Looking for a traditional Spanish recipe? Without doubt, the
best-known is going to be the prodigious paella ... that tasty,
adaptable, gregarious dish famed throughout Spain and the World.
And, what an impressive choice of recipes exist for a pleasurable
paella: seafood, chicken, rabbit ... or a mixture of all three!
Perhaps you are non-meat eating ... well, just opt for one of the
several vegetarian paella recipes. Bit of a health fanatic?
Then substitute white rice for whole-grain rice or wild rice.
Got a large family and not much money to feed them on? Use
plenty of rice and imagination along with a tasty stock, plus
whatever you can find in the cupboard! I have certainly enjoyed
many paellas where there have been more bones/shells than meat/
seafood! And, very tasty they have been too, the richness of
the company more than compensating for any paucity in the
So ... how do you go about making the perfect paella? First of
all, you need to choose your rice. The short-grained rice from
Valencia - where most Spanish rice originates - is fine for
making paellas. However, the "bomba" rice grown in the
neighboring region of Murcia, is the "king" of paella rice: again,
short-grained, it has the ability to absorb the stock whilst
Another "must" is to use saffron ("azafr?n") to create the gentle,
yellow color for which this delectable dish is renowned. Yes, it
is possible to buy cheaper, artificial colorings but ... go for
the traditional - it will bestow a wonderful aroma and unique
Many Spaniards swear a perfect paella can only be achieved when
using a tasty, home-made stock. Whatever you decide, allow at
least double the amount of liquid to rice. If, during cooking,
the dish becomes a little dry, just add a dash more water or
Another tip I have been told, on more than one occasion, is to
gently fry the rice for a few minutes before adding the stock,
ensuring that it is well-coated in oil. I think all Spaniards
would agree that, once cooked, it is best to leave your paella to
stand for a good five minutes before serving.
Perhaps the most important ingrediant for making that perfect
paella, is to use lashings and lashings of love whilst preparing
it - for surely, that is something we can all afford - and to
enjoy to the full the marvellous company of those who will share
it with you.
I shall now have to choose a paella recipe to offer you as an
example! I think I will opt for a seafood paella, typical of the
region of Valencia, where I live. The ingrediants are for a
hearty four servings. If you are not a hefty eater, or on a diet,
then reduce the amount of rice/stock slightly.
Paella Valenciana - Paella From Valencia
- 4 cups rice.
- 8 cups fish stock.
- 8 king-sized prawns/langoustines.
- 8 mussels.
- 200 gr shrimps.
- 200 gr peas (fresh or frozen).
- 2 tomatoes, skinned and chopped.
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced.
- 3 strands saffron, crumbled.
- Olive oil for frying.
1. Saut? garlic in a paella-type pan.
2. Add tomatoes, peas, shrimps and saffron.
3. Cook for a few minutes.
4. Add rice and stock.
5. Simmer for approximately 20 minutes.
6. Decorate with prawns and mussels.
7. Cover paella with a lid.
8. Poach the seafood for a few minutes.
9. Decorate paella with lemon quarters.
Linda Plummer is English, and has lived on the Costa Blanca in
Spain for 20 years. She is webmistress of the information-
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