Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Appi's Jambalaya

Jambalaya Vs Khichdi: Jambalaya to me is basically "Khichdi."  Khichdi in India is a one-pot comfort food made with rice and lentils, simply seasoned with salt, turmeric, cumin seeds and pepper. It is typically yellow in color because of the turmeric. Vegetables may be added to this for some color, my personal favorites being peas and carrots. While living in England, I learned about "Kedgeree" from one episode of Jamie Oliver's show. He made that kedgeree with haddock and hard boiled eggs. I realized that Kedgeree was basically Khichdi! I soon learned that pretty much every culture has its own version of khichdi--- that one-pot-wonder comfort food. Therefore the inference that Jambalaya is Khichdi too!

So the other day I decided to make jambalaya with tilapia and prawns. I did not have that special jambalaya spice mix (Zatarain's or otherwise) and so decided to just make my own spice mix and go with that. It is quite simple, actually. I mixed up some onion powder, garlic powder, red cayene pepper powder, italian seasoning (I know, I know, that sounds a bit off--- but believe me, it works!) and took a couple cubes of veggie bouillon.

Ingredients:

1. 2 cups of rice (I used basmati that day), washed and ready to go.
2. 2 cubes of veggie bouillon (this is really your choice- you could use fish or chicken or beef......)
3. Jambalaya or Gumbo spice mix OR make your own spice mix (see earlier para)
4. Tilapia (or any fish of your choice) cut into bite sized pieces, prawns (tail-on or off). You could even add sausage and chicken if you'd like.
5. A medium sized onion, chopped up
6. 1 Red Bell Pepper, chopped up
7. 1 tablespoon tomato paste
8. Salt, pepper
9. 4-5 teaspoons of oil
10. Don't forget water to cook the rice in! (Veggie bouillon+water= broth)

Method:

1. Pour in 4-5 teaspoons of oil into a pot and get the heat going. Throw in the chopped onion, saute a bit, followed by the red bell pepper. (Now one can use celery too- but we are not big fans of celery and so I don't typically use celery in my cooking).

2. Add the washed rice into this and stir it all up. Then add water (or broth) (2 cups of water for 1 cup of rice). For this dish, you gotta add extra water as the desired consistency in the end is a risotto-like consistency. So what I do is that towards the end of the entire preparation, depending on the need, I add extra liquid to get that nice not-too-wet-not-too-dry consistency.


3. Add the jambalaya spice-mix, veggie bouillon, pepper and a tablespoon of tomato paste and give it all a good stir, bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover the pot and leave it to cook for 20 minutes.

4. While that is going, prep the fish and the prawns by sprinkling some salt and pepper on them, so as to not have them too bland.

5. At the end of 20 minutes, check to make sure that the rice is done. At this point, gently fold in the tilapia and the prawns. If the consistency is on the drier side, pour in some extra water or broth. Cover the pot again and leave it for another 10 minutes. That will allow the fish and the prawns to cook.

6. That's it! Jambalaya is ready to be served!

Jambalaya ready to be served
Finishing Touch:

Before serving, I sprinkle some of that awesome spice-mix over the jambalaya for a great flavor blast.

Appi's Jambalaya- deeeelicious!
My family loves this jambalaya. Well, my daughter is not too crazy about prawns, and so she just skips them, or if she does happen to end up with a couple prawns that might have sneaked in, she just gives them to her brother, who is crazy about prawns!

Next time you want some comfort food, think along the lines of a one-pot-wonder dish. Think Jambalaya!




2 comments:

adibud34 said...

I got me some Jambalayaaa!!! You needed to put Scallops, Clams, Mussels, and some pork sausage in there as well!

Dreamer said...

Ya-aaa, I s'pose so-- but we timid meat-eaters, u see.....