Spice Mix: Cajun or Creole?

Cajun or Creole? by Don R

bowl of jambalaya

Jambalaya is basic to Cajun and Creole cuisine. There are many variations but the spices are fairly standard.

Is there a difference between Cajun and Creole cuisine? The short answer is YES if you are familiar with  Louisiana cooking or culture. Culturally, the Cajun ancestors migrated to Louisiana from  Eastern Canada during the French and English war. Creole describes people who migrated to the New Orleans area from Spain, France and the Caribbean Islands. Just as their history differs, their food uses different flavors.

If you are interested in cooking stew with crayfish or sausage in a pot with lots of cayenne pepper, you would use a Cajun spice mix utilizing the holy trinity: bell pepper, onion, and celery. Spices are stronger to complement wild game and hearty sausages.

On the other hand, Creole cuisine uses the holy trinity but exhibits a lighter flavor to complement milder tasting rice and soup dishes using shrimp, fish and clams.

Here is a “mild” Creole spice mix recipe. If you want to bolster the hotness, add cayenne pepper, more paprika,  and deli mustard.

Creole spice mix
Yields 1
Expect a spicy hot flavor with this recipe. To reduce hotness, use less cayenne pepper or replace with a milder red pepper.
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Ingredients
  1. 2 T dried oregano leaves
  2. 2 T dried basil (sweet)
  3. 1 T dried thyme leaves
  4. 4 T paprika (to taste)
  5. 2 T onion powder
  6. 2 T garlic powder
  7. 1 T black pepper
  8. 1 T white pepper
  9. 1 T cayenne pepper (to taste)
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients and store ini a tightly sealed glass container.
Notes
  1. Some recipes call for chopped parsley in place of oregano.
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About Don R

Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. Retired teacher. Multiple successful business endeavors including screen printing / sporting goods business, executive director of a Boys & Girls Club, commercial fishing, and co-founding an alternative high school. Interests include family, hiking, cooking, Parkinson's research and developing an educational cooking program.