Friday, 1 August 2014



Paella is a staple of the Spanish world and like every other dish has many variations. 

Legend has it that it was in the coastal beaches of  Valencia on the south-east tip of Spain that this dish originated and so is commonly referred to as Paella Valencia. It is the signature dish of this beautiful region of Spain. With a base of olive oil and white rice, this paella is flavoured with Spanish Saffron lots of green vegetables like beans, peas and herbs, and has meats like rabbit and chicken, seafood including shellfish, escargot clams and mussels are often included. Modern day additions are red pepper, onions and calamari as well as fish and scallop. I like to flavour my paella with paprika and lemon to complete the flavours.

It is such a fun dish to create as you can add what you love and omit any flavours that do not titillate your palate. Made in a quantity, it is best served for a family meal and large get togethers. Throwing a Paella party cooking together can make it an exciting event. Enjoy it with a glass of chilled Sangria. It can be an unforgettable experience for all ages!.

My Seafood Paella

Step 1 
creating the base
In a paellera or flat large skillet pan heat 3 tbsp olive oil. 
Add 1 large diced finely fresh onion, and a generous pinch of sugar. Sauté till soft. 

Cube 4 oz/100gms of any smoked meat like pork butt, loin, sausages like chorizo. Let it sauté  and cook through for 7 minutes. Add any other meat being used at this point to help brown all over and cook through.

Add 4 to 6 garlic cloves – crushed finely. Be careful it does not burn as it cooks very quickly
Add 1 tbsp tomato paste, a few chopped chillies – 3 red, 3 green if you like it a tad spicier, 
Mix well. Now add 1 cup of dry white wine, and about 4 cut up small tomatoes and a handful of herbs like basil, tarragon or parsley.

Step 2

Wash 2 cups of rice. Add to the pot and pour 4 cups of good chicken stock, lemon juice from 1 lemon, 1 tsp of saffron – dry roasted and crushed. Cook on a high fire until the liquid is almost gone. Taste stock for enough salt and then add 1 tsp of salt to the rice if needed.

Step 3

Prepare the seafood. Wash, pat dry and then lightly salt each piece and sprinkle it with 1 tbsp of Paprika. Squeeze a fresh lemon all over the seafood. 
Layer the top with this assorted seafood
1 lb shrimp
piece of firm fish cut up in squares; use either halibut, salmon or tilapia
12  sea scallops
20 mussels or clams
for colour and presentation add 1 cup of frozen peas and a few fresh basil leaves.

Tuck it all in with a spoon, cover and steam cook on the lowest flame for 20-25 minutes.
Eat immediately.


If the chicken stock is saltless, the rice will be tasteless. Add salt to the rice accordingly. There is special paella rice available, however use the basmati if you cannot get it locally.

Use crab legs that are cracked, lobster tails in pieces or even  fresh calamari in rings if you wish. Buy the fresh seafood for best results. 

If you prefer to add  8 small pieces of chicken thighs to this dish omit the fish and scallops. You can also add 6 small pieces of rabbit if you prefer.You must brown the meat in Step 1 with the Chorizo or other meats.

One small red bell pepper, cut into pieces gives it colour texture and flavour if you wish omit the 3 red chillies and one small green capsicum if you wish to omit the  3 green chillies.

Cut  fine green beans can be substituted for green peas.

Saffron is best stored in the fridge. It becomes crisp and you can crush it easily with the back of a teaspoon without having to dry roast it.

For more recipes from my collection click for my e-cookbook available now.

Niloufer's Kitchen: Spanish Tapas
Niloufer's Kitchen:Moroccan
Niloufer's Kitchen:Winter 

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