You are on page 1of 4


You are an amateur when it comes to cooking, and the other night you were at a
restaurant with your friends and you ordered paella. Now, you are wondering, what
is actually paella, where does it come from, can I try to make paella?
Is it that difficult to make such dish as paella? When you see it in the restaurant, it is
served in such a way that it looks like a piece of art, and when you taste it, you feel
butterflies in your stomach. You have the impression of being in paradise.
Before we come to the question of making a paella, lets start with the beginning of
the story named 'Paella'.
Among most popular and known global dishes, but the exact definition of what
paella consists would be impossible even for the best world chefs. As many the
chefs, as many kinds of paella.
The sole origin of paella is somewhat humble, and the history of Spain can help you
understand all the varieties of paella. The home of paella is certainly Valencia, one
of the largest natural ports of Mediterranean Sea.
Valencia was an important rice-producing area in Europe ever since rice was first
brought to Spain, over 1200 years ago, when the Moors first introduced rice to
Spanish people. Spanish word for rice arroz has Arabic origin, and not Latin.
Paella is an internationally known dish that originates from Spain, to be more
specific, from the province named Valencia. The name of this dish first appeared in
the 19th century. At first, paella was a humble dish, made for farmers when they are
out in the fields; and as such, it was cooked over fire with all the other ingredients
that could be found in the fields. Traditionally, paella was eaten straight from the
pan, paellero, using wooden spoons.
Paella, aka Valencian rice became available for more and more people and the
recipe for paella started adapting as new generations were arriving. Up until the
present days, true Paella Valenciana has no seafood, but chicken or rabbit and snails
with beans.
The word itself origins from the name of the pan la paella, from old Valencian
language (similar t Catalan), and the roots are most likely from Latin patella
meaning pan.
However, if you are more romantic, then this theory will more suit you and your
romantic soul: a man, for his fiance, first prepared the dish and the word comes
from para ella, meaning for her. Maybe this has something to do with the truth,
since men traditionally prepare paella, just as BBQ is in the USA.
According to many interpretations, the name of paella comes from the name of the

specific type of tray in which this delicious meal is prepared.

The main component of paella is rice, to which you can add any other flavormatching ingredient. The rice cultivated in Spain has medium to short grains, which
easily swells and thus easily absorbs the flavors in which it is being cooked. The
traditional Spanish paella is cooked on an open fire with seafood, meat, or
Paella is a culinary symphony-each ingredient has its own specific flavor, just as
each instrument gives its own unique sound to the symphony. They all blend in a
dish and they awake all the senses, they blend in a unique mixture of colors, flavors,
and fragrances.
If you want to prepare paella, you must follow three simple rules:

1. Cooking on the open fire, because this is the best way to prepare paella.
2. When preparing paella use a flat circular steel pan with handles.
3. Use round rice grains, and if this is not available, then it would be good to use
medium grains.
It is often said that there are as many types of paella as many types of cooks. You
can put whatever you want in your paella, and one very important ingredient that
mustn't be forgotten is saffron-the spice that gives the rice a beautiful golden color.
As far as I'm concerned, paella is 'Spanish rice in Chinese way'. Wonder why?
Because of the very preparation method, which is typical for Chinese dish- chop all
the ingredients, put it in a pan, and cook.
Don't worry if you don't have the original paellero (the pan in which traditional
paella is prepared). You can use a wider pan (e.g. 32 cm diameter), and use a gas
stove, so that you have fire. Believe me; the dish will be perfect once you prepare
Rice should be in direct contact with the bottom of the pan, so that the caramelized,
golden crust is made- socarrat. Cooking over an open fire creates this socarradu,
the most delicious part of paella. They say that no paella is paella without it.
Sofrito is a saut of aromatic vegetables, and it forms the basis of the paella taste.
You get saut by frying the vegetables until they become soft, and the juice
becomes thick. You can use different kinds of sofrito, depending on the ingredients.
The classic Valencian sofrito consists of garlic, tomatoes, paprika, peas, and green
beans. The longer you cook your sofrito, the better. The best would be to let
tomatoes and red onions caramelize slightly (but don't burn them). This will take
about twenty minutes of cooking and stirring, but it is totally worth it.

As paella loses water while it's cooked, you must add water to it. The best thing is
to add chicken bouillon, or you can add fish soup, or even vegetable soup.
In the modern style paella, you can add whatever you want: meat, vegetables,
seafood, and any vegetables.
There are three widely known types of paella:

1. Valencian paella (paella Valenciana) - it contains rice, green vegetables, meat

(chicken, rabbit, duck), snails, peas and spices.

2. Seafood paella (paella de Marisco)- the seafood paella has almost all the
ingredients as the Valencian paella, but the difference is that we use seafood
and fish instead of meat

3. Mixed paella (paella mixta) - the mixed paella is the combination of meat,
seafood and vegetables.
Most cooks don't agree which spices are best for paella, but they all agree on one
thing, paella without saffron is not a paella. The rice will get the beautiful golden
color and distinctive flavor. You will only put a small amount of saffron in the dish,
first because it will color your dish powerfully, and secondly, it is as expensive as
Now, that you have read how and what it takes to prepare paella, and you are still
confused and unsure whether you can make it or not, let me introduce you to a
recipe and then you will definitely see that making a good paella is not that hard as
it may sound to you right now.
The ingredient you will need:

500 gr rice

mussels (15 pieces, open and free)

250 gr peas and carrots


150 gr peeled tomatoes


1 red paprika

1 yellow paprika

125 ml olive oil

5 gr saffron

1 kg chicken (cut into small pieces)

150 gr pork leg (cut into small cubes)

150 gr squid

150 gr cleaned prawns

a bit of pancetta

good chicken bouillon

Use a half of your olive oil to fry the chicken, let it be fried from all sides. Take out
the chicken and in the same oil fry the pork. You can even add a bit of pancetta if
you want. Take all of this out of the pan and put on a warm place.
Now take the other half of the olive oil to fry the vegetables and the seafood, adding
it one by one, in the following order: tomatoes, paprika, garlic, parsley, peas,
carrots, squid, prawns, mussels. When finished, put it on the warm place also.
Put the pork back in the pan, add rice, and fry it a little bit. Pour the boiling bouillon
(on one cup of rice, put 2 cups of bouillon), add saffron (dissolve it in just a bit of
warm water), then stir, and allow it to boil. Add all the other ingredients, and mix it
once. When the liquid disappears, your paella is ready!
You see, even an amateur can make some good paella, and don't worry, you can't
go wrong, just use all the ingredients you have and make your own recipe!