Adjonyoh agrees: “The secret is in how much love and attention you give the sauce.” That’s what flavours the dish, after all. She blends tomatoes, onion, scotch bonnet, tomato puree, dried chilli and salt, and makes a spice mix of ground ginger and coriander, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked crayfish powder, smoked prawn powder, dawadawa (fermented locust bean), nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, salt and, sometimes, brown sugar.
It’s a long list, yes, but, as Adjonyoh explains, “in Ghana, jollof is more aromatic”. Add a tablespoon of the spice mix to caramelised onions, along with chilli powder, madras hot curry powder, fresh ginger and garlic, then the tomatoes and good chicken stock, and cook until it “doesn’t taste of tomato any more, but just the spices”.
Chili being from the Americas, Madras has an obvious source, tomatoes are from the Americas again, chicken from SE Asia.
Cultural appropriation. But apparently it’s a bad thing……