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Advice regarding Paella utensils and ingredients

i
iliria Jan 26, 2013 05:54 PM

I am looking to start making paella at home and having never made any before I thought to ask for advice just so that I avoid buying stuff that I dont need simply fueled by hype.

I am looking to buy an enameled paella pan made by Garcima. Are they good or is stainless steel better? Does anyone know if this is as reputable a company as the vendor makes it to be?

Can I make the paella mix myself at home or is it easier to buy it ready made?

Do I need to use the Bomba rice or are the other paella rices just as good?

Should I buy the saffron her in UK or is buying in Spain ( I have some relatives there) cheaper?

Do I need to buy or know anything else before I start?

Any advice would be very much appreciated.

  1. a
    amazinc Jan 27, 2013 09:32 AM

    Paella...just saying the word sends me to the kitchen grabbing my Steel Paella Pan, the ingredients ( seafood, chicken and lovely sausage rounds, sofrita and Valencia Rice). Then, I start a fire on my Weber 1 and 1/2 hours before I intend to cook. Grab a carton of lo-salt chicken broth bring same to a boil and add 1 tsp. saffron threads. Cover, set aside. Brown the chicken & sausage, set aside. When almost ready to cook ( the fire coals will be covered with white ash), mix the rice and sofrita in pan and add broth, next put in the chicken and sausage, cover weber and cook, never stirring for a few minutes. Next, add the clams and mussels, then the shrimp and octopus or squid. Recover weber and cook until the shrimp are pink. Remove pan from fire and sprinkle with a handful of frozen petit pois, cover with a tea towel while you slice lemon wedges to serve with, then bring your creation to the table amidst oohs and aahs from your invited guests. Paella Perfection and a great crowd pleaser.

    1. i
      INDIANRIVERFL Jan 27, 2013 08:23 AM

      You will have a far easier time getting paella ingredients in the UK than I do in the USA>

      If you don't have the basic traditional ingredients, then you are making a one pot rice casserole. So you do need Bomba rice, spanish saffron, and the hard chorizo sausage that I always have when in Granada or Algecerias.

      The caribbean and Latin American chorizo ranges from falling apart under heat to squeezable mush. And heat levels that vary widely. Our yellow rice is annato, turmeric, or a mix for the yellow coloring. And for me a totally different flavor.

      Paella is a splurge item for me, so I do not mind spending the extra money.

      4 Replies
      1. re: INDIANRIVERFL
        SnackHappy Jan 27, 2013 08:46 AM

        Do they really put chorizo in the paella in Granada and Algeciras? I thought the Spanish considered using chorizo or pimenton in paella to be a crime against food and something only done outside of Spain.

        1. re: SnackHappy
          i
          INDIANRIVERFL Jan 27, 2013 09:02 AM

          That is what I had. But they were also not high end places or in somebodies home.

          1. re: SnackHappy
            paulj Jan 27, 2013 09:06 AM

            Earlier discussions

            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/714282

            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/807185
            a poster from Spain claims that onion is the big no-no.

            As for the use of saffron, not everyone in Spain can afford it. So alternative coloring powders are quite common.

            1. re: paulj
              SnackHappy Jan 27, 2013 10:00 AM

              I've read these threads before. And I understand MoGa's position on what is and what isn't true paella. It's always interesting, when making a dish so famous and with so many variations, to understand where it came from and what makes it what it is. Every region in Spain has appropriated paella and made it its own has have other countries and some with not so happy outcomes.

              I'm not too much of a purist, but I have to say that I get pretty scared, by recipes of protein overloaded rice pilaf topped with frozen peas. People forget that, before anything else, it is a rice dish (a DRY rice dish) and that the meat and/or seafood are there for flavour. Some of the recipes I saw in those threads were pretty horrifying to me, not from a purist standpoint but just from a cooking standpoint.

              I don't believe too much in rules when it comes to cooking, but I believe in respect for tradition. People can do what they want, but there's a point where they should stop calling it paella and call it something else. I've always thought that adding chorizo was one of those things that crossed a line, but I'm open to different, more informed opinions.

        2. erica Jan 27, 2013 08:12 AM

          I found this article interesting; make sure to buy saffron threads, and not the powdered and easily adulterated version of the spice. I would buy in Spain, given the option.

          http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001...

          A book with very good info on paella is The New Spanish Table by Anya von Bremzen.

          1. s
            SusanB Jan 27, 2013 08:03 AM

            We didn't end up following the recipe in the attached or buy a pan from them, but the video is really useful for technique. We did buy Bomba rice and we were glad we did, although we haven't tried any other paella rices. We got our paella pan from a discount store here in Toronto (Winners) and it's a basic pan, just like the one we used in the cooking class we took in Barcelona, only much smaller. It was a great price ($10).

            http://www.paellapans.com/

            We made seafood paella for Christmas dinner and everyone agreed that it was wonderful!

            3 Replies
            1. re: SusanB
              SnackHappy Jan 27, 2013 10:08 AM

              That paella tutorial is great! Tells you everything you need to know to make a good paella. I've rarely seen a cooking video that well made. Kudos to these folks.

              Here's a direct link to the video: http://www.paellapans.com/seafood-pae...

              1. re: SusanB
                k
                khuzdul Jan 27, 2013 11:40 AM

                I agree that that is a good video. Most Paella recipes (and videos) ignore the sofrito, (which this video does not!) which adds so much flavour. My paella sofrito is slightly different in that I dice the onions and tomatoes, then intentionally cook out all the liquid till the sofrito is crumbly and stiff over a low heat, which takes about an hour and a half. After mixing the rice, I don't heat it with the sofrito (not making a tostatura like when I make risotto), instead I immediately add the broth which deglazes the pan and re-constitute the sofrito. I make no claims as to "authenticity" of what I do, just that is what I do and it tastes pretty good.

                For the OP - what kind of burner will the recipient be cooking on? If it is on a regular cooktop, then I do think that investing in a thick bottomed paella pan that evens out the heat somewhat worth it. If it is on a BBQ or a larger burner, then that a moot point.

                1. re: khuzdul
                  i
                  iliria Feb 3, 2013 04:03 AM

                  I'll be cooking on a gas hob. Currently we have a normal 4 hob cooker in the house but are planning to buy a range cooker in a year or two.

              2. SnackHappy Jan 27, 2013 07:54 AM

                I'm afraid to ask, but what is paella mix?

                4 Replies
                1. re: SnackHappy
                  monchique Jan 27, 2013 08:48 AM

                  Something like "Paellero" a mix you buy in Spain made with turmeric, paprika and safran (cheaper than using only safran, and gives a lovely yellow colour to the dish).

                  1. re: monchique
                    SnackHappy Jan 27, 2013 08:56 AM

                    Oh, I see! I didn't think that's what the OP was referring to. I thought it might have been something more elaborate when I read "make the paella mix myself at home". I actually have a box of paellero in my pantry which I bought out of curiosity and use for making quick rice dishes like arroz con pollo.

                    1. re: SnackHappy
                      i
                      iliria Feb 3, 2013 03:59 AM

                      I'm assuming that Paellero is a good and faster alternative?

                      1. re: iliria
                        SnackHappy Feb 3, 2013 06:32 AM

                        It's used for everyday cooking. I don't see how it would be any faster than using your own seasonings. Paellas take a long time to make. Using a mix will only save you a few seconds. These mixes exist because they are convenient and relatively cheap. You can also by yellow food colouring powder which is used in Spain as a cheap alternative to saffron.

                        I've done a bit of googling, and I have to say that I'm a bit mesmerized by the idea of a "paella mix". I've read a bunch of paella recipes, including the ones in Colman Andrews' Catalan Cuisine, and none of these recipes contain spices other than saffron. Some don't even have saffron in them. It all depends on the type of paella you want to make. If you're making a paella with chorizo and/or pimenton in it, skip the saffron and use colouring. You won't taste the difference.

                2. paulj Jan 26, 2013 07:10 PM

                  Even if you don't buy from them, importers like The Spanish Table give good information on the alternatives.

                  http://www.spanishtable.com/mm5/merch...
                  I have a couple of small tapas size enameled steel pans that are very handy around the kitchen. I also have 2 12" paella pans in the same material.

                  From a technique standpoint, the most important thing is to match the pan to your heat source. Trying to cook a 12" paella on a 8" electric hob will cook the rice unevenly.

                  Look up some videos of paella, including competitions in the streets of Spain.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: paulj
                    i
                    iliria Feb 3, 2013 03:57 AM

                    Thank you very much for the link. Some very useful info there.

                    I will be cooking on a gas hob and am looking to buy a pan that makes enough paella for 6-8 people.

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