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Halal Jambalaya!

Despite being born and raised in New Orleans, I had only  few opportunities to enjoy Jambalaya since nearly all recipes require pork products. So I had to learn how to make it myself. 

Interestingly,  Jambalaya may have roots in Muslim history, assuming Jambalya is related to the Spanish dish paella. Paella originates from the 10th century when rice was first cultivated by Muslim settlers in Spain. When Spanish settlers arrived in Louisiana/New Orleans, they modified the Paella recipe to what we now know as Jambalaya.

Jambalaya likely originates as an attempt to make paella by these Spanish settlers in Louisiana, and because saffron – a key ingredient in paella – was not available, tomatoes were used as a substitute (you’ll note the below recipe is heavy in tomatoes).

The below recipe originally comes from our favorite financial blog – The Simple Dollar. I’ve made a few modifications over the years, combining flavors and techniques from both cajun/creole influences as well as some influence from the Muslim world.

Jambalaya Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter (or 2 tablespoons olive oil)
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 chopped bell pepper
  • 2-4 chopped celery rib
  • 2 cups vegetable stock or chicken stock 
  • 2-3 garlic cloves minced or 1-2 tablespoon of garlic powder
  • 14 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon (or more if you like it spicy) crushed red pepper flakes
  • 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon (or more based on how spicy you like it) hot sauce 
  • 1 teaspoon (or to taste) salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup uncooked long grain rice, washed
  • 15 ounce can red beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 package frozen okra, cooked per package instructions (optional) 
  • Chopped green onions (garnish)

Jambalaya Directions

  1. Melt butter in a pot over medium heat 
  2. Add onion, bell pepper, and celery and saute for four minutes or until onions start to sweat.
  3. Mix in the red pepper chili flakes, thyme, oregano, and fennel seeds for about 30 seconds to toast and bring out flavor. 
  4. Add garlic (or garlic powder), chilli flakes, oregano, thyme, and fennel seeds to toast for 30 seconds and bring out flavor. 
  5. Add vegetable/chicken stock, salt, pepper, can of crushed tomatoes, can of tomato sauce, Worcestershire, hot sauce, and bay leaf. 
  6. Bring the mix to a boil and add salt to taste (but be careful not to burn your tongue)
  7. Add the rice and bring the the mix to a boil. 
  8. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 20 minutes until the rice is tender, stirring frequently.
  9. Then, add beans and okra (optional) and simmer for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently. 
  10. Top with chopped green onions

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