Paella is a well loved dish and has become staple in many Filipino events like birthdays, Christenings, Weddings and during Christmas events. Paella can make any table look grand, lavish and inviting. It has a warm inviting feeling that will draw anyone to partake of its sumptuous and lavish contents.
Paella is inspired by the Spanish colonizers and is a Valencian rice dish that traces its roots to the coast of Spain near the city of Valencia. Paella is originally a Roman dish that wove its way to the heart of Spaniards and eventually the Filipinos.
There are different types of Paella, from the original Valencian Paella to the Filipino inspired vegetable Paella that we have today. Other varieties include seafood paella and mixed paella among many others. The main ingredients of Paella is white rice, green beans, meat, chicken or duck. Some Filipinos already add pork, sea foods and beans to put Filipino inspired taste on the Paella dishes they create. To make the Paella dish even more enticing some include additional ingredients like saffron, rosemary and snails and other exotic ingredients depending on which country and which season.
The name Paella is a Valencian or Catalan word, it is an Old French word paelle which means frying pan. In Latin it means patella for pan. Paella pans are usually reserved by the Spanish for cooking rice dishes. But there are also some claims that the term Paella came from Arabic words baqiyyah which means left overs from the 8th Century custom of Moorish kings servants. It is said that some servants of the King take home the rice, vegetable and chicken that were not eaten during the feast and tend to recook the food producing the Paella dish.
Over the years, the way Paella dish was cooked became intricate. Cooks and Chefs started adding fish and spices and began adding Paella dish for family gatherings and religious feasts like the ones we know today. This led to the habit of most Filipinos and Spaniards to add rich as a staple dish in every meal during the 15th Century. Later on, cooks already started combine rice with vegetables and beans and served it in elite families, after it has undergone many design changes.
Paella is in fact a reunion of the heritage between cultures, the Roman culture and the Arab culture, and finally Paella interwoven in the life of Spaniards and Filipinos.
During the 19th Century, the life and customs of people began to change in Spain making the festivities intricate. More gatherings in the countryside occur, leading to the Paella ingredients to become more abundant. Spaniards began adding chicken meat, rabbit, chicken and snails in the paella including different varieties of Fish. Today, it is normal for Paella to be served with crabs and other seashells.
Those in the Mediterranean cost reinvented Paella and began adding more seafood’s as part of its recipe which eventually led to the creation of Mixed Paella. The Paella dish became so popular in the 20th Century in Spain that the influence remains in the Philippines even if the Spaniards are long gone. Today you can see Paella rice with meat, sausage, chorizo, vegetables and even pineapples and red eggs. Every Chef from every part of the world have their own special way of creating Paella dishes according to culture and taste.
Cooking Paella over Fire
The original Paella was cooked over fire to retain its goodness. The burning firewood makes the flavor of the Paella extra strong. Recent additions in the Modern Paella now include red bell peppers, mussels, artichoke quarters, fresh peas and saffron for garnish. Some restaurants also add Spanish Paprika or smoked paprika.
Tips To Make Your Paella Dish Delicious
To create a successful Paella dish, you need to make sure to season the pan. Wash the pan using warm water and dry it using a cloth. Using a paper towel rub live oil over the entire pan and then place it in the oven on warm for a few minutes and then rub oil again. Avoid using a pan that is already rusty as it could affect the flavor, and always use quality olive oil. The trick of the Paella dish is the spices that go along with it.
Some of the top chef use Oregano and Parsley to make their Paella dish really stand out in flavor. When it comes to selecting the rice for the Paella, expert chefs would agree that you should select the short grain variety and not the long grain. Also not constantly stir, since Paella is cooked differently from Risotto. The goal is to make the top crisp and not creamy. You should also place prior importance in the stock where the rice was cooked in. You can also choose to add fennel and tomato to make the flavor much more enticing. Prepare a good quality fish stock and simmer the heads and the tails of the shellfish for about 25 minutes before adding so you can simmer in the marine flavors.
Paella is also a dish best served in the afternoon and out in the open instead of dinner time. It is a dish best suited for Sunday lunch, and over big gatherings to be truly appreciated.
Order Paella For Christmas
Paella makes any Christmas feast delightful. It is packed with almost every ingredient you can imagine from mussels to shrimps, chicken and pork. Almost every ingredient and meat you can think of could be included in Paella making it a staple favorite for parties.
However, cooking Paella is not so easy nowadays if you have a hectic schedule. Thankfully, you can simply pre-order Paella in your favorite restaurants in Metro Manila.
Where to Order the Best Paella in Makati?
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