Paella is essentially a Spanish dish, easy to prepare but complex as a whole. Probably, paella is the most iconic dish of Spanish gastronomy.
This traditional dish is made with rice and several different ingredients depending on the region and the type of paella. Then, its ingredients will vary from one region to another depending on where it is made. However, there are some ingredients such as rice, olive oil, and saffron that will always be present to make it a real paella.
In this delicious recipe, the short-grained rice is cooked together with olive oil and other ingredients in the pan. And the full paella experience comes when you share this special moment with friends, family…
Originally this dish was part of the diet of Valencian peasants, so paella origin has humble roots. Initially, it was made with chicken, duck, rabbit and snails, but its popularity has created many versions such as:
- Seafood paella
- Paella mixta, which combines sea and land ingredients
- Meat paella, which incorporates products from each region such as the butifarra (black pudding), mushrooms, pork ribs, and so on.
The name comes from the Valencian paella, or the Latin patella that means pan. It refers to the wide shallow container where the food is cooked but also to the Spanish rice-based dish.
What Does Paella Mean?
The meaning or definition of paella is for us even wider. Paella can be also the act of gathering with family or friends to cook and eat paella (we only eat it for lunch). So, the name can refer to:
- A rounded wide shallow pan. Learn what is paella pan.
- The Spanish typical dish
- A social act of gathering with somebody to cook and eat paella, preferably outdoors
¡Nos vamos de paella!
Tips for a perfect paella
Some of them are the following:
- the preparation of a good broth
- a suitable sofrito (sauté)
- the right type of rice
- the rice cooking method
- the use of olive oil
- fresh ingredients
- cook the paella preferably with firewood and a certain temperature
- leting the paella rest for a few minutes before serving it.
Another of the key aspects is the moment of sautéing the rice (for some, the right thing is before pouring the broth and for others, it should be done later).
One of the most frequently discussed issues is the ratio of rice to water, as well as how much paella rice per person in grams.
Finally, cooking paella rice the right way will allow the cook to perfect the dish.
Paella became an international dish from the 1960s, when European tourists visited Spain as a developing country that offered all kinds of attractions for the visitor. Spanish gastronomy was one of the keys to success, and paella ceased to be a dish of simple Valencian peasants and became an icon for tourists.
However, its popularity goes beyond its taste, as it has become a symbol of Spanish culture. In this sense, the millions of tourists who visit Spain want to know the famous paella and enjoy it preferably on an outdoor terrace.
Thus, the incipient tourism in Spain offered some attractive ingredients for visitors: good beaches, good parties and good food.