Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Any American living in Asia ought to know how to make jambalaya. Jambalaya is all about throwing in whatever you have on hand, and as long as you get the seasonings right, it will still taste good. It can be made with as little as just onion, garlic, and seasonings (plus the rice and butter or oil of course), or it can be made with all three kinds of meat, and with whatever additional veggies (e.g. zucchini) you need to use up. Of course, the more extras you put in it, the more satisfying and nutritious it will be.

1 small onion or 2 - 3 green onions
2 – 5 garlic cloves (or subst. 1/4 t garlic powder later)
1 red or green bell pepper (or 3 – 6 cabe hijau, or any favorite pepper you have on hand)
2 – 4 T butter or margerine
1 cup uncooked rice
1 15-oz. can stewed tomatos, with the juice (or 1 - 3 small tomatos, diced; or 1 - 4 T tomato paste)
1 – 2 cups water
1 or 2 chicken boullion flavor cubes, or 1 t aginomoto (optional)
¼ teaspoon pepper
1/8 – ¼ t bottled hot sauce, such as Tabasco, or a dash of ground red pepper (or use hotter peppers in place of the bell pepper)
1 t dry basil
1 bay leaf (optional)
1 cup cooked cubed chicken, sausage, or shrimp (optional)

Chop up the onion, garlic, and pepper, and fry in butter, in a large saucepan or in a large frying pan with a tight-fitting lid, until tender but not brown.
Add the uncooked rice; mix and fry briefly.
Add the stewed tomatos, seasonings, and 1 cup water (2 cups if not using canned stewed tomatos). Stir the ingredients together, breaking up the boullion cube and cutting the stewed tomatos into bite-sized pieces with the spoon as you do so. Cover; bring to the boil, then turn down the heat, leaving the mixture covered, and simmer until the rice has cooked fully, about 20 to 25 minutes. Depending on how much water you use, the rice may resemble a porridge. You can experiment with this until you get it to a dryness you like.
When the rice is done, stir in the chicken, sausage or shrimp and heat through. You may add the chicken or shrimp along with the other ingredients before cooking, but if you do this with the sausage, the fat will pop out of the meat during the cooking process and you will not want to eat it.

Serve hot, alone or with any combination of the following garnishes: grated cheese; sour cream or plain yoghurt; hot sauce; lemon or lime juice; cilantro. Also good with corn bread, if you have it. Serves 2.


Rachael said...

I love this jumbalaya! You are a fantastic chef Jen!

Jen said...

aw thanks Rach!