigerian caterers still haven’t gotten the angle to fried rice.
Anyway, I have died on the fried rice cross so you don’t have to! Here is a list of what to expect when you are expecting fried rice at a Nigerian owanbe:
The Rice: Usually, the rice itself is a disaster. Overcooked and mushy and the grains look like they are giving one another a very very big group hug. I don’t know what kind of rice they use but they need to cut it. Imagine tying gele and wearing heels only to come and eat yellow tuwo, it’s so depressing.
The Obstacles: Now, this is a major culprit in party fried rice and I am going to start with the diced kidney. I understand that you probably killed a cow and don’t know what to do with all the parts, but to come and dump the entire kidney in the rice? It’s a tragedy. Kidney is nice and all but they overdo it. Do something else with the kidney abeg. Also, there is this issue with the green peas. They’re usually everywhere, like, you can’t catch a break. The worst is when they are low quality peas and so, they swell and casings are cupping grains (abi clumps) of rice. What’s the usefulness of the peas anyway? Thankfully, there are usually no pineapples or eggs in party fried rice so you don’t have to worry about that.
The Colour: Too green or too yellow. There is no in-between. Caterers love curry and it’s usually evident in the food. If it’s not too yellow, it’s too green from all the useless peas and beans they put inside.
The Oil: If you’re lucky, you’ll get a plate with the perfect quantity of oil but that is usually not the case. Your rice will either be too dry or too oily; it is just what it is.
That been said, don’t let a few bad experiences or low expectations keep you from fried rice forever! Bad fried rice is a food crime but everyone knows jollof rice is the star of the owanbe and we like it that way. I am sure there are lots of Nigerian restaurants that serve great fried rice and you can even learn to make the perfect fried rice at home. Just keep your expectations low and enjoy!
I wrote this a long long time ago and I am just realising that I am obsessed with fried rice. Smh.