7 January 2014

Chicken and Prawn Jambalaya

I tend to head to South East Asia in my cooking when I'm looking for spice - this dish is one of my exceptions. Jambalaya is a cajun dish, originating from the Caribbean Islands, and very popular in the Southern States. The best jambalaya I have eaten was in a tiny little Creole cafe in New Orleans. Jambalaya is a lovely blend of spices and rice, and you can pretty much throw anything in there, traditionally it's a bit of a surf and turf number with prawns, chicken and spicy sausage. 

One of the things I love about this dish is that the devil is in the preparation, you feel like you're chopping for Africa, but once the ingredients are ready (which can be prepared earlier in the day), the dish takes 10 minutes to start the cooking process and another twenty or so to cook (all on it's own - isn't it clever?), and then you can sit down and enjoy it. 

Cajun Jambalaya

  • 200 grams of chicken cut into strips
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 red onion, chopped finely
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 100 grams bacon, chopped
  • 2 chorizo sausages, chopped into 1cm slices or cubes
  • 1 green capsicum, diced
  • 1 red capsicum, diced
  • 1 red chile, finely chopped
  • 3 teaspoons cajun spice mix
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 cups long grain rice
  • 250ml lager  beer
  • 400 grams of canned diced tomatoes, or 3 large tomatoes, chopped finely
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, soaked in 3 tablespoons warm water (optional)
  • 200 grams large prawns, peeled and deveined


1.   Heat the oil in a deep wok or pan, and fry the chicken for a few minutes until lightly browned. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon.

2.   Add the onion to the pan and cook for a few minutes until softened, then add the bacon, sausage and garlic and cook for a few minutes until browned. Add capsicum, chile, paprika, and cajun spice and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.

3.   Add the rice, stir to coat and cook for a minute for the rice to absorb the spices. Add the beer and stir well. Stir in the stock, saffron and liquid and tomatoes. Simmer covered for 10 minutes.

4.   Add the chicken back in and the prawns and cook for a few minutes until prawns are pink and cooked through. Serve in bowls and enjoy!

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