Paella Valenciana

Paella Valenciana

7000 Islands
Jana Liebenstein

There are a number of good cooks in my family. When there is a party, troops are rallied, all welcoming the call to action. Each person is known for a dish; for example, my cousin Marie does a mean crispy pata, while my Tita Merlene, is known for her pancit. There are other reputed cooks in town, who take orders for their specialty, such as paella, to be delivered on the festive day.

With its mixed meats and seafood, elaborate paella Valenciana is classic fiesta fare. It is also sized for a party. Calasparra and bomba are short-grain Spanish rice varieties from delis and specialist food stores, but carnaroli or arborio can be used instead.


Quantity Ingredient
2 litres chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
1 large red capsicum
6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
5 ripe roma tomatoes, peeled and seeded
60ml olive oil
250g dried chorizo, cut into 1 cm thick slices
500g chicken thigh fillets, each cut into four pieces
400g pork fillet, cut into 1 cm thick slices
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons smoked spanish paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons salt flakes
500g calasparra or bomba rice
750g medium raw prawns, peeled and deveined, tails left intact
400g snapper or blue eye trevalla fillet, cut into 3 cm pieces
4 small squid, cleaned and tubes cut into 1 cm thick rings
flat-leaf parsley leaves, to serve
kalamansi, to serve
or lemon wedges, to serve


  1. Place the stock, saffron and 250 ml water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat, cover, and set aside to infuse.
  2. Meanwhile, place the capsicum and garlic on an open gas flame or under a preheated grill on high. Cook the garlic for 5 minutes and the capsicum for 8 minutes, turning occasionally or until heavily blackened. Place in a bowl and cool for 5 minutes, then carefully open the capsicum (the juices will still be very hot), remove the seeds, then peel and discard the skin and peel the garlic. Place the garlic, capsicum and tomatoes in a food processor and process to a purée.
  3. Turn all four burners on to medium heat — this will ensure the large pan is heated evenly. Place half of the olive oil in a 38 cm paella pan or 2 large frying pans. Add the chorizo, chicken and pork, and cook for 2 minutes on each side, or until golden, then transfer to a plate. Add the remaining oil and the onion, paprika and salt, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring until soft. Add the rice and stir for 2 minutes, or until translucent. Add the tomato mixture and return the cooked meats to the pan, stirring to combine.
  4. Add the hot stock to the pan and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low–medium and cook for 25 minutes, without stirring, or until the rice is almost tender and three-quarters of the liquid has been absorbed — rotate the pan every 2 minutes to ensure it cooks evenly. Scatter over the prawns and fish, then push into the rice. Scatter over the squid and cook for a further 5 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the seafood almost cooked. Remove from the heat, cover the paella pan loosely with foil and allow to stand for a further 5 minutes to finish cooking the seafood and for any remaining liquid to be absorbed. Scatter with parsley and serve with kalamansi.

Where does it come from?

  • Filipino paella Valenciana is a direct descendant of the Spanish dish of the same name. The original, from Valencia, was made with chicken or rabbit, snails, beans and saffron. The dish arrived with colonial power, along with imported ingredients to recreate it in part; local produce was needed to fill the gaps. Substitutes for the Spanish produce were still lavish for locals and the colonisers’ dish was reinforced as fiesta fare.
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