Jollof Rice

The Importance of Scotch Bonnet Peppers in West African Cooking

Cooking is an important part of our culture in Ghana – we love to cook! We use many different healthy ingredients to create a variety of dishes using rice, cassava, maize and also love making  soups and stews. Most of the stews are red/orange in colour as tomatoes and peppers (along with onions) are key ingredients in West African cuisine. We love our spices and a bit of chilli too!

The Scotch Bonnet Pepper we use in the Obom’s Kitchen Jollof Rice is a key ingredient in West African cooking. For those of you who don’t know the Scotch Bonnet Pepper  – it is a variety of chilli pepper with a lot of heat, but also has a distinct and unique sweetness to it! It is named for its supposed resemblance to a Scottish tam o’ shanter bonnet.

It was introduced into West Africa in the 15th and 16th centuries by Portuguese colonisers and since that time, spicy ingredients have been integral to West African cuisine. The peppers are utilised in a variety of different ways: tossed into stews, soups, and curries, cooked into rice, chopped into salsas, or cooked into jams. They are also commonly blended into hot sauces, which are served as a condiment at mealtimes. They have become one of the most important ingredients in West African cooking.

In addition to being super versatile, they are full of health benefits! They are an excellent source of vitamins A and C, which are antioxidants that can help improve vision, boost collagen production, and protect the immune system. The peppers also contain magnesium, flavonoids, phytochemicals, and a high amount of capsaicin, which is the chemical compound that triggers the brain to feel the sensation of heat or spice. Capsaicin has been shown to provide anti-inflammatory benefits.

We use Scotch Bonnet Pepper in both of our varieties of Jollof rice – it gives a heat and sweetness that we hope you enjoy!

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