I was lying down thinking about the menu at Sir Max’s, and I remembered the word ‘Jambalaya’. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? JAMBALAYA. So I googled it, and thanks to my friend Google and all his nice friends, I found that its a really easy, quick dish to make. Like slightly fancier ‘Concoction or Emergency Rice’. Jambalaya is a traditional Cajun dish. The Cajuns are an ethnic group mainly living in Louisiana, USA. They are descendants of French speakers from Acadia (now known as the Canadian Maritimes).
I’m going to take you through the ingredients I used, the process, and finally show you how it looked like on a plate. I’m not particular about measuring; and when I do, its not really standard in dericas and cups. I’d tell you for instance, that 5 Kenzoooo handfuls of rice make enough rice for three people. Somehow it all just comes together nicely. A link to a standard recipe here -> http://southernfood.about.com/od/jambalayarecipes/r/blbb269.htm
BEFORE WE BEGIN
Chicken stock- basically, its what you get when you’re done boiling your chicken. Like, the mix of spices + water + chicken juices left behind. Instead of throwing it away, cook with it instead.
Nigerian rice- there isn’t really a brand/type of rice called Nigerian rice. The widely eaten rice in Nigeria is imported, but its bigger grained than Basmati rice, and it is not perfumed. I do not know where exactly it is from.
Chicken, cubed (about 1 kilo), Chicken Stock, Sausages, ‘Nigerian Rice’, Green bell pepper, Fresh tomatoes, Fresh pepper (the small ones), One clove of garlic, One medium sized onion, 2 Bay leaves, Ground pepper, Butter.
HOW I GOT READY
I boiled my ‘Nigerian rice’ till it was almost soft enough.
Marinated my chicken overnight, and boiled it in the morning. I put it back in the refrigerator for a few hours (my Jambalaya was lunch) and I was happy I did because I did not find already prepared chicken breasts. It was easier to de-bone and cut the cold chicken into cubes.
I cooked my sausages, and cut them into half-inch slices.
Sliced the onions, green pepper, red pepper, diced the tomatoes and minced the garlic.
GETTING TO IT
– Put the butter in your dry skillet/pot/whatever, lets call it the utensil. I used a pot. It’d be good if you started heating your utensil after the butter is in. Mine was really hot already, so it melted instantly, and the butter browned as it melted. But don’t worry about that…
-Saute the minced garlic and the onions and red pepper in the melted butter, until the onions are tender.
-Add the sausages, let them brown a little. Then add your chicken broth, diced tomatoes with the juices, green pepper and bay leaves. Put the bay leaves in as they are, do not cut them. Cover your utensil, and let everything boil for a bit.
-After about five minutes, add your ‘almost-ready’ white rice to the mix. Mix it up well, and add a little water if necessary. Here, you might want to add a little dry pepper (I like pepper) or salt or something, depending on how spicy your chicken broth is.
-When the rice is practically ready, add your cubed chicken, and stir just enough to distribute the chicken cubes fairly evenly around the rice.
-Cover the utensil, and reduce the heat. Cook for a few more minutes, let’s say 3-5. Turn off the heat, and remove the bay leaves before serving. Fin! 🙂
There. No big deal shey? Its not a fancy meal. Cajun dishes are known for their hearty flavor and basic methods and spices. It looks good on a plate still, and tastes good as well. If you’re tired of same old same old Jollof or Fried rice, you could try this some day. Its easy, a one-pot meal, so you don’t have so much washing up to do.
Many thanks to my lover Iby, who helped me take the photos.
Till next time,
P.S. If you have any comments or suggestions as to how this could be better, or how you make your own, please share! And if you try to make yours, please let me know how you did. Thank you 🙂