Tips for making an authentic paella, Spanish style!

It is a daunting task to make an authentic paella using traditional and intimidating ingredients. The dish originated in Valencia, Spain. It is made and served by the Spanish people at home as a weekly communal lunch for their family and friends. There are some important things that you should know about making authentic paella.

Paella is the name of a large pan and a Spanish dish. It is a rich dish and is prepared in the eponymous pan. The special pan is used for making the dish to give a unique texture to the dish. In a real Spanish paella, the liquid is absorbed completely when the rice is al dente. You can use different ingredients for making paella such as traditional rabbit and snails with a variety of seafood. The three most important ingredients used for making the dish are:

  • Saffron
  • Paprika
  • Tomato

What do you need for making Paella?

You will need the following:

  • Paella: It is a large, shallow, two-handled pan that ensures even cooking. The pan has a thin bottom, which means it heats up quickly. The pan has a large surface area so that the cooking liquid evaporates easily to get the desired texture.
  • A fire: You will need a source of heat. It should be wide enough to accommodate the large pan.

The ingredients used for making Paella

  • Rice: The most important ingredient used for making paella is rice. Take short or medium-grain rice. Short grain rice can absorb the water quickly.
  • Sofrito: It is used to give the flavor base to the paella. It contains green or red peppers, olive oil, garlic, and tomatoes.
  • Herbs and spices: Saffron is used to add color and flavor to the dish.

Pimenton: It is smoked sweet Spanish paprika.

Rosemary: It is used to give traditional flavor to the dish. It is used since snails were used         in Valencian paella. The snails were fed rosemary many days before being cooked.

  • Stock or broth: You can use chicken stock for making meat based paellas and fish stock for seafood paella.
  • Seafood: You can use mussels, shrimp, prawns, crayfish, and other popular seafood available in the market.
  • Meat: Traditionally rabbit, chicken, and snails are the most popular and traditional paella meats, but pork and Spanish chorizo have also become popular.
  • Vegetables: Traditional paella consists of three types of local beans- string beans, lima bean, and white bean. You can also add artichoke. You can add all types of vegetables.

The process of making authentic paella

  • Toast the rice in the pan with the tomato and olive oil for a few minutes before adding the stock. It will give extra flavor to the paella.
  • To give a unique golden color to your dish, soak the saffron threads in the stock for 5 minutes before cooking.
  • When adding the stock to your paella, it should be hot. Keep the temperature consistent when cooking. Heat the stock on low heat.
  • Stir and mix the rice, sofrito base and stock for a few minutes before leaving it to settle. It will form a nice crust on the bottom called socrat.