The history of Cajun spices is as rich and varied as the history of Louisiana. Cajun cooking comes from the native French-speaking Acadian descendants inhabiting Louisiana and parts of other Southern states. Like the area it comes from, Cajun flavor is spicy, rich, and really, really flavorful! This style of cuisine also borrows from African and Native American styles of cookery. A lot of people don’t know that the typical Cajun food was developed by extremely poor people. Refugees and farmers used what they had readily available to feed large families, which is one reason that rice is a staple in most Cajun dishes. Adding rice to a stew could stretch the food so that there would be plenty to eat for days. Rice is still added to Cajun food, even if it is for the love of the flavor, and not for necessity.
Since Cajun country is so close to the Gulf of Mexico, seafood is a main protein in most dishes. Favorites are crawfish, catfish, crabs, and oysters. Seafood was accessible and available, as there were a lot of fishermen. Cajun dishes almost always consist of three vegetables referred to as the “Holy Trinity:” bell pepper, onions, and celery. Parsley, bay leaves, and scallions are commonly used to season food, as well as garlic and cayenne pepper. Gumbo, a staple dish across all cajun kitchen tables, takes its name from the West African and Caribbean name for okra, which is often another main ingredient in many dishes.
Cajun food, despite its reputation, is not necessarily spicy hot. Cajun spice blends are often richly flavored without heat, although some cajun spices will certainly burn you! At Slap Ya Mama, we carry a selection of Cajun Seasoning and hot sauces ranging from original which has a pleasant moderate heat, to HOT, for folks who like the burn. For ways to use our cajun spices and blends, check out our recipes section. For the families who may not be Cajun through and through, we do have dinner mixes available with the seasonings already added so that you can experience the full flavor of the deep south no matter where you are!
In the late 1800’s, Sicily endured some rough times, causing many natives to leave the Italian Island. Sicilians took ships to the major ports of the United States, with many staying in the country’s second-largest port, New Orleans. Living on an island meant many Sicilians made their living as fishermen, and their diet reflected this. Being close to the sea is one of the reasons so many Sicilians didn’t move further inland.
The Sicilians brought their culture and cuisine with them upon immigration, particularly an Italian-style tomato sauce. Just as she absorbed the French and Spanish before them, New Orleans absorbed the Italians. New Orleanians took the idea of Italian-style tomato sauce and mixed it with roux, the flour-and-grease base for sauces. Over time, the classic “red sauce” became “red gravy,” called that to distinguish it from the “brown gravy” New Orleanians made for generations. To make the distinction between traditional cuisine and the modified style of Italians raised in New Orleans, some restaurants and restaurant reviewers began to refer to the modified style as “Creole-Italian” cooking.
An obvious homegrown Italian contribution to the cuisine of the Crescent City is the muffuletta, a hearty sandwich of salami and provolone topped with a distinctive olive salad. Muffulettas, found at delis across the country, originated at Central Grocery on Decatur St. in the Quarter, a store that is still selling them to this day. Another great example of Creole-Italian fusion is the change that happened to the classic Italian recipe for scampi. Since there were no scampi here, Italian cooks used the plentiful local Gulf shrimp instead. This dish evolved into a new dish: the spicy, buttery and misnamed “barbecue shrimp”. The dish spread to restaurants and homes and is now one of the most famous New Orleans dishes.
Slap Ya Mama is a big fan of the fusion between different cultures and our array of spices and sauces are excellent at bridging that gap. Add Slap Ya Mama Original Blend Seasoning to your favorite Italian dishes to create Creole-Italian fusion in your own kitchen or check out some of the recipes we have created. Let us know some of your favorite Creole-Italian fusion recipes in the comments!
In Louisiana, we love hot sauce. Hot sauce originated in the early 1800s and is believed to have gotten its start in Cajun cooking, and now many selections of all-natural hot sauce come in different levels of spice and flavor. Food experts think that our love for hot sauce is all in our head, saying that spicy food does not actually cause any physical harm to a well-functioning digestive system. Our brain contains chemical molecules and excites the pain receptors on your tongue that are linked to the sensation of temperature. A study from the 80’s demonstrated a connection between enjoyment of roller coasters and a passion for spice and discovered that thrill seekers were more likely to enjoy spicy foods. If you’re a thrill seeker looking for that adrenaline rush in your food, here are five new ways to utilize hot sauce.
Mexican Hot Chocolate
Hot chocolate is the comforting milky and sweet, delicious beverage that we love when the weather gets cooler, but why not spice it up? Add a couple of dashes of hot sauce to your mug to get an extra kick.
Bodybuilders and people looking to shed fat love this combination because of the low-calorie flavor that hot sauce provides. Adding hot sauce to your eggs gives your protein an extra dash of character and will be a staple in your home.
Popcorn is a popular snack with many varieties such as white cheddar, caramel, and the beloved butter flavor. Try adding a drizzle of hot sauce over your popcorn during your next movie night.
If you’ve ever seen the movie Selena, you’ll remember the scene where Jon Seda douses his pizza with hot sauce. Sometimes, the tomato sauce isn’t enough of a kick.
Hummus is delicious as a dip for veggies, pita, crackers and an excellent spread for sandwiches and wraps. Adding some hot sauce in your hummus will give you the kick that you need to amplify your hummus experience.
Here at Slap Ya Mama, we know that different people like different hot sauces and that’s why we have four different types of delicious all-natural hot sauce. Let us know in the comments what foods you love our hot sauce with. We would love to know more!
The Comfort Food of Louisiana
Locals, transplants, and tourists alike know that Louisiana is known for its delicious and unique cuisine with gumbo being one of the most sought out dishes. Fall in Louisiana is a brief transition separating our warm summers from the relatively mild winters. It would be more appropriate to call this time of year gumbo season. Gumbo is a hearty, stew-like soup that is beloved across Louisiana. This dish crosses all class barriers, appearing on the tables of the poor and the wealthy, alike. The ingredients can vary widely from one cook to the next and from one region of the state to another, but two elements are constant: roux, a sauce thickener that is a mix of equal parts flour and fat, and the trinity, a blend of onion, celery, and bell pepper.
To thicken a gumbo, filé (sassafras leaves ground into a powder) or okra can be added. There are no set rules as far as the primary meat, although the most popular versions of gumbo are either chicken and sausage based or seafood based. Gumbo is often cited as an example of the melting-pot nature of Louisiana cooking. The name itself is derived from the West African word for okra, suggesting that gumbo was originally made with okra. Dr. Carl A. Brasseaux of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette found in his research that the first documented references to gumbo appeared around the turn of the 19th century. Gumbo has influence from many different cultures including Choctaw, French, Cajun, Creole, and African. The stew-like soup is viewed as a mixture of all cultures and influences in one pot that everyone is bound to enjoy.
Walker & Sons has formulated an alternative to preparing your favorite Cajun dishes. When it comes to gumbo, many families take a full day out of their schedule to make this dish perfect. In 2017, it’s difficult to find the time to devote to this dish. Slap Ya Mama has perfected our dinner mixes so that you and your family can enjoy easy cajun dishes. In just minutes and with little effort, you can have great tasting, stove cooked gumbo for the entire family. Just add your chicken and sausage or seafood, bring to a boil, let it simmer and serve it.
“To some, the mix of Asian and Cajun may sound bizarre but to people in South Louisiana, it feels like the next perfect step into culinary bliss. “
In the mid-1970’s after the fall of Saigon, a large wave of Vietnamese made their way down to New Orleans. There are a few reasons that made the incoming Vietnamese feel as if this could be the perfect place to call home. The top reasons were the very familiar subtropical climate and the large Catholic population in the New Orleans area. Yes, most of the Vietnamese in South Louisiana are Roman Catholic and were brought here by Catholic Charities. The Vietnamese community now makes up nearly 3% of the total population in New Orleans.
As the Vietnamese started into the local workforce, they began to work in a variety of businesses. Now the majority of the population is in the restaurant and seafood industry. Vietnamese cuisine was heavily influenced by the French from the get-go, so the transition to Cajun was a no-brainer and the wave of fusion cooking has been steadily growing. It seems as if you can’t look for a recipe without seeing some type low-sodium fusion recipe or something titled Casian hot wings. The locals enjoying this fusion already have a taste for seafood and now most of them have grown-up with the large Vietnamese population, so it is a very comfortable mix. Whether it’s a bahn mi, a Vietnamese po-boy, or a steamy bowl of pho seasoned with low sodium Cajun seasoning that you are looking for, you don’t have to go far. The local New Orleans people seem to love this fusion. The Vietnamese have also taken the beloved King Cake and made it a little better with the best king cake of 2017 award going to a Vietnamese bakery in New Orleans East.
If you are interested in trying a fusion recipe do not hesitate to add a Slap Ya Mama product like our fantastic hot sauce or one of our seasoning blends like the white pepper or low-sodium. You will be pleased!
A History as Rich as the Flavor
Cajun Cuisine, known for its spicy notes and heartiness, is a style of cooking that developed in the South after Acadian immigrants fled Canada in the 18th century. It was developed by a population that lived off the land and has adapted over centuries of cultural influences and geographical changes.
The Acadians were the original French settlers in North America and immigrated to Canada in the early 1600s. It was important that these settlers lived off of what was readily available to them: using meat and vegetables cooked in a thick sauce in a single pot. In 1755, they refused to pledge allegiance to the British Crown in 1755 and more than 14,000 Acadians were deported and made their way to Louisiana.
When they settled in the South, these French-Canadian farmers once again adapted their cuisine to the ingredients that were at hand in the region. Their cuisine evolved to include crab, oysters, shrimp, catfish, crawfish and even alligator. Bell Peppers, celery, and onions thrived in Louisiana’s hot and sticky climate and were a staple in their cuisine known as the holy trinity that Louisiana natives use to this day. Louisiana is known as being a melting pot of cultures and these cultures have influenced the cuisine heavily throughout history. As a result, Cajun food was also heavily influenced by African, Native-American, and Caribbean cultures which, in turn, spiced things up a bit. Garlic powder, paprika, black pepper, onion powder, cayenne pepper, oregano, thyme, salt and red pepper flakes were all incorporated in their delicious dishes.
In the present day, these Cajun recipes have been passed down from generation to generation with slight differences in the recipes from family to family. Slap Ya Mama seasoning is a staple in homes across Louisiana for offering the delicious Cajun blend of spices that takes your gumbo to the next level of flavor with several different options: Original Cajun, Hot Cajun, White Pepper Blend, and Low Sodium Cajun Seasoning. If you are looking for the perfect seasoning blend for your Cajun recipes, SLAP your food with our authentic seasoning blends!
Pork Chops with Apple Cider Glazed Brussels Sprouts
Covered in a Slap Ya Mama / Brown Sugar rub, these pork chops are bursting with flavor. Add in apple cider glazed Brussels sprouts and you have an incredibly delicious dinner. Give this recipe a try and watch your family clean their plates with a smile. Enjoy!
- 4 ½ tsp Slap Ya Mama Original Blend Seasoning, divided
- 1/8 tsp cinnamon
- 3 Tbsp light brown sugar, divided
- 2 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped, divided
- 4 bone-in pork chops, center cut, 1” thick
- 3 Tbsp + 2 tsp olive oil, divided
- 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 Gala apple, cut into 1/2” wedges
- 1 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
- cooking oil spray
Preheat oven to 425℉
In a bowl, combine 3 ½ tsp Slap Ya Mama Original Blend Seasoning, cinnamon, 1 Tbsp light brown sugar and 1 tsp rosemary. Mix well. With ½ tsp olive oil, coat each pork chop then rub both sides of the pork chops with the light brown sugar mixture. Set aside.
In another bowl, whisk together apple cider vinegar, remaining light brown sugar, remaining rosemary, remaining Slap Ya Mama Original Blend Seasoning. Slowly whisk in remaining olive oil until blended. In a large bowl, combine ¼ cup of vinegar mixture, apples and Brussel sprouts and toss to coat.
Line a baking sheet with a heavy-duty aluminum foil and lightly grease the foil with cooking spray. Place pork chops in center of baking sheet and place apple mixture around pork chops.
Bake at 425℉ for 14 minutes, turn pork chops and cook for another 12-16 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 140℉ in the thickest part of a pork chop. Remove pork chops to a serving tray and cover with a sheet of foil to keep warm.
Increase heat to broil. Stir apple mixture and spread evenly across baking sheet. Broil apple mixture for 3-5 minutes or until slightly charred. Remove from oven and add apple mixture to remaining vinegar mixture and toss.
Serve pork chops with a side of apples and Brussel sprouts. Enjoy!
Everyone at one point in their life has tried a stuffed pepper. They’re too popular to avoid, but what happens when you want to try something new? Thanks to the extra kick in Cajun spice, there’s a way to enjoy both the classic dish and a different taste. A common recipe like one for slow cooked stuffed peppers is just waiting to become Cajun Seasoned Stuffed Peppers.
Slow Cooked Stuffed Peppers
4 medium sweet red peppers
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
3/4 cup salsa
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/3 cup uncooked converted long grain rice
1-1/4 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Reduced-fat sour cream, optional
This recipe comes, as recipes usually do, from older traditions. Stuffed pepper recipes exist across the world, but the ones made here have a style that is unique to the United States with ground beef, rice, cheese, and spices among the ingredients. Additional elements such as vegetables or cream come from personal preferences but still follow the process of cooking within a large pepper as perfected since the 1890’s. Beyond that, like a regular bell pepper becoming Cajun Stuffed Peppers, the recipe continues to change.
Stuffed peppers can be one of the simpler party dishes based on the recipes which means it can always be improved or made more elaborate. Ingredients can be switched out for dietary needs or just a little extra spice. The addition of Cajun spice, however, provides a new opportunity for an old recipe.
In a common dish, Cajun seasoning can either be added in place of something or as an ingredient on its own. Using the previous slow cooked recipe, a chef could easily substitute chili powder or cumin for a new spice. This not only keeps the hot element of the food but adds a new taste to it as well. Some people find that the flavor can even be preferable as the seasoning gives a sense of vibrancy to an otherwise ordinary recipe. Some even goes as far as to make Cajun stuffed peppers with the seasoning and hot sauce as their own flavors rather than substitutes. There is certainly something about the Cajun taste that always sticks out no matter where it goes.
If you’re looking to change up an old recipe or start a new one, purchase some good Slap Ya Mama Cajun Seasoning for your own stuffed peppers today!
Down at the Big Easy, there’s no such thing as too spicy. Sometimes, the only thing a dish can need is the right seasoning to bring out the delicious flavor. For even a regular recipe, a unique seasoning can highlight all the good qualities of a meal and bring out a new eating experience. Thanks to the availability of Slap Ya Mama seasoning, plenty of recipes can now get an extra kick to their taste.
For many New Orleans dishes such as gumbo, jambalaya, or barbecued shrimp, seasoning can be a vital part of the recipe while others could just use a touch of flavor to an otherwise ordinary meal. For example, an otherwise ordinary homemade recipe for chicken tenders gains a southern flair with the just a few spots of Slap Ya Mama seasoning in the right place.
Slap Ya Mama Chicken Tenders
4 chicken tender breasts
1½ Cups Buttermilk
1 Cup Flour
½ cup Canola Oil
1 Tbsp “Slap Ya Mama Seasoning”
To make the most out of your chicken recipe, the seasoning is best used when mixed with the flour during the process. After marinating the chicken in buttermilk for about four hours, mix one tablespoon of the Slap Ya Mama seasoning with the one cup of flour to coast the tenders. Once the chicken is fully coated with the seasoned flour, deep fry the tenders in a medium heat pan until they are fully cooked. If the flavor is still not to your liking, feel free to add more seasoning to reach that Cajun level. If you’ve ever made homemade chicken tenders before, it may be time to try them with a new degree of flavor.
If you’re looking to add some Slap Ya Mama seasoning to your recipes, visit their website to purchase any one of the Slap Ya Mama products - with ingredients so good you’ll want to “slap ya mama!”
Slap Ya Mama’s Shrimp & Grits
Whether it’s Sunday Brunch or any other part of any other day, Shrimp & Grits is always a good call. Cheesy grits covered in bacon, tasso and jumbo shrimp…you gotta love that.
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup stone ground grits
- 4 Tbsp butter
- 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
- 2 tsp Slap Ya Mama Original Blend Seasoning
- Salt to taste (for grits)
- 6 strips bacon, chopped
- ½ onion, chopped
- ½ bell pepper, chopped
- ½ cup tasso or smoked ham
- 1 tsp Slap Ya Mama White Pepper Blend Seasoning
- 1 pound jumbo shrimp, deveined & peeled, leaving the tail on
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 Tbsp parsley, chopped
- ½ tsp garlic, minced
- green onions, chopped (topping)
In a pot over high heat, add water and grits. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and let simmer until the grits have absorbed the water; about 25 to 30 minutes. Stir often to prevent sticking. Remove from heat and add 3 Tbsp of butter, cheese, salt to taste and Slap Ya Mama Original Blend Seasoning. Mix until cheese has fully melted.
Season shrimp with Slap Ya Mama White Pepper Blend Seasoning and set aside.
In a large pan over medium-high heat, cook bacon. Remove bacon and set aside on a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Reduce heat to medium and in the bacon drippings, add onions, bell peppers and tasso. Sauté until the onions are translucent. Add shrimp and sauté until pink. Add lemon juice, parsley, garlic, bacon and remaining butter. Sauté for about 3 minutes and remove from heat.
Spoon grits into a bowl and generously top with shrimp mixture and green onions. Serve and enjoy.
Cheesy Pasta Bake with Pesto and Meat Sauce
Oh so cheesy and delicious! This easy to make Cheesy Pasta Bake with Pesto and Meat Sauce will be loved by the whole family.
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 jalapeno, diced
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 Tbsp Slap Ya Mama Original Blend Seasoning
- 2 cans diced tomatoes, (14.5oz cans)
- 1 can tomato sauce, (8oz can)
- 1/3 cup pesto
- 10 oz pasta shells
- 1 ¾ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
In a large saucepan over medium heat, add butter and onions; sauté until translucent. Increase heat to medium-high, add ground meat and sauté, making sure to cook meat until it is no longer pink. In the same saucepan, add jalapeños, basil, Slap Ya Mama Original Blend Seasoning, tomatoes and tomato sauce. Mix well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes while stirring occasionally.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
While sauce is simmering, boil pasta according to package instructions but only cook pasta until it’s al dente*. Drain and set aside.
Once sauce has finished simmering, remove from heat and stir in pesto. Add pasta shells to sauce and mix gently until sauce and pasta are well mixed.
In a 2.5 quart, oven-safe dish, add half of pasta and sauce to the bottom of the dish. Layer half of the mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, followed by the remaining pasta and sauce. Top with the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and golden. Top with fresh basil leaves and more Parmesan, serve and enjoy!
*Al Dente: Pasta is cooked to be firm to the bite.