03 April 2013

how i cooked paella!

for our easter sunday lunch, we decided to be festive by having paella! there is no better way to celebrate than having a nice warm plate of paella on your table. it's no wonder that this dish is almost always on most filipino family's menu whenever they celebrate a major life event. 

i have two things to say about paella: one, there's so much effort put into this dish, what with the ingredients and having to chop them all up, cook them, and make sure it tastes just right. you really have to appreciate and give a big "thank you" to whoever cooked it for you. second, there's just so many ways of cooking it. i did a google search for paella recipes, and i got really confused. so i read through several recipes, and what i ended up doing was a mash up of the instructions i got.  i think in the end, it will taste how YOU want it to taste. 

here's what i used:

bell peppers, onions, green onions, coriander leaves

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green peas, tomato paste, chopped garlic, eggs (really more for garnishing), chinese sausages, and a small packet of paellero (note: this is a powder mix that i think consists of saffron and some spices. you actually want to use real saffron, but since i brought this to singapore from manila, i wanted to use it this time). you also need paprika powder (not in picture) for marinating the chicken.

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squids, shrimp  (you can also have scallops, clams, mussels, but my sister is allergic, so i didn't put those in my recipe) and chicken (i bought the chicken along with the bones,  because i boiled it in water and used it as chicken stock for cooking the rice.

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oh yes, i forgot to take a picture of the rice (main ingredient. haha). our iron chef friend, kman, suggested i use arboro rice. but i couldn't find any at shop and save, so i used jasmine rice, which i soaked in water before i put in the pan.

here are some of the ingredients when i chopped them up. see the can of peeled tomatoes there? yep, that's one more ingredient. side note: there are people who, when they cook, the kitchen gets really messy. personally, i cannot tolerate messy kitchens. i really like to prepare everything  first before i start cooking, kind of like what they have in cooking shows. it's really just neater and helps you cook more calmly and efficiently.

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i cooked the chicken first, after marinating it for about 30 minutes in paprika, salt an pepper. then i cooked it in oil, garlic and onions, after which, i set aside on a plate with paper towels.

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i did the same thing to the shrimp and the squid (except the marinating part).

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then afterwards, i sauteed the following: garlic, onion and bell pepper, plus some of the coriander leaves. added the tomatoes and mixed them well. i added the rice, which was previously soaking in water and to cook the rice, then i put in the chicken stock that i made earlier.

you really have to guard it while cooking, because you don't want the rice to dry up (kind of when you cook it in the rice cooker). and just when the rice is almost cooked, i added in the paellero powder (or the saffron strands, if you have it). and also mix in the chinese sausage, chicken, shrimp and squid. when you do that, it's an arm exercise, because you will have to stir the dish several times. to make sure everything is evenly distributed.

when it's done, it will look like this:

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you'll probably want some lemons too:
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jp was so happy that he took a picture and posted it in Facebook (he rarely updates his facebook page), so that was special. haha. PLUS! he treated me to some ribeye steak for dinner. 

this is what i posted on instagram:

happy easter! #paella

there you have it, our easter lunch. it will probably be another really special occasion (or a special request) before i make this dish again. it takes a lot of effort and time in the kitchen. so next time you eat paella, remember to send your regards to the cook. i think he or she would really appreciate some kudos for making this special dish. 

*here are some of the paella recipes i looked at:

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