Halal Jambalaya

Most recipes from my home land of New Orleans include pork (or alcohol). It is a sad reality that I have to face everyday. I thought about organizing a marathon to raise awareness of this travesty, but no one I know wants to run or even walk.

Alas, I have dried my tears and become a creative cook because I refuse to let a little pork get in the way of destroying the traditional dishes of my people.

One of my favorite home town dishes is jambalaya (JUM-bah-LIE-yah). It is a twist on Spanish paella with French and Caribbean spices.

halal jambalaya

Test kitchen-ed and written by Theresa Corbin

In jambalaya, andouille (ANN-do-ee) sausage usually features in the recipe. And if not that spicy, pork sausage, then some other form of ham is mixed in. But it shouldn’t be a big surprise to know that you can just leave the pork products out and !viola! you have a halal jambalaya recipe.

It really is that easy. And you really don’t miss it. You can add any other kind of meat that you want. I added chicken, but shrimp, crab, beef sausage, or all of the above, work just as well.

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My Halal Kitchen: A Review

Reviewed by Theresa Corbin

I have been a fan girl of the website for some time. I might need a restraining order from the Pinterest page. So when I heard there was a book coming out, Oh My God, y’all, I was so excited. 

My Halal Kitchen review

If you are not familiar with the phenomenon that is Yvonne Maffei and her website, check it out. She did a podcast right here on islamwich not too long ago. Check that out too.

Yvonne’s website is a resource of all things halal (permissible), including tips, recipes, halal substitutes, a blog, and so much more. And with a following of 1.2 + million people on Facebook alone, it is a phenomenon not to be missed. 

The book, My Halal Kitchen by the same genius mind who created the website by the same name, is to me and many other Muslim American foodies, the answer to a prayer in an American gastronomic scene that is wrapped in bacon and battered with beer (i.e. mostly haram).

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Halalified Southern-Style Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows

Written and Test-Kitchened by  Stephanie Siam

Being from the Southern United States, I grew up on certain staples that can be difficult to replace after converting to Islam: lots of processed junk food, questionable meat products and, of course, Lucky Charms. While my heart and gut are thankful for my (slightly) healthier diet now, it’s often hard to please my nostalgic taste buds when it comes to traditional family favorites.

halal marshmallow sweet potato casserole


Moving to the Middle East made it even trickier to reproduce these dishes due to lack of necessary ingredients. Sure, I can find halal items easily, but now I have limited access to brands I’ve grown up on.

Of course, the times when I get most foodly-sentimental are when I a) see a long-loved favorite in the grocery store that imports American items and b) around Thanksgiving. Sure, lots of expats (Americans living abroad) celebrate Thanksgiving over here in Oman.

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Halal Lucky Charms and the Cereal Experiment

Halaly Charms

Written and Test Kitchen-ed by Theresa Corbin

Yes! I did. I discovered a Lucky Charms marshmallow recipe. But it didn’t work, like AT ALL. Then I found another. And that was an even worse disaster. (for all of those who are confused, Lucky Charms marshmallows have pork gelatin in them. Don’t know what halal is? It’s all good. Just click here.)

But after a few very messy attempts and a lot of stubbornness that I will call patience, I reverse engineered my very own recipe of the illusive Lucky Charms marshmallow– and I call it HALALY CHARMS!! And it is glorious!

What follows is a gangsta recipe that is not for the faint of heart. It is for the OG (Original Gangsta Grandma).

But first let me ramble on, as most food bloggers do, about my love affair with the food item in question. Let me tell you a little tale. Name has been changed to protect the guilty.

Once upon a time, there was a little girl name Eresa-Tay who loved sweets and cereal. When she stumbles upon a cereal that also had candy it in, it almost blow her mind straight out of her head.

That cereal was Lucky Charms. Eresa-Tay loved the cereal so much that she picked all the marshmallows out of the box so that she could have a good cereal to marshmallow ratio. Until one day, her wise mother told her to stop doing that “for other children in the castle aren’t able to enjoy marshmallows in their own cereal when you eat them all”.

Eresa-Tay agreed not to eat all the marshmallows, but secretly stole them in the dark of the pantry. Her mother told her one last time not to steal extra marshmallows out of the box or she would stop buying Lucky Charms. Eresa-Tay thought she could call her mother’s bluff and so she continued to fly too close to the sun. She got burnt!

Eresa-Tay’s mother made good on her promise, and never more in her castle were charming luckies brought. And so Eresa-Tay was deprived of the glorious cereal/candy goodness for many, many moons.

Then Eresa-Tay converted to Islam and learned that there was pork in the marshmallows of her favorite and long missed cereal. No more Lucky Charms for Eresa-Tay, or so she thought.

One bright spring day, Eresa-Tay had had enough. She knew how to make marshmallows, and she had the stubbornness of a mule. So the put her KitchenAid to work and came out of a week long process of failure after failure a little worse for the wear having created Halaly Charms.

Ok, here goes. My recipe for Halaly Charms, complete with pictures and bloopers. Enjoy!!!

Start with the ingredients gathering

ingredientsThis recipe resembles my halal peeps recipe. Check that out here.

You will need:

1 box Cheerios (I choose plain-not honey nut-because the marshmallows already add a lot of sweetness. But any plain cereal you like will work. And for gluten free, choose your favorite gluten free cereal because the marshmallow recipe is already gluten free. )

 3 tbs of unflavored gelatin (I got beef gelatin here. Or you can get fish gelatin here).

1 cup ice cold water (divided in half)

1 cup light corn syrup

1-1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tbs imitation vanilla extract (without alcohol-I got mine at dollar general)

A few drops of your favorite color food coloring (*if you want more than one color, then you will have to divided the marshmallow after the fluffing phase. see below).

1-1/3 cups, plus one tbs, cornstarch (the extra tbs is to mix with powdered sugar and dust the pan)

1-1/3 cups, plus one tbs, powdered (confectioner’s) sugar (see above) are you noticing a trend? Basically get all the different kinds of sugar you can find and get to work getting diabetes. j/j

Nonstick spray

How to mix it up:

1- Place the gelatin into the bowl of a stand mixer along with 1/2 cup of the water. If you have a KitchenAid mixer, have the whisk attachment standing by. If you don’t have a KitchenAid, mix as you would mix egg whites to create firm peaks.

mixer with jelly

2- In a small saucepan combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt. Place over medium high heat, cover, and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes.

3. Uncover, clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F, approximately 7 to 8 minutes. I used a meat thermometer- and previously no thermometer- and 7 mins was the perfect time.

4. Once the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from the heat.

heating up

5. Turn the mixer on low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture (be CAREFUL!).

pouring hot sugar

6. Once you have added all of the syrup, increase the speed to high. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and fluffy. This takes about 10  minutes.

getting fluffy

7. Add the vanilla during the last minute of whipping and then add the food coloring. *If you want more than one color, this is where you divide the marshmallow fluff depending on how many colors you want. And remember each color will need its own pan for cooling and drying.

**If you change your mind about wanting to make Halay Charms at this juncture, you can follow this link here and make halal peeps instead!!

8. Once you have fluffed (and divided if you desire many colors), attach dough hook (if you have a KitchenAid mixer) or use a spatula coated with nonstick spray to mix in 1-1/3 cups of powdered sugar and 1-1/3 cups cornstarch, making sure it is sifted. NO lumps allowed.


9. Mix until the marshmallow fluff comes together to form a loose ball and is tacky but not super sticky to the touch.

10. Prepare your pan(s) one for each color. Combine a tbs each of powdered sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Lightly spray a 13 by 9-inch metal baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Add the powdered sugar and cornstarch mixture and move around to completely coat the bottom and sides of the pan.

Coating the pan(s) with powdered sugar and cornstarch is important. Without it, the marshmallow fluff will be greasy from the non-stick spray and have a hard time drying.

11. Spray a spatula with non-stick spray and spread your marshmallow-y goo evenly in the pan(s) and let it sit for 2 hours, or until completely cool.

Now you have one big, thick marshmallow. But you need crunchy, dried marshmallows if you want Lucky Charms style marshmallows.

How to dry your marshmallow

If you have a dehydrator, use it.

But for the rest of us who do not and refuse to buy appliances that only serve one function, follow these instructions (reads, I am cheap. the KitchenAid wouldn’t even be in my possession if it weren’t inherited from my mother).

1. Preheat your oven to the lowest setting (mine went down to 170 degrees Fahrenheit). Once the oven is heated, turn it off. Yes, turn off the heat. You don’t want to melt your marshmallow. You just want the dry, warm air of the oven to extract any moisture.

2. Put your pan(s) in the oven with the light on and let it set for 1-2 hours.

3. Then let your pan(s) set outside the oven for 1-2 hours.

4. Repeat steps 1-3 until you have reached desired dryness and crunch in your mallow. For me it took 3 of these cycles and then I left it in the oven (with the heat off and the light on) overnight for good measure. The thinner your marshmallow is in the pan, i.e. if you used more pans for more colors, the quicker it will dry.

5. Spray a pizza cutter or sharp knife with non-stick spray and cut into small squares. If you have tiny cookie cutters you want to use, go right ahead. I had an edible marker I got in a cookie making kit. So I drew shapes on some of the Halaly Charms.

6. Pour the biggest bowl of cereal (I used unsweetened Cheerios), mix in tons of Halaly Charms (trademark Corbin 2015), and kick back, relax, and watch some cartoons with your halal cereal.

big bowl


Mess Collage

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Halal New Orleans Recipe Round Up

Halal New Orleans Recipe Round Up

Written by Theresa Corbin

Since Ramadan is about a week away, it only seems fitting to talk about food. What follows are from articles I have written for Aquila Style -a magazine for Modern Muslim Living- and a previous islamich post.  SOOoooo Yes, I am totally about to quote myself …

The southern USA has a rich tradition of unique cuisine.

This culinary uniqueness reaches a fever pitch in the port of New Orleans, Louisiana. It is as if New Orleanians decided to represent their melting pot of different cultures in a literal cooking pot […] New Orleans is a fantastic destination for any hungry traveler or foodie looking for fanciful fare.

However, as is the case with most southern cuisine, the New Orleans food experience can be a gastronomic “landmine” for Muslims.

Most recipes either use parts of the pig or have some pork added for “flavour”. And when you do find a dish that looks pork-free, you will often find that there is alcohol added.

As a convert living in southern USA, who grew up on New Orleans food, I have had to tweak my mother’s recipes into home cooking the halal way. From gumbo minus the ham hock stock to bread pudding without the rum drizzle, New Orleans and American southern food doesn’t have to be passed up because of its haram components.

New Orleans is famous for its gumbo

halal gumbo

[…]Unfortunately for the Muslim who takes a trip to New Orleans to try this stew, gumbo is almost always made with pork. Whether it is in the stock, a ham bone thrown into the roux for flavor, or pork sausage as one of the meats added to the stew, pork is almost always an ingredient in gumbo.

But there is no reason why Muslims should miss out of this robust multi-ethnic dish. Gumbo doesn’t need pork – shrimp, chicken, crab, or even fish can replace that part of any gumbo.

Click here for the recipe.


 New Orleans BBQ Shrimp


BBQ Shrimp (deceptively named because it has nothing to do with barbecue sauce or grilling) is usually cooked with beer. I did a little research and some creative cooking, and discovered that the recipe could be adjusted for the halal palate.

Click here for the recipe.


 The All Important Crawfish Boil


Even though the crawfish boil usually entails some un-halal aspects, those can easily be switched out for their halal counterparts. So, if you have access to crawfish, even if it isn’t live or from the Gulf of Mexico, you need to think about having a boil. You will first thank Allah, then thank me.

Click here for the recipe.

 Bon Appetit!

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