Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Nintendo Jambalaya

Many years ago I found a "game" for the Nintendo DS called Can't decide what to eat? Cooking Guide. I swear that's the name of the game. And the "game" is actually an interactive recipe book complete with a virtual guide who basically tells you what to do, step by step, to successfully complete recipes that can be sorted by country using a world map or by ingredients. You can even have a grocery list in there so you can bring your DS with you to buy your ingredients for the many recipes offered. You will also find explanatory videos that show how to do certain steps like how to properly chop an onion or other cooking tips. A nice feature too, is how there are suggestions to replace some uncommon items, especially in the Asian recipes. But the best feature, though it doesn't work to perfection, is the voice activated commands to continue, go back or repeat the steps while the little cartoon chef guides you through a recipe.

The only downside is that I don't think the game was ever released in North America, so the version I have has all the measures in grams instead of cups. So I had to buy myself a scale to make sure I had the right amounts. I don't know why the hell Europeans measure their ingredients in grams! I mean a cup is a volume, you can have a visual idea of how much a cup of finely chopped onions look like, but not how 100g of chopped onions look like. Man, those Europeans are weird.

So last weekend I was wondering what I was going to make myself for food this week. I was in the mood for some rice with meat in it like a spicy dirty rice or some kind of sausage and shrimp gumbo. Basically I was in the mood for some kind of food from Louisiana. So, I checked out the American section of the map and decided to make myself the Jambalaya that's featured in the game. It's a pretty simple recipe, you saute vegetables and hot chillies in oil, add chicken and seafood, canned tomatoes, white wine, chicken stock and rice then let it all cook until the rice is ready and all the broth has been absorbed. But let me tell you in details how I did it, with the north American cooking metric system. And by the way, this recipe takes about an hour to make and serves 4, so with one portion a day you're gonna be good for most of the week.

Here are the tools you'll need to prepare this recipe:

Large pot
Chopping knife
Measuring cup

Here is the list of ingredients:

1 chicken breast
1 340g bag of SeaQuest frozen sea foo medley (A blend of octopus, cuttlefish, squid, shrimps, clams and mussels) I found this in the frozen seafood section at Loblaws at the Angus Shops.
1 small onion
1 clove garlic
2 bay leaves
1 small green pepper
2 stalks of celery
1 cup of chopped flat leaf parsley
1 540ml can of diced tomatoes, drained
1 900ml carton of chicken stock (or chicken broth)
1 cup white wine
1 or 2 tablespoon of olive oil
2 1/2 cups of regular uncooked rice
1 heaping tablespoon of crushed chili flakes (or a hand full)
Some salt and pepper to taste.

And here's how you prepare it:

First finely chop your onion, green pepper, celery, garlic and flat leaf parsley.
Cut your chicken breast into small cubes.

Put the large pot over medium heat.
Add oil in the pot. Put about 1 tablespoon or 2 and tilt the pot around to cover the bottom.
When the oil is hot, add the garlic, onions, green peppers and celery.
Saute the vegetables until the onions are transparent.

When the onions are transparent, add the chicken and the sea food medley.
Add the heaping table spoon of chili flakes.
Add salt and pepper to taste. (About a teaspoon each should be good.)

Cook the meat with the vegetables until the chicken and seafood changes color.
When the meat is cooked, open and drain the can of diced tomatoes and add the tomatoes to the pot.
Then add the box of chicken stock and the cup of white wine and increase the heat to medium high to bring to a gentle boil.

Add the 2 1/2 cups of rice to the pot and stir to mix with the vegetables and meat and so the rice is completely covered in the broth and wine.
Add more salt and pepper to taste.
Keep stirring for 5 minutes always on medium high heat.

Then lower the heat back down to medium to medium low and cover.
Keep an eye on the pot and stir every now and then to make sure it doesn't stick to the bottom.

When the broth has been absorbed by the rice and the rice is tender, remove from heat.
Stir the Jambalaya to help it cool down a bit so the rice doesn't keep on cooking and turn to mush.

Looks delicious with the chicken, squid, cuttlefish, etc.

Finally, spoon a portion onto a a plate and decorate with the chopped flat leaf parsley.

Dinner is served.
I was too lazy and didn't add any parsley on mine.

And there you have it folks, a tasty Jambalaya. Mine turned out pretty well, except I don't think I added enough salt and pepper because the flavor was a bit bland. But, the chili flakes gave it this really nice heat. The seafood medley was perfect for this recipe and gave the dish all the seafood taste it needed with the chicken. And it didn't stink up my place too much either.

Being used to cooking more Middle-Eastern, Indian and Asian food, I'm used to having lots of spices and tons of flavors. I think this Jambalaya recipe is a little bland for my taste. I'll see what I can add to it next time.

I would love to hear from anyone about their experience making this recipe or to get some advice on how to improve it. Leave a comment to let me know!

Bon apétit!


  1. Cool ça a l'air bien. Je remplacerais le uncle ben's pour du "vrai" riz. Tu pourrais p-e augmenter le ration Viande/riz.

  2. That's true. Another chicken breast wouldn't hurt. As for the rice, it's not instant rice but a box of real rice. It's actually converted rice, which is very nutritious. It's the next best thing after brown rice, except it's white. It's also firmer than regular white rice and sticks less which is great for dishes like this where you don't want the rice to turn into mush.

  3. Looking back, I think the recipe asks for too much rice. The mix was too dry and not saucy enough.

    Next time I'll do the same recipe but with half the rice.