Paella is an iconic dish internationally regarded as quintessentially Spanish, the Spanish however considered it more specifically Valencian. Paella takes its name from the pan used to cook it, so saying paella pan, literally translated from Valencian mean "pan" pan, just for a little trivia. The beauty of this dish is you can almost add what ever you like to the rice. Traditionally paella is made with rabbit, chicken even snails depending on the season. And of course you have seafood paella and a mix of meat and seafood.

This is why I love this dish, as long as you have some rice you just check your fridge and pantry and you can have a go.  It looks hard but paella is a fairly simple dish to make, you just have to remember a few little things:

  • Use only short grain rice, it absorbs moisture much better than long grain.
  • Don't over cooked the rice, cook to al dente, when you bite in to it there is that slight feeling it is not quite done.
  • Any proper paella has a crust at the bottom, called "socarrat" - the name of a Valencian type of tile, it is the toasted crust of rice that forms on the pan.  Achieved by us mere mortals by a quick turn up of heat on the stove prior to serving.
  • If you don't have a proper paella dish, use a heavy based frying pan, even constant heat is important.

The following recipe is mash up of a few tried over the years.