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Thursday, October 14, 2021

Trader Joe's Spicy Jollof Seasoned Rice Mix

A day without learning something is a day wasted, right?

Today, courtesy of Trader Joe's Spicy Jollof Seasoned Rice Mix, I learned of jollof the dish.

Here's a tl;dr: jollof is a common West African dish with many variations. At its core are three ingredients: rice, stewed tomatoes, and seasonings. Simple...yet a a mainly blank canvas for all sorts of variations and seasonings and spices to tailer to different tastes. A summary Google search refers to jollof as being a "unifying" dish across different cultures - well, why not? Good food will always bring people together, right?

Is the TJ's take authentic? Nah, probably not. I mean, it's a convenience product first and foremost: boil water, add some butter and salt if you're feeling randy, dump in package contents, stir and simmer. There are some little tomatolicious bitey-bites tossed in for good measure so yeah, not quite "stewed" but it gives a similar enough effect.

Really the only big (and real) "complaint" here is a lack of robust flavor. Really, the whole mdish seems understated. Rice with garlic and onions and pepper and whatever else should have a little bit of a vibe to it, but honestly, not so much here. For the most part, the flavor is rather tame. Granted, there's a small, slight spice that kicks in, but it's super mild in the grand scheme. The word "spicy" seems much of an overstatement in both flavor and heat. I'm kinda tempted to add a spalsh of hot sauce to be honest. 

That being said, the jollof isn't's not just overwhelmingly great either. I'd eat it happily enough, both the leftovers we have and any repeat purchase at the $2ish this set us back. But yeah, if I were ever in the position to get real, actual, authentic jollof, I'd be pumped for it, with less hesitation due to lack of familiarity thanks to TJ's here. 

Pick it up for a side dish or even a main course. Each package gives four pretty ample servings. Won't change your world but might help broaden your horizon ever so slightly. Double threes here. 

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Spicy Jollof Seasoned Rice Mix: 6 out of 10 Golden Spoons


1 comment:

  1. Just made this for first time last night and agree that it’s a bit bland. Was kind of expecting it to be more like Spanish rice but spicier and more garlic. Had to add a little more salt and hot sauce. Am going to make again using a NYTimes recipe to see if it’s different.


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