Cook Traditional Spanish Paella

Edited by estrella sacragon, Rebecca M., Eng, Lynn and 2 others

Delicious paella, anyone? You really have to taste this unique recipe!

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Unless you live in Spain, you likely haven't experienced how to cook the perfect traditional Spanish Paella (pronounced pie-EH-ah). This authentic wonderful dish must have a thin layer of rice and it must feature some other ingredients on top of the rice. What makes it most traditional is when the bottom part of the dish yields a golden and caramelized crust called a socarrat. Once you can achieve this, then you have reach the peak of wonderful paella greatness. Below are important factors that can help you create a perfectly-cooked traditional Spanish paella.

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How to Cook Traditional Spanish Paella

  1. 1
    The Rice
    .
    Go for a medium-grain rice. Traditionally, Spanish rice is short and rounded and can absorb liquid very well. This type of rice remains firm during cooking, thus making it ideal for paella since the rice grains can easily absorb the flavor from the liquid. Avoid long-grain rice.
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    1. The most ideal type of Spanish rice is the "Bomba" rice, although other varieties will work just as well.
    2. Valenciano.
    3. Goya medium rice may also be considered, but it's only be found in Hispanic groceries.
    4. La Preferida Spanish rice normally available in the Midwest is also a suitable substitutes, as well as Arborio rice.
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  2. 2
    The Pan
    .
    A traditional panella pan is round, shallow, wide and has splayed sides, and does not have a lid. The pan has two looped handles and slightly dips in the middle part where the oil can pool for the preliminary sautéing. The pan's shape, called a paellera, ensures that the rice can cook in a thin layer. Normally, Valencians say that the rice, when cooked, must only be as thick "un ditet" or as the width of one finger. Your goal here is to maximize the rice amount in touching the pan's bottom because this is where all the paella flavors incorporate. Thus, paella pans normally grow more in diameter than in height.
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  3. 3
    The Heat Source
    .
    As much as you can, find a heat source that can securely accommodate the whole paella pan. Although it still depends on your burner's configuration, you will somehow have to straddle the pan over two burners, or you can set it on the largest burner. But either way, you will still have to rotate and move the pan so you can equally distribute the heat. Or better yet, cook your paella outdoors over a large charcoal grill or a wood fire.
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  4. 4
    The Sofrito
    .
    The Sofrito is a sauté of aromatics that provides the base flavor. Although the components of a sofrito may vary by region, traditionally it includes garlic, onions and tomatoes. Some people add fresh herbs and pimento, while others include "nora", a dried sweet red bell pepper. Making a sofrito is simple. You sauté the veggies over medium-low heat until they have softened and the flavors have melded and the water from your tomatoes has evaporated.
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How to Make Paella Last Longer in Case You Want to Reheat It

Making a traditional Spanish paella is really not that difficult. Serve your paella in a pan instead of on a plate so you will not destroy the texture of the rice.

  1. 1
    Use serving spoon
    .
    Paella is a mixture of many other things, including seafood most of the time. This is a type of food that can easily get spoiled if not handled the proper way. Therefore, the use of serving spoon is very important, especially if you are intending to reheat it for consumption a few days later.
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  2. 2
    Put it in the fridge
    .
    Since paella is predominantly made of rice, do not leave it outside the fridge if you intend to get back to it later. This is especially the case when the weather is hot. The rice can spoil easily and this will affect all other ingredients.
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  3. 3
    Do not put seasoning to the entire pan
    .
    If you are the type who likes sprinkling a bit of lemon juice to your paella, make sure that you only put it to the portion that will be eaten right away. Adding lemon juice to the entire paella will make its shelf life much shorter.
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  4. 4
    Use high-grade rice
    .
    Paella tastes best when the quality of rice is good. At the same time, A-grade rice usually spoils slower, so this is an advantage in case you'll be eating your paella over several days.
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  5. 5
    Put it in separate containers
    .
    Serving the paella in smaller containers may be better. If you put some on a platter, the rest won't have been touched, or left for too long. This way, in case you were not able to consume everything, there will be leftovers haven't been touched and therefore won't spoil as fast.
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  6. 6
    Avoid reheating seafood paella
    .
    Seafood is best eaten right after it's cooked. If your paella is topped with a lot of seafood, it is not advisable to reheat it as the seafood may go bad in just a a few hours.
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  7. 7
    Make sure the amount of water you use to cook the rice is just the right amount
    .
    If the rice is not cooked properly and it is not well-done, the likelihood is it will spoil faster because of the excess moisture. If you see that the texture of the rice is stickier than usual, it may be a good sign that you did not put in just the right amount of water into it.
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If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please post in the comments section below.

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Article Info

Categories : Cooking

Recent edits by: Christine dela Cruz, Lynn, Eng

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