Auguest 2020: Jenel Laureta

Deconstructed Spicy Seafood Jambalaya

“Learn as much as you can through reading cookbooks, watching cooking shows, attending short cooking classes, and from other people. Then try to incorporate all these in your daily cooking.” — Jenel Laureta

Auguest 2020: Jenel Laureta

I was greatly influenced by my paternal grandfather to love food and cooking! Hands down, he was a great cook because there was not a dish I didn’t like. All his dishes were simply delicious. His cooking was not by-the-book and he had no recipes to follow. He cooked by taste and with utmost passion.

In my Lolo Pepe’s kitchen, I began with peeling garlic and onions for homemade atchara. We were busiest in the kitchen during town fiestas. Lolo Pepe would whip up his specialties: Asadong Manok, Mechadong Baka, and Adobong Hito to name a few. I would linger in the kitchen to smell the bubbling sauces and of course to get a taste of each cooked dish.

From him, I also learned how to appreciate good food. We weren’t rich but he wouldn’t settle for less than the best. I remember that he would always buy our butter from a PX store and we would always travel to a nearby city to eat good food.

A great part of my childhood memory is about food and cooking, and this may be the reason why until now I love to eat and cook! In my kitchen now, I try to replicate Lolo Pepe’s cooking. Although I do not have any recipes to follow, I just try to remember the smell, the taste, and the look of a certain dish!

Deconstructed Spicy Seafood Jambalaya

Jambalaya is a popular dish of West African, French (especially in Provençal cuisine), Spanish and Native American influence; similar to, but distinct from, other rice-and-meat dishes known in Louisiana cuisine.

An easy Jambalaya recipe is pure comfort food filled to the brim with flavor. A soffritto-like trinity of onion, bell peppers and celery are also included, along with rice, chilies, cajun spice, other seasonings, and broth. Jambalaya is a quintessential one pot recipe, usually cooked together until the rice is done, but since this is a recipe for a deconstructed Jambalaya, we’re going to need a pot/pan more or two.

Deconstructed Spicy Seafood Jambalaya Ingredients



  • 1 pc river prawn
  • 1 pc blue swimmer crab
  • 1 pc crab claw
  • 3 pcs large prawns
  • 4 pcs mussels
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1 whole green bell pepper, cubed
  • 1 medium-sized white onion, minced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 pcs red chili, diced (optional)
  • 1 & 1/2 to 2 cups seafood broth or water
  • 1 to 1 & 1/2 tbsp cajun spice
  • 1 can (approx. 400g) diced tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • Cherry tomatoes, lightly fried, for garnish


  1. Jambalaya Stew: Add olive oil in a shallow pan and start sautéing in this order: green bell pepper, celery, white onion, and then garlic. Add cajun spice and continue cooking for a further 2 minutes.
  2. Pour the can of diced tomatoes and let it cook until softened before adding a cup of seafood broth or water. Bring to a boil.
  3. Add assorted seafood and cover until cooked. Add more seafood broth or water as needed and leave to simmer, seasoning with salt according to your taste.
  4. Once the assorted seafood is cooked through, fish out into a bowl and set aside.
  5. Jambalaya Rice: In a separate pan, sauté the garlic until golden and fragrant.
  6. Ladle about a cup of the jambalaya stew and add it to the pan with sautéed garlic. Leave to simmer to allow the flavors to concentrate.
  7. Add the cooked rice and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and allow the rice to absorb all the stew.
  8. Jambalaya Soup: Add half a cup of seafood broth to the remaining jambalaya stew and simmer.
  9. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Optional, if you want an intense jambalaya flavor, you can add a half teaspoon more of cajun spice.
  10. Purée the stew in a blender and pass it through a fine sieve.
  11. Pour soup in a bottle and keep warm.
  12. Assembly: Arrange the assorted seafood in a large shallow plate and garnish with lightly fried cherry tomatoes.
  13. Pour the warm jambalaya soup over the assorted seafood and serve with jambalaya rice. Enjoy!

Deconstructed Spicy Seafood Jambalaya

Deconstructed Spicy Seafood Jambalaya

Photo Courtesy & Recipe Copyright © 2020 | Jenel Laureta (@jenel.laureta)


– Jenel Laureta


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