Q: I went to Hawaii last year and had a delicious vegetarian jambalaya. I never got a chance to ask the chef how to make it. Can you duplicate the recipe?
A: The chefs of Hawaii are adventuresome and use exotic ingredients from the islands. Of course, jambalaya is a Cajun dish from the bayou region of Louisiana, primarily composed of rice with ham, shellfish, sausage, chicken and beans. Robust flavor comes from Creole vegetables and spices. Just like paella, cassoulet or cioppino, the ingredients vary widely from cook to cook.
The jambalaya concept fits well into the cuisine of Hawaii. I’m sure the flavors were unique and tasty. Rather than try to duplicate the Hawaiian jambalaya, I’ll offer a quick, all-vegetable recipe using bulgur, from The Healthy Cook (Rodale Press, 1997).
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped green peppers
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup salsa
1 cup reduced-sodium tomato sauce
1 cup bulgur or 1 cup “10-minute” brown rice
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 can (19 ounces) red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup drained canned corn
In a large no-stick skillet over medium heat, warm oil. Add the onions, celery, green peppers and garlic. Sauté for 5 minutes, or just until the vegetables are tender.
Stir in the salsa, tomato sauce, bulgur, thyme, red pepper and 1/4-cup of broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
Stir in the beans, corn and remaining 1/4-cup broth. Cover and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes longer, or until the bulgur is soft. Serves: 4
Chop and toss in some freshly roasted or grilled red peppers for a garnish of color and a touch of smoky flavor, reminiscent of the original meat recipe.
Per Serving: 369 calories; 5 g. fat(11% of calories); 18.8 g. protein; 74.2 g. carbohydrates; 20.5 g. dietary fiber; 0.0 mg. cholesterol; 674 mg. Sodium