UNESCO awards Senegal title of “inventor of Jollof rice” instead of Ghana or Nigeria 😱

The debate surrounding the origin of Jollof rice is a spicy one. The Ghanaians think it originated from them but so do the Nigerians and other West African nations. Surprisingly, the origins of the popular rice meal has been attributed to Senegal by UNESCO 😲 At the end of 2021 UNESCO included the Senegalese version of Jollof rice: “ceebu jën” on the “intangible heritage of humanity” list

Jollof rice is a West African dish with a complex history and many variations. Its origins can be traced back to the 1300s in the Wolof Empire, which spanned parts of Senegal, The Gambia and Mauritania. Today, every West African country has at least one variation of Jollof rice and its ubiquity across the region has caused a stir with fierce competition taking place across social media, parties and street-side chats. 

The main protagonists in the Jollof debate are Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Cameroon, each with their own unique twist and interpretation. In Ghana, Jollof is stewed with the sauce and meat in a one-pot dish, while Nigerians and Liberians may use palm oil instead of vegetable oil. Cameroon and Nigeria often add red peppers and smoked paprika to add vibrancy and a smoky flavour. 

Despite the heated debate between Ghana and Nigeria, one thing is certain: Jollof rice is a delicious and popular dish that will continue to bring people together for many years to come.

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