Category Archives: American Classics

Red Creole Jambalaya Recipe

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Jambalaya is a classic New Orleans dish that is a signature to Creole and Cajun cuisine. This red jambalaya is a Creole version with French and Spanish influences. In fact, this recipe is thought to be a regional variation of a Spanish paella using tomatoes in place of saffron. The cooking styles of Creole and Cajun are both rich with history, classic French technique and signature flavours. This is a very simple and rewarding one-pot recipe that I’m sure you are going to love.

You will need:

  • 2 links andouille sausage, sliced into ½ inch pieces
  • 1 cup each (onion, celery, bell pepper), diced
  • 500ml pureed tomatoes
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • a splash of red wine
  • 8 oz chicken thighs, cut into bit-sized pieces
  • 6 large shrimp, peeled and de-veined
  • 2 cups rice, rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1.5 teaspoons cajun seasoning (or 1 teaspoon cayenne)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper

In a large dutch oven or heavy pot, start by sauteing the sausage on medium high heat til you render out some of the fat. Add the onion and continue to cook until they are translucent. Once the onions are done, add the rest of the vegetables. Continue to cook for a couple minutes, then deglaze with a touch of red wine. Add the tomatoes, thyme, cumin, cajun seasoning and bay leaf. Mix until combined then add the chicken stock and the chicken. When the mixture comes to a boil, stir in the rice, cover and simmer on medium low heat for 15-20 minutes, or until the rice is done. *Do not take the lid of the pot during the simmer.

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After the 15-20 minutes, take off the lid and stir well. You should have the consistency of a thick rice stew. Give it a taste and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the shrimp, cover again and let cook for about 3 minutes until they are just done. Give it a final mix and taste for seasoning, plate up and serve with hot sauce. Enjoy!

Yaka-mein (Old Sober)

Yakamein (Old Sober)

Yaka-mein, more affectionately known as “Old Sober” as it is a popular hangover remedy, is an American-Soul Food fusion dish from New Orleans. There are a couple different stories surrounding the origin of this local favorite. One story claims that the dish was the result of servicemen coming home from WWII and Korea with a craving for the tastes of Asian food. Another one tells the tale of Chinese immigrants in the 1800s that worked the plantations, and later on, the railroads who made their version of this soup using local ingredients. In any case, what we have is a simple and satisfying noodle soup that makes the perfect street food with a flavor profile that stands on it’s own.

I love dishes with interesting stories and mysterious origins and this one was definitely worth researching in more depth. On the surface, Yaka-mein looks very simple and unassuming. The soup has a beef broth base like many Asian soups but it’s uniqueness comes from the addition of local spices and condiments like Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, Old Bay and even ketchup. Reminds me of when I was a kid at a family picnic and I saw some guy putting ketchup in his pancit.

The meat is usually brisket (suggesting a Korean influence?) or pork chops, but can consist of any leftover meat or seafood that you got. My version has leftover Filipino bbq pork (the kind you see at every Filipino picnic on the skewers). Hard boiled eggs are a common inclusion as well as the green onion garnish. So as you can see, Yaka-mein is a great dish to explore your culinary creativity. I will give you a starting point and you can take it from there. Have fun!

Yaka-mein (for 2):

  • 1L good quality beef broth
  • soy sauce
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • spaghetti noodles, boiled al dente, drained and rinsed
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • leftover steak, pork chops, chicken, shrimp, brisket (whatever you got)
  • a couple hard boiled eggs
  • hot sauce, Old Bay or ketchup for seasoning

Start by cooking your noodles. New Orleans locals use spaghetti, but you can really use whatever you want. In my video, I used some brown rice pasta I had lying around. In another pot, start heating up the beef broth to a nice simmer. Cut up the meat into manageable strips and pop it into the broth to warm through. When the pasta is done, drain and strain. Now you’re ready to assemble.

Grab yourself a bowl or a large cup. Start by putting the noodles on the bottom and then ladle the broth and meat on top. Cut your hard boiled eggs in half and put on top. Season with your soy sauce and seasonings to taste. Finish with the green onion and enjoy!