Cook Traditional Spanish Paella

Edited by estrella sacragon, Rebecca M., Eng, Lynn and 1 other

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. 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 it 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 yield a perfectly-cooked traditional Spanish paella.

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How to Cook Traditional Spanish Paella

  1. 1
    The Rice.
    Go for the medium-grain rice. Traditionally, Spanish rice is short and rounded and can absorb liquid very well. Relatively, this type of rice remains firm during cooking, thus making them ideal for paella since the rice grains can easily absorb the flavor from the liquid. The most ideal type of Spanish rice is the "bomba" rice, although other varieties like the valenciano will work just as well. The Goya medium rice may also be considered, but can only be found in Hispanic groceries. Furthermore, the La Preferida Spanish rice normally available in the Midwest can also make preferred substitutes, as well as Arborio rice. However, you should avoid going for long-grain rices.
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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 meld and the water from your tomatoes has evaporated.
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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.

How to Make Paella Last Longer in Case You Want to Reheat It

  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 after.
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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 on. This is especially the case when the weather is rather 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 the lifespan 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 spoil slower, so this is an advantage in case you would like to hold on to your paella for several days.
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  5. 5
    Put it in separate containers.
    Serving the paella in smaller containers may be better, since the whole dish is not being touched when serving it at a party. This way, in case you were not able to consume everything, the leftover has not been touched and therefore, it will not spoil that fast.
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  6. 6
    Avoid reheating seafood paella.
    Seafood is best eaten right after they are cooked. If your paella is topped with a lot of seafood, it is not advisable to reheat it as the seafood may go bad already after a few hours.
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  7. 7
    Make sure that the amount of water that 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 that it will get spoiled is higher 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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Categories : Cooking

Recent edits by: Lynn, Eng, Rebecca M.

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