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Jambalaya Mix

Jambalaya is one of the sought-after comfort foods in the world. It is native to the U.S. state of Louisiana. This dish consists of three major components: meat, vegetables, and rice. Andouille is the most popular sausage, but any other sausage works. Holy Trinity, equal parts of onion, celery, and green bell pepper, is the mandatory vegetables. However, carrots, okra, chilis, tomatoes, and garlic are also being added at times. Depending on the quantity, a jambalaya can take 45 minutes to an hour and a half to cook. Fortunately, some producers craft a prepared, ready to cook blend of ingredients – the jambalaya mix.

A jambalaya mix is a one-pot meal that is ready to cook. It usually consists of long grain rice, dried holy trinity, bouillon powder, and seasonings. However, few manufacturers also offer jambalaya seasoning mix – this one comes without the rice. Regardless, you may always opt to add meat and/or seafood, or add more vegetables if you’d like. The mix offers nothing but a convenient yet flavorful alternative if you don’t have enough time to make jambalaya from scratch. Nevertheless, this dish provides a rich, smoky, and savory flavor note that can absolutely warm you on cold nights.

Jambalaya Mix Trivia

  • Inspired by the Spanish paella, the term jambalaya is believed to be a portmanteau of jamon, the Spanish word for ham, and paella, a Spanish rice dish. However, the Oxford Dictionary states that the term comes from the southern French word jambalaia, which means a mixup or mash of pilaf rice. Nevertheless, jambalaya is proven to originate from rice.
  • Jambalaya was mentioned in the Provencal book of poetry back in the early 18th century.
  • Atakapa tribe, one of the indigenous groups of Texas Indians, claims that the origin of the term jambalaya came from the statement “Sham, pal ha! Ya!” which translates to “Be full, not skinny! Eat up!” The English translation resembles the French word “Bon appétit!”
  • Texas is home to the Jambalaya music festival, eventually shortened to JMBLYA, one of the biggest multi-city hip-hop events in Texas which is celebrated in Houston, Austin, and Dallas every May since 2013. Its name links to the different mixes of musical genres that complement well with each other, resembling the Jambalaya’s mixtures of ingredients that blend great as well.
  • The U.S. state of Louisiana, being the Jambalaya Capital of the World, holds an annual Jambalaya Festival. The event features more than a hundred recipe variations, along with several competitions, and an enormous pot filled with the dish of honor – jambalaya!

Jambalaya Mix Buying Guide

Jambalaya is definitely everywhere in the state of Texas from large supermarkets such as H-E-B and Natural Grocers to online shops and nearby markets. The only downside of buying the store-bought ones are the preservatives that are commonly added to them. Nevertheless, here are some things to look out for when you opt to buy store-bought jambalaya mix: 

  1. You can find jambalaya mix in the seasoning section of the store, along with other soup mixes and flavorings.
  2. Check out the sodium content as some products may go heavy on the salt. Better yet, opt for no-salt-added, reduced-sodium, or low-sodium, and just add salt as you normally flavor your dishes.
  3. Check out the ingredients list to see if there are preservatives involved in the product. You may want to choose a jambalaya mix that has its original components.
  4. As always, products from local food vendors and artisans in farmers’ markets are better than the mass-produced ones. Here, you’ll get close to no preservatives and the ingredients are usually organic. Their products are also made in small batches and you might be able to get free samples along the way. And, don’t forget that our Texas Real Food website is home to all Texan vendors that would love to hear from you.

Jambalaya Mix Production & Farming in Texas

The state of Texas is home to numerous restaurants and joints that serve Cajun and Creole cuisine. While you can easily enjoy this Louisiana dish anywhere in Texas, you can also make jambalaya at home. Or better yet, pre-blend the mixture ahead of time. Traditionally, the production of jambalaya starts by sautéeing the meat and vegetables until it caramelizes. Rice, broth, and seasonings are then added until the rice becomes completely cooked. Thus, a jambalaya mix makes it more convenient and less time-consuming because most of the ingredients are already pre-blended in the package. Some jambalaya mix only contains small, dehydrated meat and vegetables. Hence, it is suggested to brown some in a pan or pot, add the mix, and pour water to boil and simmer until the rice is completely cooked. In addition, local artisans in the state of Texas also love to craft the jambalaya mix. 

Pesticides, additives, and chemicals:

Store-bought jambalaya mix might be more convenient than cooking from scratch or pre-blending one at home. Not to mention that the parboiled rice included in the ready-mix packages are usually enriched with minerals and vitamins like iron, niacin, thiamine, folic acid, and mononitrate. However, both the jambalaya seasoning mix and its ready-mixes contain additives and chemicals for a lower cost yet fast-producing and shelf-stable products. Thus, here are some additives that we found on top brands:

  • Artificial Flavorings – These are usually chemically-formulated products that are used to intensify the flavors of the product. Although they are labeled as such due to its very small quantitative participation, it’s always a better option to stay away from these ingredients. For jambalaya mix, some of which come in the following names: disodium guanylate, disodium inosinate, disodium succinate, sodium phosphate, soy protein isolate, hydrolyzed soy protein, and alike. 
  • Natural Flavorings – Likewise, these are additives that are used to intensify the flavors of the product. For the jambalaya mix, some natural flavorings include the following: dehydrated meat, onion & onion powder, red chili pepper, paprika, salt, tomato powder, cayenne, thyme, bell peppers, chili powder, garlic & garlic powder, turmeric, and other herbs & spices. 
  • Modified Food Starch – This additive is usually made with wheat, potato, corn, or tapioca. It acts as a binding agent, thickener, stabilizer, and preservative. This additive offers empty calories – they provide no nutritional value, yet it adds a considerable amount of carbohydrates which can promote weight gain. This ingredient should also be avoided by someone who is gluten intolerant. 
  • Guar Gum – This fiber additive came from the guar plant’s seed. It acts as a thickener, stabilizer, and emulsifier to bind all the flavorings and sweeteners included in the product. Hence, although it is generally classified as safe to consume, it can cause loose stools, gas, and mild diarrhea; or worse, it can block the intestines and the esophagus. 
  • Dextrose and Maltodextrin – It is a type of sugar that acts as an artificial sweetener, food neutralizer, and a preservative. Too much consumption of this ingredient can lead to body fluid build-up and high blood sugar.
  • Silicon Dioxide – This chemical compound is also known as silica. It is used as a thickener, stabilizer, anticaking agent, and carrier for aroma and flavor. Although it is safe to consume, it can lead to lung problems when consumed past its RDA. 
  • Rice Concentrate – In the absence of the synthetic silicon dioxide, rice concentrate has been the substitute additive. Likewise, it acts as a thickener, stabilizer, anticaking agent, and carrier for aroma and flavor. It is sometimes listed as “rice hulls” and it is the fiber and silica part of rice’s bran. Technically speaking, rice concentrate does not have any white rice. And although it is generally classified as safe to consume, it can cause itchiness and rashes to the skin. 

Packaging:

Although jambalaya mixes are mostly sold as a ready-mix food commonly packaged in 8-oz cartons, some manufacturers also offer a jambalaya seasoning mix, packaged in pouches, canisters, or pet bottles. The only difference between the two packaging is the content, as the seasoning mix does not include rice. Moreover, the ready-mixes packaged in cartons are also available in cases, should you wish to buy on wholesale and save a little bit of money. Local artisan food vendors also sell their homemade, scratch-made jambalaya mixes in mason jars.

Eating Jambalaya Mix

Jambalaya stands as a one complete meal that is traditionally enjoyed during dinner. However, some prefer to serve it with southern side dishes like cornbread, corn on the cob, cheddar cheese biscuits, hush puppies, fresh salads, grilled oysters, deep-fried okra, collard greens, and corn maque choux. French baguettes also pair perfectly with this dish.

Storage:

A homemade jambalaya mix should be kept in a sealable and air-tight container. You may also use a mason jar with a tight-fitting lid on. Like the ready-made or the pre-blended jambalaya seasoning mix, it should then be stored in a cool and dry area far from humid and hot zones like stoves, grills, and ovens to prolong their shelf life. Following these, the jambalaya mix can last for about 18-24 months. To optimize its longevity, keep the container tightly closed.

Make your own Jambalaya Mix:

Jambalaya mix is easy to blend at home. Not to mention that it is convenient to use, especially when you’re looking for a quick dinner. Hence, it’s time to stack up some mason jars and make your own jambalaya mix. Feel free to blend all the dry ingredients as this will last for at least 6 months up to 2 years. Here is the recipe:

Yield: 6 batches of 6 servings each / total of 36 servings

Dry ingredients:

  • 6 cups uncooked long-grain rice
  • Holy Trinity: dried onions, celery, and bell pepper, 6 tbsp each (Note: If you are to store this for later use, it is important not to use any fresh ingredients. If you only have the fresh ones, you can remove it or them from the mix and just add when you are about to use the jambalaya mix.)
  • 6 tbsp dried parsley
  • 2 tbsp dried chives
  • 8 tsp bouillon powder
  • 2 ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1 ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 ½ tsp dried thyme

Additional ingredients upon using or cooking:

  • 1-2 tbsp cooking oil 
  • 2 lbs Andouille sausage, sliced diagonally into ¼-in thickness
  • ¾ cup green bell pepper, chopped (Optional)
  • Other chopped vegetables like okra, carrots, chilis, etc. (Optional)
  • 1 8-oz can tomato sauce
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 lbs raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

Method:

  1. Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. 
  2. Divide into 6 equal parts or batches and transfer into six airtight containers or mason jars.
  3. To use: heat oil in a pan and brown sausages over medium-high heat. Add green bell peppers or any added vegetables and sauté for another 20 seconds. Stir in the tomato sauce and add water. Throw in one batch of jambalaya mix, boil for 15 seconds, and reduce the heat to simmer until the rice is tender (usually around 20 minutes). Finally, lay the shrimps nicely on top of the cooked rice, cover with lid, and turn off the heat. Jambalaya is ready in the next 3-5 minutes.

Nutrition

DV%

  • Serving Size: 1/3 Cup, (45g)
  • Calories: 160
  • Carbs: 33g 11%
  • Sugar: 0.5g
  • Fiber: 1g 4%
  • Protein: 4g
  • Fat: 0.5g 1%
  • Saturated Fat: 0g 0%
  • Trans Fat 0g 0%
  • Cholesterol 0mg 0%
  • Sodium 440mg 18%
  • Vitamin C 15%
  • Vitamin A 8%
  • Calcium 2%
  • Iron 10%
  • Potassium 120mg 3%

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