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Paella, this is all you need to know to be congratulated

22 mayo, 2021

Making a paella is a more or less simple task, but making a good paella of those that is remembered and everyone who tries it always remembers it, is something more complicated. Even more so if what you want to do is an authentic Valencian Paella and not a rice with things or other varieties of rice cooked in paella. So that you are always right when you want to make one paella, this is all you need to know to be congratulated.

Here you I will tell the keys to making a good paella, the ingredients, the steps, the times and some tricks So that when you make this emblematic dish of our gastronomy, it will look like a movie no matter what type of rice in paella you have chosen. These tricks are equally valid for all recipes of rice cooked in paella, whether it is an approved Valencian paella or a rice with things, which will also be delicious and memorable.

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Where to cook a paella

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First the issue of fire and the container. A paella, to be perfect, must be cooked in the container of that name, and if possible with a wood fire. The flavor that the sofrito, the rice and the slices take is incomparable. In our homes we can make a paella with gas, with induction or with a ceramic hob, but it will never be the same.

We could also use a saucepan, a modern non-iron paella pan or an electric paella pan, but that will no longer be a paella in any case. The container is essential, the fire, if it is at home we will have to use the one we have.

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As for the measures of the container to be used, they will depend on the number of people to eat, to make sure that the rice is always very distributed, in a thin layer and not with a thick layer. The indicative measures are: 40-45 cm paella for four or five people, 55 cm paella for 8-10 people, 65 cm paella for 12-15 people.

The ingredients

Depending on the type of paella that we want to prepare, -vegetable paella, Valencian paella, Alicante paella or fish and seafood paella- we will use one or the other ingredients.

In what seems to agree all the doctrine “paellil“is that what it never fits is to make a mixed paellaThe one with chicken and seafood, even though it is one of the favorites in many areas of Spain and one of the most sold in beach bars throughout our geography, including the Valencian Community.

a) Rice

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To have a good result, the ideal is to use Bomba rice, Calasparra, Xenia or similar, an ideal rice for its great capacity to absorb the broth during cooking, which will determine the proportion of the ingredients that we will see later. This type of rice requires three times its volume in broth for perfect doneness rice.

b) The sofrito

A classic sofrito carries green pepper, garlic and tomato. Depending on which areas you can use red pepper, but in other areas that is considered heresy. What it is not advisable to use is onion, leek or similar because they cause the rice to be soft or pasty. The sauce is cooked over high heat until it is almost like a paste.

c) Meat or fish

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In a classic Valencian paella We must use both chicken and rabbit, which we will begin by frying until golden and reserving until making the sauce and adding the broth or water. Optionally we can add snails, traditional in Valencia.

In case of being a fish or seafood paellaWe will use squid, mussels, clean slices of fish, bivalves (clams, mussels, etc.) and shellfish to taste (crayfish, rice prawns, prawns).

d) Vegetables

To make a successful paella, we have to use yes or yes, the garrofó, -a bean with essential pints in any paella recipe-, the flat green beans and optionally some artichokes, which provide a very good flavor, although they can darken the color of the paella.
Neither peas nor onion should ever be added, or it will not be a paella approved by those of Wikipaella.

e) Saffron


A good successful paella is made with saffron and there is no room for coloring, although some classic seasonings such as “paellador” include a little of both products. There are also those who incorporate turmeric, although the flavor of the rice changes. Remember the trick to toast the saffron and intensify its flavor and aroma without burning it to improve the success of the paella. The most practical is dilute the saffron in the water or cooking broth for an optimal result.

f) The cooking broth

In some areas only water is used, – there are even those who say that you can only make a paella if you use Valencia water – and in others a broth is used to hydrate the rice. In that case, the broth must be consistent with the ingredients of the paella, so we will use where appropriate meat or chicken broth for meat or classic paellas, fish soup for fish or seafood paellas and Vegetables soup for the vegetable paellas. The proportion, as we said anes, three times in water or broth the volume of rice used.

How to cook a paella

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The usual is start by browning the ingredients and removing them to go on to make the sauce. When it is well done, add the broth and the slices and bring it to a boil. When the broth cooks, add the rice and let it cook over the heat for ten minutes. At the beginning, we must place the ingredients well and distribute the rice because during cooking it should not be stirred.

Then we lower the heat to a minimum without losing the boil and we keep cooking for another seven minutes. Then we go back up the Full heat for just one minute to make the socarraet, the burnt rice of the base. Then we turn off the heat and cover with a cloth – there is also controversy because some prefer kitchen paper or aluminum foil – and we let the rice rest for another five to ten minutes before serving. You can put some rosemary branches under the cloth to flavor the rice.

With all these tips and tricks, we are sure of the success of your next paella. The choice of a type of paella or rice cooked in this container is up to you. You already know that at Directo al Paladar we have many rice recipes based on these instructions and any of them will be great for you.

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Images | Stijn Nieuwendijk, Pakus