SHRIMP JAMBALAYA – Pressure Cooker Method - See definitions and ethic history below
1 cup long grain white rice
1 ˝ cups water (in the pressure cooker)
1 ˝ cups water (in the rice bowl)
Pour 1 ˝ cups water into the pressure cooker. Insert a metal cooking rack into the pressure cooker. Combine the rice and 1 ˝ cups in a metal bowl which fits loosely in the pressure cooker. Place the bowl on a rack in the cooker. Cook 5 minutes with the pressure regulator rocking slowly. Allow pressure to drop on its own accord. Open cooker and set rice aside to steam. Remove cooking rack and remaining water.
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, minced
˝ cup chopped onion
˝ pound precooked ham, diced
2 teaspoons salt (I suggest starting with 1 teaspoon, adjust salt to taste after cooking)
1/8 teaspoons pepper
1/8 teaspoon allspice
Pinch each: cayenne, chili powder, and basil
16 ounce can of tomatoes
4 ounce can sliced mushrooms
1 pound medium shrimp (prawns), shelled and deveined
˝ green pepper cut into strips
Heat cooker, add oil and sauté (medium – low heat) garlic and onion until golden brown. Stir in ham. Add seasonings, tomatoes, and mushrooms; mix well. Stir in shrimp. Sprinkle green peppers on top. Close lid. Cook 5 minutes with the pressure regulator rocking slowly. Cool cooker at once. Remove cover and stir in rice. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
CRITICAL POINT: A pressure cooker must always have adequate liquid in it. It can not cook dry. One could suffer severe injury, likely cause permanant damage to the the pressure cooker rendering it useless as a pressure vessel, and will wreck the food by burning it. In the above step the only liquid in the pressure vessel is the oil, the liquid from the canned tomatoes, canned mushrooms, and the mositure content of the ingredients. If in doubt add some water (1/2 - 1 cup). If it is excessive it can be simmered off, (removed by evaporation) after the pressure is released.
Nutrition Information per Serving: 317 Calories, 10 gram Fat, 137 Cholesterol
Options and Suggestions
By its ethnic nature this dish may be too salty and / or spicy for some palettes. If desired, start with less salt and spices, adjust after cooking. It tends to be saltier, and spicier if reheated a day or two later.
Increase or decrease the ham or shrimp as desired.
Variations of Jambalaya include:
Sausage medallions are often added to this dish, as is chicken, fish or seafood, with the name changing accordingly.
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DEFINITIONS AND ETHIC HISTORY
Definition: [juhm-buh-LI-yah; jam-buh-LI-yah] One of Creole cookery's hallmarks, jambalaya is a versatile dish that combines cooked rice with a variety of ingredients including tomatoes, onion, green peppers and almost any kind of meat, poultry or shellfish. The dish varies widely from cook to cook. It's thought that the name derives from the French jambon, meaning "ham," the main ingredient in many of the first jambalayas.
Definition: [KREE-ohl] In the 18th century, the Spaniards governing New Orleans named all residents of European heritage Criollo. The name, which later became Creole, soon began to imply one of refined cultural background with an appreciation for an elegant lifestyle. Today, Creole cookery reflects the full-flavored combination of the best of French, Spanish and African cuisines. Its style, with an emphasis on butter and cream, is more sophisticated than Cajun cooking (which uses prodigious amounts of pork fat). Another difference between the two cuisines is that Creole uses more tomatoes and the Cajuns more spices. Both cuisines rely on the culinary "holy trinity" of chopped green peppers, onions and celery, and make generous use of filé powder. Probably the most famous dish of Creole heritage is gumbo.
Definition: [KAY-juhn] Today's Cajuns are the descendants of 1,600 French Acadians whom the British forced from their Nova Scotian homeland in 1785. The local Indians transmuted the word Acadians to Cagians and, eventually, to Cajuns. Many confuse Cajun cooking with Creole cooking but though there are many points of similarity, there are also distinct differences. Cajun cooking, a combination of French and Southern cuisines, is robust, country-style cookery that uses a dark roux and plenty of animal (usually pork) fat. Creole cooking places its emphasis on butter and cream. Some maintain that Creole cooking uses more tomatoes and the Cajuns more spices. Both cuisines make generous use of filé powder and the culinary "holy trinity" of chopped green peppers, onions and celery. Two of the more traditional Cajun dishes include jambalaya and coush-coush (a thick cornmeal breakfast dish).
Filé Powder (Not called for in this Jambalaya recipe, but mentioned in Creole and Cajun Cooking)
Definition: [FEE-lay; fih-LAY] Choctaw Indians from the Louisiana bayou country are said to have been the first users of this seasoning made from the ground, dried leaves of the sassafras tree. It's since become an integral part of Creole cooking and is used to thicken and flavor gumbos and other Creole dishes. Filé has a woodsy flavor reminiscent of root beer. It must be stirred into a dish after it's removed from the heat because undue cooking makes filé tough and stringy. Filé powder is available in the spice or gourmet section of most large supermarkets. As with all spices, it should be stored in a cool, dark place for no more than 6 months.
EDITED TO ADD:
Written about the US, with the US perspective in general, and in reference to the region around Louisana US, primarly centered in New Orleans. I have no idea, but suspect the further one is from that region, Filé may be increasingly difficult to find, with exceptions.
Noted that the US is the most diverse ethnic country in the world, by historical events and happen stance; we are blessed as a melting pot of world cultures and cuinses. Jambalaya is one result, and for which I am most greateful for.