Jambalaya Yeah Ya’ll love that!

Although there is much speculation about the origin of jambalaya, the facts are unclear. The most commonly repeated folklore is that the word derives from the combination of the French word jambon meaning ham, the French article “à la” a contraction of “à la manière de” meaning “in the style of,” and “ya,” thought to be of West African origin meaning rice. Hence, the dish was named “jamb à la ya.”

However, ham is not the signature ingredient of the dish and there is no known African language in which “ya” means “rice.” Another source suggests that the word comes from the Spanish jamon (ham) + paella, a noted Spanish rice dish. Spanish speakers would call a ham rice dish, paella con jamon, not jamon paella. All we know for sure is the first records of Creole Jambalaya originate from the French Quarter in New Orleans. It was an attempt by the Spanish to make paella in the New World. Learn more about Cajun and Creole History here!

The strong French influence in New Orleans, and spices from the Caribbean changed this New World paella into a unique dish. But as Gumbo, two types of Jambalaya exist: Creole and Cajun!
  • Creole Jambalaya or “Red Jambalaya” is found primarily in and around New Orleans. Creole Jambalaya includes tomatoes in the recipe and specifically why the Cajuns refer to it as Red Jambalaya. Creole Jambalaya includes a variety of different ingredients including tomatoes, chicken, shrimp, The Holier than Thou Trinity (onion, green pepper, celery, garlic, green onion and, parsley), rice, creole spices and hot sauce.
  • Cajun Jambalaya originated in southern Louisiana by the Cajuns around the bayou. The Cajun Jambalaya includes a variety of meats such as tasso (a cajun dried pork or turkey), andouille (smoked pork sausage), chicken, or any wild game. They also include the Holy Trinity, rice, & cajun spices.
Let us know how you like your Jambalaya, Creole or Cajun style? Both are delicious right?!
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