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Old 01-24-2021, 12:19 PM   #1
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Jambalaya how to?

Jambalaya is one of my favorite dishes and the one I just can't get right.
The problem is the consistency of the rice, I like rice is firm buff fluffy. When I can rice myself I have no problems 1C of rice, 2C of water boil to a boil, turn down the heat to simmer, for 15 minutes, take it off the heat let it sit 10 minutes, take the cover for the pot give it stir, let it sit 5 minutes and I have perfect fluffy non-sticky rice every time.

When I make Jambalaya I cook the ham, garlic, and onions in a little oil for 15-20 minutes till the ham is slightly browned and onions are translucent or beginning to brown. I strain the liquid off and reserve it for later. Then add diced green and diced red bell peppers and 1 Teaspoon Tony's Creole Seasoning and a can of diced tomatoes. I strain the juice off the tomatoes before adding them and add the juice to the reserved aforementioned liquid.

I cook that mixture for 10-15 minutes. Then add enough water to the reserved liquid to make 2C. Add 1C of rice to the mix as well as the 2C off water mixture bring the pot to a boil, turn it down to a simmer put a lid on the pot. Simmer for 15 minutes, take it off the heat stir in shrimp and let it rest for 10 minutes, and open the pot to a gooey stick pot of mush..

How do I get frim fluffy rice when making Jambalaya without cooking the rice separately and mixing it in afterward?

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Old 01-24-2021, 12:42 PM   #2
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Jambalaya… How do I get frim fluffy rice when making Jambalaya without cooking the rice separately and mixing it in afterward?
That's precisely how I do it, similar method to fried rice. I'll usually make the rice the morning (or day) before.
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Old 01-24-2021, 01:37 PM   #3
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Jambalaya is a favorite recipe of mine, too! In fact, Jamabalaya the first recipe in my "Blue Book" (a looseleaf notebook in which I started writing all of my favorite recipes, back in the 70s! I have tried many versions, and the best method is still the one using tomato paste - diced or crushed tomatoes give that mushier texture, that you describe. And the type of rice makes a big difference! When I started loving jasmine rice, when making Thai food 3 or 4 times a week, I made it with jasmine once, but it was not fluffy, as you are looking for - despite the delicious flavor, it was a solid mass! For years, the best rice I found to make it with was parboiled, or Uncle Ben's - slightly different, but either will cook up totally separate grains, and not make the dish starchy, and sticking together. Regular long grains do ok, but not as good. Basmati is also fairly good, and has some of that jasmine flavor, without much stickiness, and more recently I found parboiled basmati, that was the best, but not available, unless you have an Indian grocery nearby, or get it online. And regular parboiled will do just fine.

Some say that jambalaya has to have andouille sausage, instead of the ham, and, while good, the name jambalaya comes from the word jambon, which means ham! So true jambalaya has ham in it. For decades, when we had a big family dinners for holidays, we would make a much larger ham than necessary, and I'd get the leftovers, and later use a bunch for a large batch of jambalaya, and invite the local family members over. This is something I would always keep a small jar of ground bay leaf for.

Jambalaya

4 tb olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp cloves
1 large bay leaf, ground (about 1/6 tsp)
1/2 tsp cayenne, or to taste (substitute sweet
paprika, if you want no heat)
1 tsp dry thyme, crushed a little
1 large onion, diced
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
1 tsp salt, or to taste
one 6 oz can tomato paste
1/4 c dry white wine or vermouth (optional in
original recipe, but adds a delicious flavor)
1 c raw parboiled rice
1/2-3/4 lb ham, in about 1/2" dice
12 oz peeled shrimp (I usually use 1 lb, before
the cleaning and peeling, and I usually use 30/40 - if jumbos, I cut them in half)

A. Heat oil over low heat in a 3 or 4 qt Dutch oven or casserole. Add garlic, spices and herbs, and cook a couple of minutes to bloom the spices. Add salt, onion, and pepper, raise heat slightly, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.

B. Meanwhile, combine the wine, tomato paste, and enough water to make 3 cups. Add to the pan, when vegetables are soft, and mix well, to break up the tomato paste. Bring to a boil, and add the rice and ham, bring to a simmer, reduce heat to keep at barely a simmer, cover, and cook about 25-30 minutes, or until almost all of the water is absorbed. Stir in the shrimp, turn off the heat, and let the shrimp cook from the retained heat - 3 to 5 minutes, depending on size.
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Old 01-24-2021, 02:27 PM   #4
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Cut down on the liquid by 1/3 cup or so or increase the amount of rice some. The tomatoes and the other veges have liquid in them that comes out as they cook.
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Old 01-24-2021, 02:29 PM   #5
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Bama-Rick,
I'm confused - it sounds like you cook the rice before and then add it to the jambalaya pot and cook it some more?

I haven't made jambalaya very often and not recently, but I've just grabbed whatever rice was in the cupboard to throw in - raw - not cooked. Never got a solid mass.
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Old 01-24-2021, 03:12 PM   #6
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I stir the uncooked rice in while frying the ham, garlic and onions, continue from there. The frying of the rice in the oil separates the grains, delays the absorption of liquid.
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Old 01-24-2021, 05:01 PM   #7
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Sounds familiar PF - maybe that's why it has always worked for me.
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Old 01-24-2021, 07:37 PM   #8
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I put in raw rice and it turns into goo. I was speculating if it would be better to cook the rice ahead and mix in in after everything else was cooked.
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Old 01-24-2021, 07:39 PM   #9
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I stir the uncooked rice in while frying the ham, garlic and onions, continue from there. The frying of the rice in the oil separates the grains, delays the absorption of liquid.
I'll try that..
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Old 01-24-2021, 07:58 PM   #10
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Cut down on the liquid by 1/3 cup or so or increase the amount of rice some. The tomatoes and the other veges have liquid in them that comes out as they cook.
Yes, that is the heart of the problem and I've been doing that but so far I haven't gotten the ratio right I was hoping someone had already figured out the ratio and method. I've tried a few different cookbook recipes but still have the same problem to some degree or another.
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Old 01-24-2021, 08:12 PM   #11
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Then add enough water to the reserved liquid to make 2C. Add 1C of rice to the mix as well as the 2C off water mixture

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Originally Posted by Bama-Rick View Post


Yes, that is the heart of the problem and I've been doing that but so far I haven't gotten the ratio right I was hoping someone had already figured out the ratio and method. I've tried a few different cookbook recipes but still have the same problem to some degree or another.
You wrote in your first post that you are still using 2 cups of liquid. Cut down the liquid.

We start ours on the stove and then bake in the oven uncovered after the rice goes in.
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Old 01-24-2021, 08:32 PM   #12
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I'll try parboiled rice that is a common suggestion. I used to work in Cajun country New Iberia, Laffettye, Bouax Bridge, and Lake Charles, both Jumbalaya and Gumbo in that part of the country are ways to use up leftovers. Gumbo is a little more versatile. Ham is par for the course when it comes to Jambalaya but almost any smoked pork meat will do.

I used to work in the oil fields with the locals and they were great people they'd give you the shirt off your back and feed you till you were fat as a hog if you let them and the food was heavily.

I remember saying, "This is delicious what's in it?"
The reply was always, "You don't want'a know Yankee just keep chew we got plenty."

I was originally from around Buffalo, NY hence Yankee. But I've probably had gator, raccoon, deer, and Nutra, gumbo, or jambalaya. They would give you their last dollar but held on to their recipes pretty tight and even if they told you it was you put in a pinch of that a handful of this, two fingers and a smugin' of this, and don't forget the cayenne.
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Old 01-24-2021, 08:36 PM   #13
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You wrote in your first post that you are still using 2 cups of liquid. Cut down the liquid.

We start ours on the stove and then bake in the oven uncovered after the rice goes in.
Bake it in the oven? Never tried that, tell me more?

When you get a little time if you can post your recipe and method maybe the oven is the trick but like I said never seen it done that way.
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Old 01-25-2021, 08:57 PM   #14
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Bake it in the oven? Never tried that, tell me more?

When you get a little time if you can post your recipe and method maybe the oven is the trick but like I said never seen it done that way.
There are tons of recipes for baked rice. I like baking rice completely in the oven when making gumbo. I substitute broth for the water, and add in a few tablespoons of minced celery, onion and green pepper. Also, white, red, and black peppers with a bit of garlic powder. I've never been wild about salt so only the smallest pinch.

Some people start their baked rice on the stove top and put it in the oven. I stir everything together and simply bake it for about 40 minutes to an hour depending on the temperature. I use a chopstick to check to see that the water is gone by making a tiny hole in the rice so I can see the bottom.
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Old 01-25-2021, 09:28 PM   #15
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Wow, never thought of 'completely' doing the rice in the oven. I use the micro wave and the stove top equally.
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Old 01-26-2021, 07:03 AM   #16
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We use Paul Prudhomme's recipe from his first cookbook. My.DH also likes to add Chef Paul's Very Hot Cajun sauce to his, but I can't take that heat.
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Old 01-26-2021, 09:11 AM   #17
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We use Paul Prudhomme's recipe from his first cookbook. My.DH also likes to add Chef Paul's Very Hot Cajun sauce to his, but I can't take that heat.
Loved his recipes, in the 80's

The first I made was his Blackened Redfish.
Usually made it for guests and everyone was amazed with the method. First timers couldn't believe that that smoky, seemingly burned fish was so delicious.
Good times, serving that.

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Old 01-26-2021, 11:01 AM   #18
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Yep, we still make blackened fish on occasion.
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Old 01-26-2021, 01:50 PM   #19
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Some people start their baked rice on the stovetop and put it in the oven. I stir everything together and simply bake it for about 40 minutes to an hour depending on the temperature. I use a chopstick to check to see that the water is gone by making a tiny hole in the rice so I can see the bottom.
This is very interesting I've always cooked rice on top of the stove never in the oven but, I checked out a few Chicken/vegetable baked rice dishes and I can adapt them easily to make jambalaya..

Now that I think about I have made baked chicken and rice casserole. Next time I think I'll try the baked rice method I see it offers a few advantages over the stovetop method. Thanks, for the help.
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Old 01-26-2021, 02:12 PM   #20
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I also use the Paul Prudhomme recipe for jambalaya that calls for adding the uncooked rice to the rest of the ingredients and baking it all together.

On a related note. Your recipe for stovetop rice is way off in its proportions of water and rice. I recommend you try adding one cup of rice to 1˝ cups of boiling liquid (water or broth). Tests have shown that each cup of rice absorbs one cup of liquid. Adding a half cup extra provides for evaporation.
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1 green pepper, 1 lb shrimp, 1 onion, 1 red pepper, 1c diced ham, 1c rice, 1tsp tony's seasoning, how to, jam, recipe

Jambalaya how to? Jambalaya is one of my favorite dishes and the one I just can't get right. The problem is the consistency of the rice, I like rice is firm buff fluffy. When I can rice myself I have no problems 1C of rice, 2C of water boil to a boil, turn down the heat to simmer, for 15 minutes, take it off the heat let it sit 10 minutes, take the cover for the pot give it stir, let it sit 5 minutes and I have perfect fluffy non-sticky rice every time. When I make Jambalaya I cook the ham, garlic, and onions in a little oil for 15-20 minutes till the ham is slightly browned and onions are translucent or beginning to brown. I strain the liquid off and reserve it for later. Then add diced green and diced red bell peppers and 1 Teaspoon Tony's Creole Seasoning and a can of diced tomatoes. I strain the juice off the tomatoes before adding them and add the juice to the reserved aforementioned liquid. I cook that mixture for 10-15 minutes. Then add enough water to the reserved liquid to make 2C. Add 1C of rice to the mix as well as the 2C off water mixture bring the pot to a boil, turn it down to a simmer put a lid on the pot. Simmer for 15 minutes, take it off the heat stir in shrimp and let it rest for 10 minutes, and open the pot to a gooey stick pot of mush.. How do I get frim fluffy rice when making Jambalaya without cooking the rice separately and mixing it in afterward? 3 stars 1 reviews
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