Spanish Paella Rice are rice prepared in a special pan called Paella . Paella is a Valencian word which refers to all pans in Valencian language .
Paella is usually made with Bomba rice or short grain rice, but Basmati rice works well too or you could even use Arborio. I used Bomba rice which I picked on my trip to London . The rice is short grained with a pearly white color and a uniform consistency. Bomba rice has its ability to absorb two or three times its volume in water without bursting. As a result, more water is needed to cook Bomba than other similar varieties, and the grains of rice tend to hold their structure well after cooking. Incidentally Bomba is one of the most expensive varieties of rice from Spain.
According to tradition in Valencia, paella is cooked over an open fire, fueled by orange and pine branches along with pine cones. This produces an aromatic smoke which infuses the paella. Obviously I couldn’t follow the open fire method and cooked on our regular gas stove , yet the Paella turned out awesome .
Paella is cooked in a special shallow pan , with handles on both sides . I did not have any such pan so decided to cook in my Jalebi kadahi . Jalebi kadahi is a shallow pan with handles on either side . The shape differs but it works well . The idea is to cook rice in one single layer and not stirring it at all . The pan is put directly on the table to serve and the guests eat from the pan itself .
When it comes to seasoning one can season a Paella with either turmeric or saffron . I prefer saffron as it not only gives it a beautiful color but lends a wonderful aroma too . Smoked paprika gives a amazing flavor to the rice so please do not substitute it .
After cooking paella, there is usually a layer of toasted rice at the bottom of the pan, called socarrat . This is considered a delicacy among connoisseurs and is essential to a good paella. The toasted rice develops on its own if the paella is cooked over a burner or open fire. I remember when we had toasted rice in our Sindhi rice recipes , it was the most sought after .
I cooked Thai Coconut Curry Rice and Spanish Paella back to back , so there was a comparison between the two . I preferred the Thai but hubby preferred the Spanish . How about you cooking both and letting me know which ones you like better ?
1 onion , roughly chopped
1/2 red capsicum , cubed
1/2 green capsicum , cubed
1/2 yellow capsicum , cubed
1 zucchini , chopped
1/2 cup beans
1/2 cup fresh green peas
1/2 cup chickpeas
5-6 cloves garlic , chopped
1 cup tomato purée
1/2 tsp saffron
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp red chilly flakes
1 cube seasoning
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
11/2 cups Spanish rice
In a small bowl, add the saffron threads and 3 tablespoons warm water, let set 10 minutes to steep. Using a mini mortar pestle grind the saffron .
Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large wide flat-bottomed pan or paella pan.
Add onions and bell peppers, cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
Add garlic, green beans, tomato purée,smoked paprika, red pepper flakes and cook another 3 – 5 minutes stirring frequently.
Add the rice, water , seasoning cube , saffron and salt.
Gently move the vegetables around so the rice falls to the bottom of the pan .
Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium or medium-low and cook at a continuous gentle boil, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
Do not stir the rice, one can use a wooden spoon to give gentle stirs .
If liquids seem to boil off too quickly, add a little extra warm water/stock.
After 15 minutes of cooking, scatter the peas and chickpeas on top.
Once the water has almost absorbed turn off heat and bring down the pan , cover with a foil and then with a kitchen towel for about 10 minutes .
This will allow the rice to absorb any remaining liquid as well as steam the peas. Once done, lightly fluff the rice and serve.
Serve garnished with chopped parsley and lemon wedges .
Enjoy straight from the pan or serve on a platter .
Here is what I have been posting under the Biryani, Pulao, Khichadi Festival –
Day 1 How to cook Rice with Absorption Method
Day 2 How to cook Perfect Rice for Biryani
Day 3 How to cook Rice in a Pressure Cooker
Day 4 How to cook Rice in a Microwave
Day 5 How to cook Rice in a Rice Cooker
Day 6 How to cook Basic Khichadi
Day 7 Undhiyu Biryani
Day 8 Banarasi Tandoori Biryani
Day 9 Bharwan Mirch ki Biryani
Day 10 Sindhi Thooma wara Chawara
Day 11 Achaari Panneer Pulao
Day 12 Nuts Pulao
Day 13 Mumbai Tawa Khichadi
Day 14 Vegetable Layered Khichadi
Day 15 Khichadi Bowl
Day 16 Stuffed Rice
Day 17 Kulhad wale Rajma Chawal
Day 18 Rice and Curry in Banana Leaf Packets
Day 19 Cheesy Baked Rice with Vegetables
Day 20 Maklouba
Day 21 Wild Rice with Grilled Veggies
Day 22 Thai Coconut Curry Rice