Rush Hour

Fusion cuisine can really irritate me sometimes. That said, there are times when two seemingly unrelated cuisines can be melded in ways that are absolutely inspired. I find that looking for similar types of dishes - long simmering stews, casserole-type dishes, etc - can give you a basis for mixing and matching ingredients and seasonings to come up with creative dining options. That's exactly the case with this month's recipe.

When faced with a freezer stocked with more sausage than I wanted and a craving for Indian biriyani, I decided that a traditional jambalaya could really benefit from a biriyani-inspired spice mix with its traditional set of ingredients. The result is a rich dish with an incredible depth of flavor that comes as a bit of a surprise. Smoked sausage works surprisingly well with spicy green chili and cardamom seeds.

I've made this dish several times and served it with everything from cheesy cornbread, for a more casual feel, to spicy tandoori shrimp and Indian condiments, for something a little more elegant. Either way, it's a meal that welcomes a glass of good wine or a chilled beer. Perfect summer food, if you ask me!

As always, I encourage you to share your recipe ideas and comments. You can always post comments using the forms provided in the articles or email me directly at . Enjoy!

Indian Jambalaya

  • 1 T. butter
  • 2 T. canola oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped, or ground with pestle
  • 1 inch ginger root, peeled, crushed and chopped, or ground with pestle
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. caraway seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. cardamom seeds
  • 1 green chili, finely chopped
  • 1/4 c. chopped onion
  • 1/4 c. chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 c. chopped tomatoes
  • 3/4 c. rice
  • 3 c. chicken stock
  • 1 lb. smoked sausage, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Salt and pepper

In a large saucepan, heat the butter and oil over high heat with the garlic, ginger and seasonings until fragrant. Add the green chili, onion and pepper and cook for 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and rice and slowly add the broth. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the rice absorbs the liquid and becomes tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. When the rice is just tender add the sausage. Cook until the meat is done, about 10 minutes more. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes