Cajun food or Cajun-type meals are very delicious and they are one of those dishes your mouth will water about just by thinking about them. These are dishes that are perfect for your taste bud thanks to their pronounced seasonings. Some dishes are cooked similarly only to satisfy different palettes. They are very similar, but they are very unique. Paella and jambalaya are two of such dishes. An untrained eye will think they are not different, but they are certainly not the same.
We want to find out the differences between paella and jambalaya. To start with, paella is regarded as a Spanish rice meal while jambalaya is considered a Cajun-type meal from Louisiana. They are both made in different ways, most especially with different spices that alter their overall outcome greatly.
In this article, we will find out how we can differentiate between paella and jambalaya in detail. We are sure that after reading the article, you would’ve fully understood the two dishes on an individual level. We will begin by reviewing them individually before we then have a summarized overview. You need to continue reading if you want to find out all we have in stock for you about paella and jambalaya.
Your Guide to Jambalaya and Paella
You need to first understand those things that set a meal apart when you want to make the right meal. Every dish seems to have a particular thing that helps it to stand out when compared to some other dishes. There are several dishes that you could compare but they will always have their uniqueness to set them apart.
There are also dishes you will see that are very unique which you cannot compare to any other dish. The good thing is that any dish can be personalized the way you want it. Paella and jambalaya are also in this category. They are similar to a lot of people, but when you check closely, you will notice their different uniqueness. We will check each of them individually before we then round off with an overview of their differences.
This particular dish is a Spanish meal and it is a rice meal. This means that it has rice as its base and some other things add deliciousness and flavor to the rice as supplements. Paella is very popular in the Spanish culture and it is usually called their national meal. Paella is traditionally cooked on an open fire inside a shallow wide pan, it is, however, now commonly cooked on a stove inside the frying pan.
Typically, paella contains lima beans, duck, chicken, rabbit, green beans, and ground grain rice. You would sometimes find stems, snail, and artichoke hearts. Primarily, paella is usually seasoned with rosemary and saffron and some other few mild seasonings. You are likely to find different meats, garlic, and sweet red pepper in the current version of the dish that is different from the traditional version.
Seafood and shrimp are not very commonly added to paella because we have multiple versions of the meal ranging from Paella Mixta, Paella Valenciana, and Paella de Marisco and they are all different.
How to Make Paella
For reference purposes, we want to check out how you can make your paella. There are lots of ways you can personalize making paella, this is just for reference purpose for you to know what you are working with.
- The ingredients needed include rice, peas, bell pepper, onion, chorizo, chicken, shrimp, chicken broth, water, pepper, and salt for spicing, rosemary, saffron, garlic cloves, olive oil, lemon juice, fresh parsley, and other additions you want.
- Begin the process by combining the pepper and salt, garlic cloves, olive oil, lemon juice, and parsley and then set them apart.
- Combine broth and water inside a very large pot and allow it to a low simmer (do not boil). Keep it over low heat to ensure it is warm.
- Heat the olive oil on medium to high heat inside a frying pan. Add the chicken and then sauté it. Proceed to add your sausage to sauté it before you add the shrimp by sautéing it. You should then remove the pieces of meat from your pot.
- The next things to do is to sauté bell pepper and onion and then add garlic, tomatoes, and then rosemary, garlic cloves, and saffron. Allow it to cook for up to five minutes.
- It is time to add your rice and allow it to cook for up to 1 minute ensuring you stir it the whole time.
- You should then add the herbs and broth mixture from step 2. After then, add peas or some other vegetables and also add meat.
- Allow it to cook and boil for about 10 minutes before you sprinkle lemon juice on it.
- Remove it from the heat, cover it, and allow it to remain for about 10 minutes.
Talk of a Cajun-base dish, jambalaya is also regarded as a creole, they are quite similar. Jambalaya originates from Louisiana taking up identities of West African, French, and Spanish culture. Jambalaya is just rice mixed with different kinds of meat. Any type of meat you want can be chosen but nearly all jambalaya dishes have types of sausages, smoked sausage is the most popular form.
You could also include chicken or pork in jambalaya and it is also possible to come across seafood like shrimp and crawfish though they are not common in more traditional jambalaya meals. Just like any other dish, you can select anything you want, the seasoning set the jambalaya apart.
Also contained in jambalaya are some veggies like green bell pepper, celery, and onion which are more traditionally found in jambalaya. You could now find chilies, garlic, tomatoes, okra, or carrots. You will then use heart seasonings with bold flavors to enhance your jambalaya. Seasonings such as cayenne pepper and cumin might be recognizable to you. Jambalaya can be considered to have more similarities with gumbo than with paella, however, gumbo and jambalaya are not the same.
How to Make Jambalaya
If you want to have an accurate overview of your jambalaya, you need to check out how you can make the dish. What we will share with you is just a traditional recipe, you can change things easily, depending on what you want. We only want to give you a reference as to how the dish can be made enjoyable:
- The ingredients needed include cumin, cayenne pepper, thyme, paprika, shrimp, chicken, white rice, garlic, bell pepper, celery, onion, Andouille sausage, and olive oil. Based on what you want, the veggies and the meat can be adjusted.
- Before you start the dish, the chicken should be already cooked. Begin by browning the sausage inside the olive oil. You may then separate it allowing the oil to remain inside the pan and sautéing the vegetables for up to 6 to 7 minutes. You only need to add the garlic for about a minute when you want to finish.
- Proceed to add your liquid items in case you want to use tomatoes or chicken broth. You will add the seasonings here, add the cumin, cayenne pepper, thyme, and paprika. Also, add pepper and salt to taste the meal.
- You may then add rice and cooked sausage. Allow your mixture to boil under medium to high heat. You should then reduce the heat, use a lid to cover the pot and simmer for about 20 to 25 minutes. It should all be a bit tender. Add additional broth if that is what you need.
- You may then stir in the shrimp and then cover the pot to similar for an extra 5 minutes. You can then stir the chicken in and allow it to cook for another five minutes.
It is quite easy to make jambalaya, the whole process should not take more than 45 minutes including preparation time. Any accompanying dish or side is not needed with jambalaya, but cornbread is commonly eaten with it.
From the information we have shared, you will notice that jambalaya and paella have similar ingredients, however, they are not the same. They do not have the same cultural backgrounds. Even though they are both made with the same rice and some series of the same pieces of meat and they are also both cooked on a stovetop, they are different from that point onward.
Paella has numerous variations with some including seafood while some others have stuff like rabbit or duck. It is noticeable that the seafood variety of paella is found as the most commonly served paella today. It has primary spices saffron and rosemary, making the flavors subtler.
Jambalaya, however, is usually seasoned with Cajun-based or bold Creole seasonings. You will most likely always have chicken and Andouille sausage with jambalaya and probably shrimp. You will find a series of vegetables too.
What is the Best Rice for Paella?
You are recommended to use Arroz Redonda. This rice is regarded as round rice and it will be mostly traditional. You can also use any type of short-grain rice you find around.
What Makes a Good Appetizer for Paella or Jambalaya?
You can take both of the meals individually alone. You could, however, add bread or a salad side.