This Seafood Paella recipe is a rice dish infused with different flavors of garlic, onion, tomato, smoked paprika, saffron and a variety of seafood like mussels, manila clams and shrimps. It is so tasty that will have you go back for seconds and thirds!
Paella also known in the Philippines as Arroz a la Valenciana, is one of the popular dish Filipinos have embraced while under Spanish rule. There are different ways of preparing paella. My mom makes this dish with seafood, chorizo de bilbao, chicken, glutinous rice in coconut milk called Bringhe, the Philippines native paella.
What is Paellera?
Paellera is a pan with two protruding handles that is commonly used in making Paella. However, I have cooked this dish in a regular shallow pan and still came out delicious. Paellera is not necessary, but if you want an authentic looking paella, then get it. The brand I use is Magefesa which is made in Spain. You don't have to spend over the top for a paellera to have a perfect seafood paella, but one thing to consider is its quality. Find something that will suit your needs based on use, quality and budget.
How to Achieve Socarrat (burnt rice at the bottom of pan)?
In Spain, they say a good Paella is when a crust forms at the bottom of the pan. This crust is burnt rice known as “socarrat” in Spain and “tutong” in the Philippines. Both my mom and dad love burnt rice that forms at the base of the rice cooker when making plain rice. They add a small amount of water and salt to the burnt rice and they love it. Paella burnt rice is crusty, crispy and definitely delicious that is infused with all the tasty flavors. To achieve it, 15 minutes before done cooking turn on the heat to medium - high for about 3 to 5 minutes. Be careful not to burn the whole dish. The crust will look caramelized as shown in the image below.
What Rice to Use to Make Paella?
Bomba or Calasparra is a short grain rice, commonly used in Spain to make this dish. If these brands are not available, you can use any short grain rice like Calrose or the Italian Superfino Arborio that I used in this recipe. Read the label to see how much water to use when cooking this rice.
Paella left overs are even delicious after a day when rice have soaked in all the flavors. Honestly, there's hardly any grain left on anyone's plate whenever we have this.
It looks complicated to make, but it's not. In fact, be creative and you'll have fun putting this together. Your family and guest will be impress.
How to Make this Seafood Paella Recipe
Watch my quick video and make this Seafood Paella recipe today. Magluto na tayo. (Let's cook.)
Seafood Paella Recipe
- 5 pieces medium sized squid cut into ¼ of an inch
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 5 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 1 medium sized onion minced
- 2 small sized roma tomato diced
- ½ medium sized red pepper seeded and sliced into long strips
- 1 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika substitute with regular paprika if smoked paprika is not available
- 10 pieces large raw prawns cut tendrils
- 5 small clams brushed and cleaned
- 5 large mussels brushed and cleaned
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup shrimp broth
- 1 teaspoon saffron strands
- 1 ½ cups Italian superfino arborio rice
- Salt to taste
- These measurements is for a 12 inch paella pan. This paella pan will serve 4 people and 2 cups of rice is the most you can use for this size.
- Boil water in a pan over medium heat. Add shrimp or prawns, mussels and clams.
- Remove shrimps when color turns pink. Set aside.
- Remove clams and mussels when shells open up. Set aside.
- Transfer liquid from pan to another container. Save it, to be used later.
- Heat olive oil in pan over medium heat.
- Add squid and cook for 2 minutes. Set aside.
- Fry shrimps for 2 minutes on each side. Set aside.
- Add olive oil if needed.
- Saute onion and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add tomatoes and cook until soft.
- Saute green beans for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add red bell pepper and cook to 2 minutes. Remove green beans and red bell peppers from pan. Set aside.
- Add Spanish smoked paprika. Mix well.
- Add arborio rice and mix.
- Pour broth from seafood. Make sure you pour 3 ½ to 4 cups broth.
- Add saffron and salt. Mix well. This is the last time you will be mixing the rice mixture. Cover pan.
- Once liquid boils, lower heat to medium low.
- Let it simmer over low heat for 30 to 50 minutes or until rice is cook. If your pan is bigger than the burner, rotate pan so rice cooks evenly.
- During the last 15 minutes of cooking and liquid is reduced, put back all the seafood, green beans and red bell peppers. Decorate the pan however you want it by pushing down the seafood slightly on the rice. Turn the heat to medium-high for 3 to 5 minutes if you want "socarrat" or "tutong" to form but make sure you don't burn it. Cover.
- Turn off heat and remove pan from burner. Cover Seafood Paella for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Serve hot with slices of lemon.
- I used a 12 inch paella pan which is a good size for my burner. For this recipe, 1 1/2 cups of Italian Superfino Arborio rice was enough to feed 4 people. If making more than 2 cups of rice, you need a bigger pan.
- If you have no desire decorating your paella, you can skip boiling the seafood. Instead, when the broth boils you may add all the seafood stirring it once. Fifteen minutes before done cooking, add the green beans and red bell peppers.
- The paella pan is not non-stick so lower the heat once the rice boils.
- After adding the rice, mix it once and don't stir again if you want "socarrat" or "tutong" to form. Fifteen minutes before the dish is done, I turn the heat between medium to high for 3 to 5 minutes to get the crust to form at the bottom of the pan.
- If you can get smoked paprika, it is best to use to get that authentic Spanish Paella taste.
- You might ask if there is any substitute for saffron - not that I know of.
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