4 of our favourite ways with paella

By TASTE, 29 June 2017

Try this spicy Mediterranean classic for when you’re craving seafood.

Paella isn’t all that different to risotto by way of ingredients, but it does involve a lot less stirring. In fact, stirring isn’t encouraged at all.

Like risotto, paella uses a sofrito, in this case it’s called salmorra and serves as the flavour base. It’s normally a mixture of finely diced onions, garlic and tomato and is fried until fragrant. Only then are the other ingredients added, then (often) removed and added again with the stock and allowed to simmer until reduced.

For a South African twist, use a cast-iron pan and cook paella straight over the coals. Try the smoky mussel paella recipe here.

Traditionally paella is cooked over an open fire. It’s also customary for guests to eat straight out of the signature paellera (the paella pan.)

If you don’t have a paella pan use a 4 cm-deep, non-stick frying pan. Ideally the pan should be shallow and wide to allow the stock to evaporate quickly, and the base thin – thicker bases retain heat and the dish may overcook.

Always use medium-sized rice such as arborio. Be generous with the oil; this will help keep the rice separate and distribute the flavour evenly. No rice in the pantry? Try thin pasta (like angelhair) broken into bits, as in this Spanish pasta-paella recipe.

The final phase of cooking paella is called socarrat or “to toast lightly”, which is when high heat is used for the last 5 minutes of cooking to allow the rice on the bottom of the pan to form a toasty crust and give the dish a smoky, almost nutty flavour.

Discover more delicious ways with paella in our recipe-guide here.


Article by TASTE

The TASTE team is a happy bunch of keen cooks and writers, always on the look out for the next food trend or the next piece of cake.
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