Paella is a Valencian rice dish that originated in its modern form in the mid-19th century near lake Albufera, a lagoon in Valencia, on the east coast of Spain. Many non-Spaniards view paella as Spain's national dish, but most Spaniards consider it to be a regional Valencian dish. Valencians, in turn, regard paella as one of their identifying symbols.
There are three widely known types of paella: Valencian paella, seafood paella and mixed paella , but there are many others as well. Traditionally Valencian paella consists of white rice, green vegetables, meat (rabbit, chicken, duck), land snails - not kosher, beans and seasoning. Seafood paella replaces meat and snails with seafood and omits beans and green vegetables. Mixed paella is a free-style combination of meat, seafood (kosher dishes cannot mix fish and meat), vegetables, and sometimes beans. Other key ingredients include saffron and olive oil.
Five Fun Facts:
- The Spanish rice dish 'Paella' takes its name from the pan it is cooked in, which in turn comes from the Latin word for 'pan' or 'dish.'
- Paella originated in the Valencia region, traditionally cooked outdoors and eaten right from the pan.
- There was a tradition in Spain that only men could make a good paella!
- Saffron, the spice that also turns the rice a wonderful golden color is an essential part of the dish.
- Before cooking in a paella pan, be sure to season the pan. Although there are different ways to do this, the simplest method is to first wash the pan with warm water and soap and dry with a soft cloth immediately. While the pan is still warm, using a soft cloth or paper towel, rub olive oil over the entire inside of the pan. If the pan is not warm after washing, place it in the oven on warm for a few minutes, then rub the oil on it.
- Vegetarian Paella - I made this with regular veggie sausage, but I think it would be better with Soyrizo if you can find it and you can add any vegetables on hand - it holds up really well as leftovers or Saturday lunch too.
- Basque Vegetable Rice- Studded with zucchini, onion, tomatoes and peppers, this paella-inspired dish features Valencia rice.
- Vegetable Fried Rice- Leftover rice? Try this lighter version of fried rice.
- Chicken with Spiced Mango Rice - Savor this fusion of ingredients as they combine to make a melody in your mouth.
- Spanish Style Chicken & Rice - Chicken and rice is a classic combination and gets a kick of Spanish spices in this recipe. With a few easy additions to boxed rice mix, you can have a whole new and exciting dish!
Click for more rice based recipes.
Nutrition information per serving (1 cup) of paella:
Fat: 13 g
Carbohydrates: 40 g
Cholesterol: 58 mg
Sodium: 1450 mg
Protein: 23 g
Sugars: 1 g