There is no denying that I love rice. It comes with the territory of being half-Japanese. Growing up on the West Coast, I love seafood. To me there is no better way of mixing these two ingredients together than Paella.
Paella originates from the Spanish city of Valencia in the mid-19th century. The name is derived from the old French word Paelle meaning pan. It is traditionally done over an open flame but in the oven or on the stove top works as well; this is how I cook mine.
I use saffron and paprika in my recipe but if these are not available you could use other species. The seafood can also be substituted for ingredients such as chicken, chorizo, or vegetables. The rich flavors make it a perfect dish for a cold winter evening. The fact that it all cooks in one pan makes it an easy meal for a busy weeknight. Enjoy!
- 1.5 lb of rice
- 500 g of shrimp
- 1 lb of mussels
- 1 medium onion
- 3 cloves of glaric
- 500 mL of low sodium chicken stock
- 1 tsp of ponzu
- 2 tsp of sake
- 1/2 tsp of paprika
- 1/2 tsp of saffron (optional)
- 2 tbsp of oil
- 1 lemon (optional)
- cilantro (optional)
1.Rinse mussels under running cold water and remove beards. Place into a large bowl filled with water and let sit for 20 minutes to remove any remaining sand in shells. Discard any mussels that are not completely shut.
2. Place your shrimp in a bowl and mix with sake and ponzu. I like to buy mine already de-veined and shelled. If you prefer to purchase live shrimp remember to remove heads, veins, and shells prior to marinating. Dice garlic into fine pieces and add. Mix well and set aside.
3. Cut onion into strips. Place oil and onions into heated pan. Sautee on medium high heat until onions caramelize.
4. Once your onions have turned medium brown, add rice. Stir with onions and if needed add more oil. You want the rice to get coated with oil in order to open up the grains. Let simmer on heat for 5 minutes and then add chicken stock, paprika, and saffron.
5. Cover and let simmer for about 15 minutes. When your liquid is starting to evaporate add 2 cups of water and re-cover. Let simmer for another 10 minutes.
6. Once most of the liquid is evaporated add shrimp on top of rice mixture. Place the cover back on and let steam for another 5 minutes. When your shrimp is almost cooked, add mussels and let steam until mussels open. Once the mussels are cooked let the Paella sit for 5 minutes to form a golden brown crust on the bottom. In Spain this crust is the measure of a good Paella.
6. Dish Paella into bowls and enjoy while hot. Garnish with cilantro and lemon slices and add according to your tastes. You can enjoy alone or alongside a salad.