"Discover Cooking, Discuss Life."

Go Back   Discuss Cooking - Cooking Forums > General Cooking Information > General Cooking
Click Here to Login
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 12-27-2019, 06:52 AM   #1
Assistant Cook
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: Madrid
Posts: 21
My thread about Authentic Paella

Hi all,

Following the suggestions I got, let me start a thread where I will try to explain my vision of what is happening with paella. In my opinion, as food lovers and cooks you may appreciate this info.

I’m running a website with the aim of spreading authentic paella recipes among English speakers. After traveling a lot and living abroad I’m sure people don’t really know what’s a real authentic paella. Even many Spanish restaurants all over the world don´t offer honest authentic recipes.

That is really a shame because authentic paella can be gorgeous.

Finally, let me say I’m Spanish and that’s why my English is not perfect :)

What is paella?

Paella is 3 things for us:
A delicious rice dish
The wide pan
The act of getting together for cooking and eating paella. Something social

Where is paella from?

Paella is from Spain, but specifically from Valencia region (eastern Spain), where I was born and raised. It is said that it was created about the 18th century.

What ingredients usually have Spanish Paella?

I will depend on the paella type, but basically:
  • Medium-grain rice (paella rice types: Senia, Bomba…)
  • Meat like chicken thighs, chopped pork ribs, rabbit…
  • Seafood like prawns, calamari, kingfish, cuttlefish, clams, lobster...
  • Vegetables like butter and runner beans, red pepper, artichokes, onion, garlic...
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Grated tomato
  • Saffron, fresh parsley
  • Garlic
  • Salt
  • Stock (chicken, seafood/fish, vegetables, pork…)
  • Smoked paprika

How many types of paella are there?

Based on the water added they can be:
  • Seco. The rice is dry, light and not sticking together, perfectly "done"
  • Meloso. Creamy. There is still a bit of dense stock
  • Caldoso. Soupy rice, when rice floats in stock. The pan, then, is a cauldron instead
Considering the main ingredients, they can be:
  • Meat (normally with some vegetables)
  • Seafood (they can contain some vegetables)
  • Vegetarian/vegan
  • Mixed (vegetables, meat and seafood)
Both basic kinds can be usually combined, for example:
  • Meat and dry: Paella Valenciana
  • Seafood and dry: Black Paella
  • Vegetarian and dry: Vegetable paella
  • Mixed and dry: Mixed paella
  • Meat and creamy: Creamy rice with pork ribs (Arroz meloso con costillas)
  • Meat and soupy: Rice with rabbit (Arroz con conejo)
  • Seafood and creamy: Seafood paella (Paella de marisco)
  • Seafood and soupy: Rice with lobster (Arroz con bogavante)

To end up, we could add another type of dish called Arroz al horno, which could be called baked rice. It mainly contains pork and vegetables. I can assure you it's delicious. (In my top 3 of favorite rice dishes)

Authentic Paella vs Fake Authentic Paella

The web is flooded with fake paellas promoted as “authentic”, “traditional” or “classic”. They can be nice, but this is not paella.

I usually compare them with the case of pizza, the authentic with just 3 fresh ingredients vs pizza hut and similars with barbecue sauce, pineapple...

So:

Seafood Paella

It can be the most famous all over the world. This recipe’s main characters are the rice, of course, and the stock without forgetting the sauté (sofrito). Most recipes don´t even talk about stock or sauté and try to bring some seafood flavor to plain boiled rice with tons of prawns, mussels...
For a proper Seafood Paella, you first prepare a seafood/fish stock that you will add in instead of water.

Seafood Paella in Spain



Top Seafood Paella (according to Google USA)



There is no trace of stock, sauté… she boils rice and add everything on top. Furthermore, she dares to say she stir rice all the time and the result is good when this practice is a sin because it makes a rice dough instead of paella.

Paella Valenciana

This is the original one, the precursor of paellas. The recipe is very strict with the method and ingredients. It’s basically a meat and vegetable paella (never seafood). The big difference with the rest of Spanish Paella recipes is you make the stock while making the paella, not in advance.

Paella Valenciana in Spain



Top Paella Valenciana (According to Google USA)



Chopped tomato, green beans, are these onion sleeves? Where is the meat?



No comments.



Is this a risotto? They are using risotto rice, which changes the method and results.

Authentic Meat Paella

This is not a recipe per se, but it gathers all meat-based authentic paellas.

Spain (I made this one)



Google USA (Top results)



The first one with seafood and chorizo, the second one is called “traditional Spanish paella” (judge it yourself) and the one on your right-hand side "classic Spanish paella" with Thai rice.


What are the sins of authentic paella?

Basically, it's worth saying that missing the 3 pillars of paella can ruin the dish: broth/stock, sauté, right rice type but there are other considerations than will definitely help to spoil the result.
  • Lemon. Lemon juice helps mask rice flavors and fragrances. As an amateur cook, I know when someone doesn't like my rice when they squeeze lemon on it. I like it for decoration on seafood rice, though.
  • Never stir the rice after the moment the stock starts boiling. Paella is not risotto.
  • Don't add cold stock if the water has evaporated too quickly, just try it as much as it makes you confident.
  • The rice is the main character, don't saturate the paella with more pieces of meat, fish or vegetables than rice. I've seen lots of paella pictures where you can barely see the rice, that's unacceptable.
  • Furthermore, avoid long-grain rice as it does not absorb the stock nor the flavor.
  • Be careful with the tomato amount, you can easily ruin a paella by adding too much tomato.
  • Rice cooked in a saucepan will never be a paella but a rice dough unless the rice depth is no larger than +-4 cm.
  • We love wine in Spain, but we never pour wine to a paella, not even white whine.
  • Egg??!! :(
  • Spanish chorizo: no, traditional paella don't have chorizo

I hope you find this interesting and it helps you to distinguish authentic paella recipes among all those free interpretations.

Please feel free to ask, I will try to clarify things about “authentic” authentic paellas ;)

__________________

__________________
Paellarecipes.top
Paellator is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-27-2019, 01:02 PM   #2
Senior Cook
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Posts: 106
One at a bbq party I attended :)


__________________

GimmeAnother1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-27-2019, 02:06 PM   #3
Assistant Cook
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: Madrid
Posts: 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by GimmeAnother1 View Post
One at a bbq party I attended :)


Coal! That's very rare for paellas in Spain, I never saw it in person but I'm sure the result was good. At least, it seems properly done.

Regarding the tender broad beans, it is a pity they added them on the top once the rice was almost done. I would have put in the beans during the sauté stage.

Regards
__________________
Paellarecipes.top
Paellator is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2019, 07:58 AM   #4
Master Chef
 
CraigC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 6,288
Traditional and authentic are BS words. They belong associated with what any family in the region of the dish makes, not what some so called chef calls traditional or authentic.
__________________
Emeralds are real Gems! C. caninus and C. batesii.
CraigC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2019, 02:42 PM   #5
Chef Extraordinaire
 
Kayelle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: south central coast/California
Posts: 13,995
That's very interesting information and I thank you for that, however, you'll never convince an American cook of any food being "authentic".
__________________
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but rather by the moments that take our breath away.

Kayelle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-29-2019, 05:01 PM   #6
Assistant Cook
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: Madrid
Posts: 21
I understand your points of view. And I assume everybody is free to cook the way they want, of course.

The main objective of my post is to let you know how is the authentic paella. Most of us love to cook and to eat, and I guessed you may want to know how a proper paella should be made.

All of these ingredient-crowded paellas need them to bring some flavor to the mouth. However, paellas don't contain many ingredients, and the flavor comes basically due to the broth and the sauté.
Then, rice acts as a flavor conveyor from the plate to the mouth. That's why is key to choose the right grain type.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CraigC View Post
Traditional and authentic are BS words. They belong associated with what any family in the region of the dish makes, not what some so called chef calls traditional or authentic.
Paella Valenciana recipe (the mother of all Spanish paella types) is "supported" by a Denomination of Origin, which regulates and preserves the ingredients list and the cooking method to preserve the authenticity.
__________________
Paellarecipes.top
Paellator is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-31-2019, 05:57 AM   #7
Master Chef
 
CraigC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 6,288
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paellator View Post
I understand your points of view. And I assume everybody is free to cook the way they want, of course.

The main objective of my post is to let you know how is the authentic paella. Most of us love to cook and to eat, and I guessed you may want to know how a proper paella should be made.

All of these ingredient-crowded paellas need them to bring some flavor to the mouth. However, paellas don't contain many ingredients, and the flavor comes basically due to the broth and the sauté.
Then, rice acts as a flavor conveyor from the plate to the mouth. That's why is key to choose the right grain type.




Paella Valenciana recipe (the mother of all Spanish paella types) is "supported" by a Denomination of Origin, which regulates and preserves the ingredients list and the cooking method to preserve the authenticity.
I don't care what some group designates a dish, authentic and traditional belong to the FAMILY making it!
__________________
Emeralds are real Gems! C. caninus and C. batesii.
CraigC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2020, 05:00 PM   #8
Master Chef
 
caseydog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Dallas
Posts: 5,597
Quote:
Originally Posted by CraigC View Post
I don't care what some group designates a dish, authentic and traditional belong to the FAMILY making it!
If a family has a tradition of making "Hawaiian Gumbo," with tuna, spam and pineapple, would that qualify as "authentic or traditional?"

There will always be variations in "traditional" recipes, but at some point, I think a gumbo stops being a gumbo, and a paella stops being a paella.

Just my two cents.

CD
__________________
“People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.” Winnie-the-Pooh
caseydog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2020, 12:40 AM   #9
Master Chef
 
caseydog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Dallas
Posts: 5,597
BTW, I have had paella in Madrid... and Torremolinos, and Barcelona. I have also had it in the US. The paella at the Versailles on Calle Ocho in Miami was pretty darned close to Spanish paella. The rest has been like pizza -- same name, different meal.

Now, that is not saying that the paella I had in the US tasted bad, but it was not the same. It has always seemed like people feel a need to "kick it up a notch."

When I finally get the nerve up to make paella, I want it to be as much like what I ate in Spain as possible. So, thanks Paellator for the recipe and advice.

CD
__________________
“People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.” Winnie-the-Pooh
caseydog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2020, 06:25 AM   #10
Assistant Cook
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: Madrid
Posts: 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by caseydog View Post
So, thanks Paellator for the recipe and advice.
CD
My pleasure

I'm from the Valencia region, where paella is from and I've been eating paella and Spanish rice dishes all my life, it is my favorite dish.
And I've always seen a cooking path/method not only in restaurants but in families and the result is most of times similar. For me, that is a "traditional/authentic way to make them".

And for example, the Chorizo Paella is not traditional nor Spanish, but it is on the web (see here). The excuse is because I'm presenting a chorizo paella made following the traditional cooking method.

(I could be banned from Spain because of promoting a paella with chorizo as traditional )
__________________
Paellarecipes.top
Paellator is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2020, 07:03 AM   #11
Master Chef
 
CraigC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 6,288
Quote:
Originally Posted by caseydog View Post
If a family has a tradition of making "Hawaiian Gumbo," with tuna, spam and pineapple, would that qualify as "authentic or traditional?"

There will always be variations in "traditional" recipes, but at some point, I think a gumbo stops being a gumbo, and a paella stops being a paella.

Just my two cents.

CD

If you payed more attention to my first post (where I said with in the region where a dish is made), then you would see how ridiculous your analogy is.
__________________

__________________
Emeralds are real Gems! C. caninus and C. batesii.
CraigC is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
paella

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off





Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:31 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
×