Louisiana is a state that prides itself on its bayou, Mardi Gras festival, and most importantly, its food. It even has its own name: Cajun food. Cajun food is wildly popular among the natives of Louisiana, but it has taken over the entire country by storm as well. The key to good Cajun food is the spicier, the better. Another word for Cajun food is Creole food. Either one will do, but most people prefer Cajun. In order to understand the secrets of Cajun food, one must know what ingredients are essential. Roux is probably the number one most used element in this hot and spicy cooking. Roux is used to make all kinds of dishes from etouffee to sauces and especially for gumbo. Roux is a combination of flour and fat, and depending upon the recipe, there are different degrees from light all the way up to dark. This is determined by the ratio of the flour to fat used to make the roux.
The crawfish is the main attraction when it comes to Cajun food. This small shellfish looks like a miniature lobster and is found in small creeks and streams. About ten million pounds of crawfish are consumed in Louisiana alone! These little animals can be steamed and served whole, or used in soups or rice dishes. Since spices are essential in Cajun cooking, sausages that include these spices are vital and each type of sausage has its own name. Andouille, bodin, chaurice, and tasso are all different names for different types of Cajun sausages. Gumbo is definitely Cajun food’s signature dish. Gumbo is a thick soup combining roux, shrimp, catfish, oysters, cayenne pepper, pork sausage, tomato paste, and a host of other ingredients to meld into a wild and bold entrée. No matter what hot and spicy dish you choose, Cajun food is a wonderful way to get a taste of this exciting region of the country.