Tuesday, 20 May 2014

For the Love of Spice

I love spicy food. Not always, mind, but when I get a craving for it – look out! I don’t care for just hot because there is no flavour. There is a difference between spicy and hot. I like spicy food to be flavourful – or as my niece calls it “Tasty.” The flavours have to melt on my tongue mingled with heat and little bit of sting. Now that is spicy food! Ooh la la!

When I get a craving for spicy food, I usually get it in the late afternoon on my way home from work as I am thinking of what to make for dinner if I haven’t made menus for the week. My go to spicy dish is Cajun chicken Caesar salad. It is easy and quick to make and the perfect combo with the Caesar dressing balancing out the heat of the spice on the chicken. I used to use a store bought Cajun spice mix, but I found that it was too salty and I would be downing several glasses of water throughout the evening after dinner. I looked endlessly for a low sodium alternative locally and also during my travels. On a trip to New Orleans twelve years ago I did find a very tasty Cajun spice mix, but alas, it was still a little too salty for my taste.

I was mentioning it to my mother one day and she said, “Why don’t you just make your own Cajun spice mix?” Hmmm. Why not? A light bulb went off and I was in the kitchen experimenting with different spices in the following weeks and searched the Internet for a low sodium/salt spicy/tasty version. In the end, I found an awesome combo of spices on the Canadian Living website that had very little salt:

1/4 cup paprika
1/4 cup dried parsley
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

You can add other spices or adjust the amounts above depending on what you like. I like to add more cayenne pepper and a little less parsley. Adjust according to your own flavour favourites or taste.

Here are a few pics of making my Cajun chicken Caesar salad for dinner tonight.

**Post Script:** Add the spice mix after you finish cooking your chicken/protein as this will prevent the spices from burning or going bitter when cooked too long.

All the spices before mixing.


Just put the chicken in a hot pan with a little oil.

Chicken cooking just before adding spice.

Romaine prepped and ready.

The final product.

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