2:44 PM Sian Mei Yeoh 0 Comments

today's random goodness| semi-free soy matte latte from argo tea :) i have such healthy breakfast in the mornings :p

i was particularly excited last weekend. i even posted a tweet about it. what is it? ryan made jambalaya yesterday!! boy, it made the whole apartment smell so tasty i was gonna eat the whole damn apartment just like hansel and gretel. lol.

firstly, a lil bit about jambalaya. of course, i have to clarify that his style of jambalaya is the cajun jambalaya (he is quite particular about this). no tomato base deal. jambalaya is  pronounced /ˌdʒʌmbəˈlaɪ.ə/ JUM-bə-LYE-ə) which is a rice dish with spanish and french influence. the usual ingredients are meat, vegetable, stock and rice all cooked in a single pot.

an interesting excerpt from wikipedia of how the name came along:

there are many myths about the origin of the name "jambalaya." the most commonly repeated folklore is that the word derives from the combination of the french "jambon" meaning ham, the French article "à la" a contraction of "à la manière de" meaning "in the style of", and "ya", thought to be of West African origin meaning rice.

louisiana dishes usually start with the trinity: onion, green bell pepper and celery.

okay, we only had two thirds of trinity in the fresh form. for celery portion, we added celery flakes instead. haha. then we chose our meat of preference - we didn't choose just one, or even two. we decided to add three types of meat:

chicken. we mostly use dark meat cos it's less likely to be overcooked and taste dry since this has to be cooked in a single pot for quite a bit. besides, dark meat is our usual choice anyway.

broiled crawfish! these are not fresh but they are broiled from lousiana and have been frozen in the freezer. this, by itself has a ton of flavor and spice. yumm...

sausage. and the best sausage for this job is andouille sausage - spicy, smoky and flavorful which all equates to yummmmzers! it's rather difficult to find andouille sausage, what more good ones, in chicago. we stocked some of the good stuff when we went to louisiana in december last year: savoie's real cajun hickory smoked andouille sausage.

one| vegetable and meat prep is done - check!
two| search for all the spices that we need from the kitchen pantry - check!
three| chicken stock - check! we used reduced chicken broth is so we can add as much salt as we need to our taste.
four| pot of choice: my lovely blue dutch oven.

now that we've got all we need, it was time to get everything together. first step is to brown the chicken which we didn't do cos we didn't know we were supposed to (which also led to the jambalaya being a lil paler in color). the other meat, and diced onions were added next and give it a lil saute over the stove. 

a whole bunch of spices were added. wasn't too sure what or how much he added but this was when the dish started to come together and the aroma was becoming more and more familiar. (we made jambalaya twice before this)

the rest of the ingredients and chicken stock were added before putting it in the oven to be cooked for a while.

it was almost unbearable to be in the apartment cos it smelled so good but the dish was far from being cooked. :/ i just wanted taste it even if it was only a small tiny bite. we took it out occasionally to check on it and to give it a stir.

all the while i was waiting for the dish to be done, i was asking if i could have some of it. in the meantime,  i've concluded that having my laptop on the dining table, next to the kitchen is not a good idea. lol. i went through the same ordeal when i first attempted the coq au vin dish.

the time i've been waiting for: the dish is done!

which means i can nom nom nom (it's eat in normal english)
yummmmmmm. my verdict: it's good but i think we've made one that was more authentic before. the reason being we added crawfish which is quite unusual in a jambalaya. also the flavor of the broiled crawfish melded in with the rest of the ingredients giving it a different type of spicy. but taste wise it was still scrumptious. i thought it needed a kick but we didn't want to add more tony's seasoning cos it might make it too salty. a good substitute would be cayenne pepper but as luck would have it.... that was the one spice i did not have in my pantry -.- a trip to the grocery store would fix it in a jiffy.

we have a huge pot so we'd be eating jambalaya throughout the week. not that i am complaining cos it's tasty. AND i get a break from cooking :) hehe.