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Friday, April 13, 2012

My Easy to Cook Seafood Paella

Paella is a rice dish which may include meat, peas, beans, capsicums etc.  The hero of the dish is the rice itself.  The word paella comes from the old French word paelle which actually originates from the Latin word patella  which means pan.  The dish on the other hand is  Valencian in origin (a place in Spain) and  one of its identifiable symbols.  They would usually use a paellera -- a big pan where the paella will be cooked which will also be used as the serving "plate."  It is usually cooked on open fire using branches of orange and pine trees which in turn add more appetizing smell to the paella.

This dish was brought to the Philippines by the Spanish when they governed our country.  I consider this as one of the best Spanish influences when it comes to food.

Paella would always use saffron as one of its ingredients but since I do not have it in my pantry, I decided to whip up my own recipe for the paella.  Good thing I have discovered that the baked seafood rice in capcicum that I made many months ago tasted similar to the paella that I have had before.  Paella can also be cooked with all the ingredients all together in the rice cooker if you want it the easier way. You can also cook the rice with all the ingredients in the pan if you wish.  What I did with my dish is to cook the rice separately in the rice cooker and just added it to the mixture in the wok.  I do not have a paellera and the closest to it is my non - stick pan but I chose to use the wok for the fear of having to transfer the paella into a bigger pot or wok in the middle of cooking. 

If you wonder what kind of rice can you use for the paella recipe, I used jasmine rice.  I wanted to use arborio originally for the dish but I decided against it because arborio is much too dear (stingy me).  You can also use any short grain rice or whatever rice you like as long as they stick together and absorb the juice of the paella mixture.  I also decided to bake my paella to make sure that the rice would really absorb all the taste in the mixture.

The result was really delicious.  Try it and I tell you it's all worth it.

Ingredients
1/2 c seafood marinara mix (calamari, pink salmon, prawns, mussels, barramundi fish, clams etc)
4 c jasmine rice
1 c green peas
2 medium onions, minced
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 big red capcicum, diced
2 big tomatoes, diced, deseeded and peeled
3 tbsp tomato paste
2 chicken cubes
2 c water
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp thyme paste
1 tsp parsley (dried flakes)
salt and pepper to taste
2 hardboiled eggs, quartered
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil

Procedure
Cook the jasmine rice in the rice cooker.
Dissolve chicken cubes in the 2 c warm water in a pyrex measuring glass.  Stir in the tomato paste.  Set aside.
Heat up a wok or paella pan with olive oil.
Sautee onions, garlic, tomatoes and capcicum.  Cook until the mixture is just about caramelized.
Add in the herbs, salt and pepper.  Stir.
Put in the seafood marinara mix.  Stir.
Pour in the chicken broth - tomato paste mixture.  Boil.
Put in the rice.  Stir.
Simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated.
Transfer the paella into a baking dish. 
Arrange the egg wedges on top of the paella.
Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes in a 180C preheated oven.

A comment or two will be appreciated...

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