For those who do not know, paella (pronounced “paeya” or “paezha”, depending on which part of Latin America you are from) is a rice dish from Spain, which is cooked in a large, shallow and flat frying pan. The word paella literally means “frying pan” in Spanish. There is no fix ingredients to use in a paella, you can add whatever you want and come up with your favourite mix. The main ingredients though are rice, olive oil and saffron, as for the rest, you can cook purely vegetarian ones, or a mix of seafood, meat and veg etc.
Sadly, my paella is not authentic. Being a poor Drysdale student, I couldn’t afford to buy a paella pan and I definitely couldn’t afford to buy authentic saffron. This here, is THE most expensive spice by weight in the world! Saffron is often used as a seasoning or a colouring agent. Just a pinch of it, will turn clear water to bright orangie red colour. It is derived from the dried stigmas of the saffron crocus flower, and it takes up to 225,000 hand-picked stigmas to make a single pound, hence explaining why it’s so expensive! I’ve seen it at the Asian grocer here but gawked at the price. Therefore, I could only replace it with imitation saffron which just gives me a colour and a slight fragrance. As for the pan, I used a big non-stick pan. This here was inspired from Jamie Oliver and sorry but I didn’t take note of the exact measurement of my ingredients as he didn’t do it in his program and I decided to attempt to be him!
- Chorizo sausage
- Paella seafood mix (similar to a marinara mix)
- Prawns, de-shelled
- Chicken thigh fillets, cut into bite size pieces
- Frozen peas
- Onion, diced
- Garlic, diced
- Chicken stock
- Rice, about 2-3 cups
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Heat the pan with olive oil. Pan fry and brown the chicken thighs. Add the sausages, onion and garlic. Continue to allow it to brown and cook over medium-high heat.
- Dissolve the saffron in some chicken stock. Add the rice,peas and paprika into the frying pan. Toss it well with the rest of the ingredients.
- Add the saffron chicken stock. Mix well. Add a little more stock. Allow it to simmer on medium heat.
- Cover it with a lid and let the rice steam. Once in a while, open the lid and give it a good toss and add more stock.
- When the rice is nearly cooked, add in the paella seafood mix and prawns. Cover the lid and allow it to cook.
- The rice should be slightly wet and sticky but not dry like chinese style steam rice or wet like half-cooked porridge. It’s sorta like a risotto texture. When it’s reached that texture, turn off the heat and serve.