“ Brand: Tesco / Type: Other Ready Meals „
Jambalaya is a rice-based dish from the Southern States of the USA, that as I understand it, originated as a means of bringing together a variety of 'left-overs' such as odds and ends of already-cooked meats, poultry and sea-food as well as fresh vegetables into a single dish. From this not-terribly-auspicious beginning it has rightly become a famous and delicious classic. Properly prepared Jambalaya cooks very slowly, almost like a risotto, so that the rice absorbs various fats, flavours and spices from the vegetables and meats with which it is cooked. The end result is a semi-soupy, robustly-spiced rice dish with huge amounts of interest in it.
Sad to say, Tesco own-brand Jambalaya is nothing at all like what this dish should be like. The own-brand stuff costs £3 for 450g, which is a suggested portion for two people. It is 33% rice, and does also contain chicken, smoked bacon, chorizo sausage, king prawn and a whole host of herbs, spices and other flavourings - I counted 15 odd flavouring ingredients listed on the packet, ranging from such mundane constituents as parsley and garlic, to the more esoteric ingredients, for example hickory smoke flavour and paprika extract . Almost all of these diverse ingredients have been completely wasted in the end product however, because what you get with Tesco Jambalaya is pretty much exactly like a bowl of cooked rice that's had a tin of Italian chopped plum tomatoes dumped over it. Hot, salty, plum tomatoes are all you can taste in the finished dish; even the rice is reduced to a textural ingredient only. I saw no sign of the 8% chorizo sausage that purportedly went into the Tesco Jambalaya; presumably it had disintegrated. There was the odd chunk of cooked chicken (12%), and I found occasional shrunken king prawns while I was eating it though these tasted of nothing at all: while the prawns were obvious on the surface of the rice before the Jambalaya went in the microwave, after cooking they sort of submerged and lost most of their mass so that afterwards they were barely even noticeable in the finished dish.
The only good thing about the Jambalaya was that it cooked in the circular black plastic dish that it came in very conveniently in the microwave in four to six minutes straight out of the fridge (two minutes on high heat, stir, another two minutes blasting with microwaves and then two minutes to stand before serving). And as I ate what I could eat of it directly out of the bowl it came in, there was no washing up - apart from the spoon I used to stir / eat it with - afterwards either.
There are 650 calories per packet, so somewhat over 300 calories per serving. The product is moderately high in fat (with 6g per 100g) and salt. You would be well advised to spend your £3 on almost anything else.