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Find out a little more about paella

Paella is easy. There are as many recipes as there are paelleros!
If you are a fan, here is some information that should help you to perfect your recipes.

The vocabulary

It is the name of both the container and the contents. Similar to a tagine or terrine. In Catalan, the word means pan.

Before migrating to the large burners we use today, paella was cooked over a wood fire. The paellero is what held the dish over the fire. As an extension of this, it has become the name of the burner on which the dish is placed…
It is also the chef: like a pizzaiolo makes pizza, the paellero makes paella.

A woman making paella

We know it better as a lima bean. This large white bean is a fundamental ingredient in paella. It´s not real paella without garrofons! You can also take a few liberties with tradition but what would you thing of a shepherd´s pie without carrots?

The socarrat:
This term is interesting in the measure whereby it is an essential part of successful paella. Socarrat is the light grilling that is obtained by caramelising the cooking juices in the rice. It´s the final touch!

The material

The paella pan:
Traditionally, a paella pan is in sheet steel.
The problem is that your dish may rust if you forget to oil it before putting it away.
The advantage is that steel contains iron and iron encourages the Maillard reaction. When it comes to taste, this is incomparable. You quickly develop the taste of grilled food without drying or excessively cooking the meats. At the end of the cooking time, when the rice has absorbed the stock, it caramelises slightly. The flavours become both richer and more intense.

The paella burner
To make good paella, the heat needs to be spread over the entire surface of the pan. The larger the pan, the more important this is. At the end of the cooking time, when there is no more water to hold back the temperature, a good burner will make all the difference. Remember too that you need to keep it warm: fine tuning is essential…

The mixer:
Paella is not mixed while it is cooking. This is a rule. But you will need to turn over your meat. The rice should also be stirred before it gets wet with the stock. When it is perfectly cooked and begins to caramelise in contact with the pan, you need to unstick it. A wooden spoon is obligatory!

The tip:
Do not rince the rice, fry it to link the starch and stir it constantly. When the rice becomes transparent, wet it with the stock as high as the rivets. Leave it to cook. The evaporation is very large in a paella pan, so the flavours will become concentrated and the tastes will come together. When there is no more stock: it´s ready. Your rice is cooked!

See our other advice features:
Which paella pan on which burner?
The recipe for Valentia paella
The secrets to successful paella
Chinese noodles in paella style by Chef Tenailleau

See our range of burners and paella pans.
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