If you love seafood then you surely must have heard of the famed Cajun cuisine. And if you were among the fortunate ones who got to try it in its birthplace of Louisiana, you must know that it's not just about cayenne pepper 🌶️
Cajun food has often been misunderstood by many Americans, thinking that it is just seafood cooked in spicy sauce. The truth can't be further from the myth. Cajun cuisine has a rich and celebrated history in American food history. And we'll tell you everything that you need to know about this hearty cuisine.
But, before we begin, how can we not introduce you to some of our popular Cajun recipes -
and Cajun Chicken Wings.
♨️Cajun Cuisine is a mix of different regional food
Just like America is a mixing hotpot of different cultures, Cajun cuisine is also inspired by different places.
Cajun cuisine originally began from French settlers living in the maritime provinces of Canada. These French settlers were called Acadians and brought their rural French recipes to North America.
Acadians lived with what their land provided, so their French recipes were soon modified to include all the abundant fish available on the Canadian coastline. And thus the early beginnings of Cajun cuisine began to take root.
But now you must be wondering how Cajun cuisine came to the American lands. It happens that Acadians shared one thing that all Americans share: the love of freedom.
In 1755. when the Acadians were asked to swear by the British crown, many refused and instead migrated down to the Southern states of the USA, until they reached Louisiana.
Once the Acadians reached Louisiana, the modern development of Cajun cuisine began. Acadians adapted to the demands of their new home once again. Incorporating seafood like oysters, crab, shrimp, and crawfish in their recipes.
This is also where rice became an important part of Cajun cuisine as Louisiana farmed rice extensively.
But wait, we are missing something!
What about the iconic spices of Cajun cuisine? Spices that we have come to associate with Cajun cuisines like cayenne pepper and black pepper were also included in Louisiana as well.
In this long journey from France to Louisiana, Cajun cuisine was also influenced by other cultures along the way. African American, Spanish, and Native Americans are just another few of them who contributed to shaping Cajun cuisine into what we love and adore today.
⭐Important components of Cajun cuisine
If we ask you what are the things that make up Cajun cuisine, you'll probably answer along the lines of "seafood and cayenne pepper on top".
If you say this then you are seriously missing out on the true essence of Cajun cuisine. So let's start by telling you what goes into cooking up an authentic Cajun feast.
- Although seafood is essential to Cajun cuisine, it is not found in every Cajun dish as you may imagine. Plenty of Cajun recipes use other forms of proteins like chicken and sausages as we shared above.
- Spices: Spices is a BIG part of Cajun Cusinines. In fact it's used so much that many people think Cajun food is spicy. But guess what, Cajun cuisine is really about flavour. These folks from Louisiana really know how to use spices the right way. The moment you try your first authentic taste of Cajun cuisine, you'll experience - a burst of flavours on your taste palette. It's smoky, lightly spicy, and of course not something that would make you want to reach out for a glass of water. Try this Cajun Chicken Fettucine Alfredo.
- Have you ever wondered just how Cajun cuisine gets its delicious thick sauces? The answer lies in the roux! And no, we aren't talking about the French roux! Cajun cuisine uses its own version of roux, which although is inspired from the French version, is still its own entity. Cajun roux uses oil instead of butter unlike the French roux to make the emulsion with flour. This is the secret to why Cajun sauces are always dark in colour. Try Salmon Pasta in Creamy Cajun Sauce.
- The Cajun Trinity: Another common combination you'll notice in Cajun cuisine is the trinity of onion, celery, and green bell peppers. Along with the roux and spices, these three veggies help in giving many Cajun dishes its base flavour.
- Rice is a staple side dish to every Cajun meal on the table. Whether it's gumbo or jambalaya, you'll find rice in almost every Cajun meal.
🔪Cajun Cooking Techniques
Cajun cuisine is known for its simple and rustic nature. You don't need to be a professional chef trained at culinary school to make Cajun recipes.
- Barbeque is an important part of Southern America. Cajun cuisine adds its own spin to it by adding more depth of flavor to the recipe.
- Boiling is a simple but essential cooking method used by Cajun cooking. Just take your fresh seafood like crawfish and boil it in Cajun seasoned broth.
- Cajun cuisine is all about it's delicious thick sauces.
- Deep frying is one of the most commonly seen cooking methods in Cajun cuisine.
You must have noticed we didn't mention the blackening of fish in the given cooking methods of Cajun cuisine. That's because it is not a traditional Cajun cooking method in the first place. It was popularised by a celebrity chef in the 1970s, but any Cajun person can tell you that's not authentic Cajun cuisine. But, still, you should see this recipe for Blackened Shrimp.
🥄Cajun recipes you're probably missing out on!
You must have already heard of the popular delicacies of Cajun cuisine, like gumbo, jambalaya, or shrimp po'boy. But have you ever tried some of the underrated food Cajun cuisines have to offer?
- Cajun-style French toast just sounds delicious, doesn't it? Good news for you, Cajun cuisine does have its own French toast! Pain perdu is a Cajun egg smothered bread deep fried and served with your choice of topping. If you have stale bread lying around the house, you need to make Pain perdu with it today!
- If you want some quick snacks you can easily pop in your mouth, boudin balls have you covered. Boudin is a Cajun sausage made with pork, green onions and rice. To make this already delicious sausage even better, just batter them up and deep fry it to get quick bites of deliciousness.
- Étouffée sounds like some fancy French dish straight out of a restaurant from Paris, but it is actually a very rustic and flavourful seafood Cajun stew served with rice. If you want some comfort food after a crappy day, Étouffée will definitely make your day better.
- Remember we said that Cajun cuisine is not just about seafood? It also offers the best duck you can ever try. You can slow roast the duck in Cajun seasoning, or smother it with thick sauce, either way you'll taste a piece of heaven in your mouth.
- For desserts there is Cajun hash cake. This is something even a novice in baker can make. As long as you know how to pour and mix ingredients, you can make this rustic dessert for the whole family! All you need is basic bakery items, walnuts and cocoa! Chocolate fans will especially love this cake!
Cajun cuisine takes pride in its simplicity and ingredients that can be easily found in your home. It has no frills or fanciness to it, making Cajun cuisine a perfect choice for someone who is just a beginner in cooking. But whether you want to make it, or just eat it, you have to try out Cajun cuisine once in your life!