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Paella is a rice dish, often served with seafood, that originated in Valencia in Spain.

The origins of paella rice

The origins of the name ‘paella’ come from the Catalan word for pan! Paella is used by Catalan speakers to refer to all sorts of pans, not just the traditional pans associated with paella.

Traditionally, it’s made in a large pan with a round and thin base. It should be shallow and thin with no lid. This shape ensures that the rice cooks in a thin layer – as the Spanish believe that’s where the flavour lies.

The dish is often flavoured with saffron and sweet paprika. Saffron is one of the most precious spices in the world – originating from a flower called crocus sativus, it’s enigmatic and fragrant. Sweet paprika is made from bright and sweet red peppers without any heat.

As it’s developed over the years, the bulk of paella has changed a lot. In the 18th century, Valencians used to use water vole meat in their paella! Now, it’s more common to have seafood and chorizo in the dish.

But what actually is paella rice?

The most commonly used rice in paella in Spain is called Bomba. It’s a short-grain rice cultivated in the eastern parts of Spain. It absorbs liquid very well, but stays quite firm during cooking. In supermarkets, it’s often labelled as Paella rice.

How do I cook paella?

Cooking it the traditional way can be a difficult, long and slow process. VeeTee have found a much quicker way to recreate your favourite Valencian dish. Here are two recipes guaranteed to get tummies rumbling.

Mega Vegetable Paella
If you want to try making a more traditional paella from scratch, this is the recipe for you. It’s packed with flavour, suitable for vegetarians and is great for sharing with loved ones.

200g VeeTee Basmati rice
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp paprika
3 tsp tomato puree
100g mixed sliced mushrooms (such as oyster, shitake, enoki, chestnut)
400ml vegetable stock
1 handful chopped coriander leaves
1 pinch turmeric
To taste: salt

Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan and fry the onions and garlic until golden.
Add the chilli powder, paprika and turmeric and stir for a few seconds. Stir in the tomato puree.
Mix in the mushrooms, reserving a few for the garnish. Now tip in the rice.
Pour in the stock and half the coriander, stir and bring to the boil. Reduce heat, cover with a tight lid and simmer for 12 minutes until done.
Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a small frying pan and sauté the reserved mushrooms.
Serve the paella with the sautéed mushrooms and a sprinkle of the remaining coriander.


Speedy Paella
If you’re in a hurry but still want something tasty, this speedy paella will hit the spot. It’s ready in just 25 minutes, with very minimal prep time. Easy.

1 tray VeeTee Pilau Rice
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
100g frozen peas
1 green pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced
110g chorizo sausage, cubed
3 garlic cloves, crushed
230g can chopped tomatoes
450g mixed seafood (fish, prawns, squid and mussels)
150ml fish stock or water
100ml white wine

Heat the oil in a deep pan. Add the onion, peas, peppers and chorizo cook for 2 minutes.
Stir in the garlic and tomatoes, cook for a further 3 minutes. Add the fish stock and white wine, simmer for 6 minutes. Add the seafood, simmer for a further 4 minutes or until the liquid has been absorbed.
Stir in the Pilau rice, cook for 3-4 minutes or until heated through. Serve immediately.

Ready for your next rice adventure? Stock up on VeeTee rice.

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