This article was necessary because I’m tired of people jumping on the creamy pasta train and just ignoring good ol’ spaghetti jollof — she was there for you when you were down to your last ₦2k, and this is how you repay her?

Before you argue that cooking spaghetti jollof is only for broke Nigerian students, try this low-budget recipe and tell me that you don’t feel bougie af.

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Ingredients for three to four servings:

  • 1 sachet of spaghetti
  • 1 sachet of tomato paste
  • Chopped peppers
  • 1 onion (sliced)
  • 4-5 large prawns
  • 2-3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon of curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon of dried thyme
  • Salt and seasoning cubes
  • A small handful of chopped basil leaves (totally optional)


  • Unless you just happen to have all these ingredients in your house, go to the market and put on your best Nigerian mother impression because did you see the prawns in that list? They don’t exactly come cheap and you need to stay woke. 
  • Clean your prawns and set them aside. Next, fill a pot with about two cups of water. Then sprinkle in a small amount of vegetable oil and a pinch of salt — this is so that when you add the spaghetti later, it doesn’t stick together and become smushy.
  • While you wait for the water to boil, start preparing the sauce for your spaghetti jollof. Add the sliced onions into a pan containing two tablespoons of vegetable oil and fry on medium heat for about three minutes until the onions become translucent.
  • Next, add the chopped peppers and the tomato paste and stir. Add the curry, thyme, seasoning cubes and salt according to your preference.
  • Add the cleaned prawns and continue stirring. If the sauce is too thick, add a little water and fry for an additional four minutes.
  • Remember your pot of hot water? It should be boiling now. Add the spaghetti and stay on high alert because if it stays on too long, you’ll have a smushy, gooey mess. 
  • It should be tender enough in about eight minutes, so take it off the heat and strain out any excess water.  
  • Re-introduce the strained spaghetti into the pot, mix in the sauce and let it simmer on low heat for two minutes. If you choose to add basil, now’s the time to include it.

Pro tip: If you’re really going for that bougie feeling, add the basil. It might not do anything for you but at least it looks like you just ordered this meal from a fancy restaurant. Wasn’t that the goal?

Image credit: My Active Kitchen

My work here is done.

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