I have been to Spain twice and paella is a big part of Spanish cuisine. There are different kinds of Paella in Spain depending on the Region, but in general, they all use the same basic rules to make the paella taste amazing! Vegetable paella has an amazing rich flavour, it is a hearty, filling comfortable food to offer your family and friends!
The basics of Vegetable Paella
In Spain they use a special Spanish rice, which is kind of hard to find in other places in Europe and across the Globe. I have personally talked to people in Spain , which rice would be the most similar to spanish rice and the answer was always – risotto rice. That’s right! Risotto rice has similar properties of Spanish rice, it is larger in size and tends to swell and absorb all the goodness in it while cooking. I have seen many paella recipes with Basmati Rice and other kinds, please do not fall in that. Those kinds of rice and very different in flavour and shape, it won’t suit for Paella!
Paella has very particular set of spices, which is easy to overdo sometimes. I am myself a person who likes experimenting and adding all kinds of spices, but Spanish people stick a simple set of alt, pepper, rosemary smoked paprika and saffron. However, saffron is quite an expensive spice and if you are on a budget, I recommend using turmeric ( for its yellow colour and incredible health benefits, which I mentioned in this post: Turmeric Cinnamon Latte
Fry without stirring
Authentic Spanish paella has its special crusty bottom, which is achieved by really frying it without constant stirring. Often recipes advice you to stir once in a while all the ingredients in the pan. However, in the paella it is better not to stir after we added all the ingredients to let the bottom to crisp. That is another authentic sign of paella.
Typical spanish paella pans are wide enough to be able to spread the rice over the large surface. Even if you don’t own a paella pan, you can use a usual frying pan with enough width to be able to spread the rice evenly on the bottom to let it fry and crisp. Do not use pots, they are great, but just not for Paella.
Here I found a great paella pan options for the US and The UK Amazon. They come with a lid, which is rare for paella pans, but this lid is so useful and really needed to get the rice cook well enough.
250 g Risotto rice
550 ml Vegetable stock
100 g Tomato sauce
4 Garlic cloves
50 g Green peas
1 tbsp Turmeric powder
1 tbsp Smoked sweet paprika
Salt and Pepper
Chop the vegetables roughly and mince the garlic
Preheat the pan with some oil and add the chopped champignons first, stir fry them until some liquid comes out, after that add carrots, zucchini and onions and stir fry again for 5 minutes. Then add the garlic, as its cooking time is shorter. Saute the garlic on a pan until it becomes golden and you feel the aroma
Add the tomato sauce, smoked paprika, turmeric, rosemary, salt and pepper and saute for another 2-3 minutes, let the vegetables infuse the sauce and then pour the vegetable stock and bring it to a boil
Once boiled, carefully spread the rice over the pan, and do not stir anymore. Once boiled, lower the heat and cover with a lid and simmer for 15 minutes
Lastly, open the lid and increase the heat for the last 5 minutes of cooking so that the rice on the bottom will caramelize
Serve the paella with some lemon on the side and enjoy