The privileged location of Spain makes it the perfect place for finding the best quality ingredients for cooking. It has a diverse climate, productive lands, nutritious pastures, and access to several rivers, Mediterranean and Cantabrian Sea. Let alone the sub-tropical Canary Islands. All these attributes allow Spanish people to have a wide variety of ingredients, such as cereals, vegetables, grains, fruits, legumes, meats, dairy products, fish, to name a few.
With all these ingredients at hand, it is not a big surprise that all dishes made in this region have an extraordinary flavor. All activities in Spain are about food since it is an essential part of its culture and way of living.
Like its climate, Spanish gastronomy is very diverse. Typical meals range from simple tapas to elaborated and tasteful preparations. Olives, vegetables, olive oil, garlic, chicken, lamb, pork, seafood, and fish are just some of the most used products in Spanish kitchens.
Knowing Spanish gastronomy
All foods for this Mediterranean country are full of color and flavor as a representation of its rich tradition. Food and drink are undoubtedly some of the reasons Spain is recognized around the world.
One of the most emblematic Spanish dishes is Paella. It is a rice preparation flavored and colored with saffron. Among the ingredients, you can find different vegetables, chicken, pork, seafood, among others.
There are several variations of this traditional dish, so deciding which one is the best would be somewhat difficult. These variations respond to the way of cooking and ingredients used in every single region in Spain.
For example, in the coastal region of Valencia, the birthplace of Paella, this dish is made with rice, tomato, garlic, beans, pepper, onions, rabbit, chicken, duck, and snails. In Barcelona, people cook seafood Paella with rice, prawns, calamari, clams, mussels, shrimps, and some vegetables.
Luckily, there is also a vegetarian version of Paella. It was created for vegetarian people like us who want to taste delightful dishes without using any animal derived products. This vegetarian rice meal includes artichokes, mushrooms, asparagus, beans, olives, and peppers.
The best rice for making genuine Paella
Whatever type of Paella you decide to go for, the most important aspect to focus on is on getting the best quality ingredients. Once you get them, and with the right recipe and cooking technique, you will surely earn your diners’ applause.
In short, Paella consists of rice, vegetables, meats, and seasonings. Of all these components, rice is the start of the preparation, so it is important to use the right rice type.
There are almost 40,000 varieties of rice in the world but do not worry, there is a shorter grouping which classifies rice according to the grain size.
- Long-Grain Rice.
- Medium-Grain Rice.
- Short-Grain Rice.
The best paella rice is the short grain type, known as Bomba rice or Valencia rice. It is round and white, wider than larger. This rice variety absorbs more liquid when cooking, although keeping a firm texture. It is very starchy, chewy, and creamy which is perfect for making Paella.
So, choose all your ingredients wisely and start cooking an authentic Spanish Paella. At this time and to be faithful to our taste, we are going to learn how to make a genuine vegetarian Paella.
Ingredients (3 servings)
- 1 cup of Bomba rice.
- 2 cups of vegetable broth.
- Olive oil.
- 1 pinch of saffron threads.
- 2 chopped tomatoes.
- ¼ cup of red pepper.
- ½ cup of yellow onion.
- 2 cloves of garlic.
- 1 teaspoon of dried thyme.
- 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika.
- 1 teaspoon of sweet paprika.
- Salt and pepper.
- ½ jar of artichokes in oil.
- 1 finely chopped small zucchini.
- ½ finely chopped eggplant.
- 2 finely chopped carrots.
- ½ finely chopped red pepper.
- ¼ chopped broccoli.
- ¼ chopped cauliflower.
- ½ cup of peas.
- ½ cup of mushrooms.
- In a paella pan or wok, heat olive oil and add tomato, onion, and garlic. Cook until they are soft.
- Incorporate smoked paprika, sweet paprika, dried thyme, salt, and pepper. Sauté for 2 minutes.
- Place this mixture in a blender for making a tomato sauce.
- Return this tomato sauce to the paella pan and add more olive oil.
- Add artichokes, zucchini, eggplant, carrots, red pepper, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, and mushrooms. Combine all ingredients very well and cook for 10 minutes.
- Pour vegetable broth and rice. Simmer at low heat. Try to place rice evenly all over the paella pan.
- Cook for about 25 minutes or until the broth is completely absorbed.
- Taste it and add more salt and pepper if needed.
- Let it stand and serve.