Blend 1 tomato, 1 red pepper, ½ red onion and 2 habanero peppers in a blender until you get a smooth puree. This is the base of the Jollof rice. Measure 1 cup of this sauce and save the rest (check post for how you can use this!)
Turn on the sauté mode in your Instant Pot. Add ⅓ cup of vegetable oil into the inner pot of the Instant Pot, followed by ½ red onion diced well. Sauté the onion and then add 2 tablespoons of tomato paste. Stir consistently to avoid the bottom burning.
Pour 1 cup of the blended pepper base along with 2 bouillon cubes (crumbled so it can dissolve faster), ½ teaspoon of thyme, and ½ tablespoon of curry powder (optional). Fry for another minute or two, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pot. Turn off the sauté mode.
Wash 2 cups of long grain rice (or basmati rice) until the water runs clear (typically at least three times!) Then, add the washed rice to the inner pot of the Instant Pot along with 3 cups of vegetable broth, 1 bay leaf, and 1 teaspoon of salt (adjust to taste).
Make sure to give this a really good mix to ensure the pepper sauce has not settled at the bottom (to prevent burn notices). Cover the Instant Pot and set valve to sealed.
Cook on manual high pressure for 7 minutes, and then allow natural pressure release for 10 minutes.
Open the lid when the Instant Pot is depressurized. If you notice sauce settling at the top (this is natural!) give it a good stir and serve hot. Your Instant Pot Jollof Rice is ready to be devoured.
Type of rice: You'll want to use a long grain rice (either easy cook rice like Uncle Ben's or golden sella basmati). We typically have regular basmati in my house, so that's what I use, but you're welcome to use either.
Ensuring sufficient liquid: This recipe requires 4 cups of liquid (typically divided as 1 cup of the blended puree and 3 cups of broth). However, sometimes you might end up with more pepper base than you need, and if you don't want to save it, you can also use all the pepper base and then adjust the amount of broth so you end up with 4 cups of liquid total.
Adjust spice tolerance: I use two habanero peppers in my pepper base, and this gives the jollof a good kick without overpowering the dish. However, you're welcome to adjust this to your spice tolerance one of three ways: you can remove the seeds (which are the most potent part), reduce the number of habanero peppers you use, or remove them altogether!
Troubleshooting soggy jollof: Check post for detailed instructions but in general, you can retrieve soggy jollof by drying them out on a baking sheet!
Avoiding burn errors: You'll want to make sure you're constantly stirring the inner pot of the Instant Pot (especially after adding rice and broth) to ensure the sauce hasn't settled to the bottom. This will help prevent most burn errors! Make sure you have sufficient liquid.