At long last, the protracted battle over which country – Ghana or Nigeria - makes the best pot of Jollof ended.
Thanks to a budding 24-year-old chef, Sika Mortoo, Ghana showed its culinary skills at the maiden edition of the Onga Ghana Jollof Battle, to win the bragging rights.
Jollof is a celebration dish is hugely popular in countries such as Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Cameroon.
The reddish one-pot dish is prepared with rice and tomato sauce with alternative ingredients that slightly vary by country.
This variation in recipes has been the cause for debate particularly on social media, but also street conversations about which country makes the best Jollof.
Ms Mortoo who faced off with her Nigerian contender, Abass Adebukola, known as Chef Turay, left her countries behind when it comes to one of Ghana’s favourite dish.
With scores of Nigerian and Ghanaian social media enthusiasts cheering on their favourites as they put the best Onga ingredients together for a tasty plate of Jollof, both Sika from Ghana and Chef Turay from Nigeria pulled off their best cooking skills.
After an hour and half of slicing, frying and steaming, both contenders – in their Onga-branded aprons and toque’s – presented their plates of a scoop of Jollof to a three-member panel of judges (Chef Jove Ansah, Programme Director of the Chefs Association of Ghana, Chef Balo and Yeshen Naidoo, the Creative Strategist of the Promasidor Group) for tasting.
On Sika’s plate was a scoop of long-grain Jollof garnished with some spiced sauce and fried chicken thigh. Chef Turay also had on her plate a scoop of Jollof rice and fried chicken.
After taking turns on both plates, carefully munching to savour the taste of both meals, all judges unanimously settled on the Ghana Jollof carefully prepared by Sika. This translated to 95% score for Ghana’s Sika and 75% for Nigeria’s Chef Turay.
Explaining the verdict for Ghana’s Sika, Programme Director of the Chefs Association of Ghana, Chef Jove Ansah, said “her meal was very creative and attractive. The stock was carefully made and you can taste all varieties of Onga Spices on your buds. I think she came to win and she had just that!”.
For Chef Turay, it appears the judges were not impressed with her decision to use broken rice for her dish as she explained that is how it is usually prepared back home in Nigeria, reports Joy Business’ Charles Ayitey.
Sika was awarded a cash price worth $2,000 as well as some kitchen equipment from Promasidor Ghana Limited as Chef Turay also won $1,000 and kitchen equipment.
“I felt a heavy burden escape from my shoulders when I was pronounced winner – you can imagine having to bear the entire expectation of Ghana on your heart.
“For me, it was about making the best out of my cooking skills and ensuring my plate of Jollof was naturally what Jollof stands for,” she told the reporter.
Brand Manager of Onga Ghana, Linda Nartey, told Joy Business that the event was commemorating World Jollof Day which is celebrated by African youth on August 22.