Sunday, August 19, 2012

Paella de Marisco (Seafood Paella)

An eternal favourite. Sea food lover, spicy food. Spanish cooking, just homemade comfort food, or for the dinner date you want to impress with your cooking skills (mind you keeping a bottle of wine comes in handy if you hope to keep the evening going).

Been planning to put up my own take on this for quite some time, and today finally did it. Kind of a celebratory Eid lunch with one of my best mates from school- That's him as the sou-chef in the pictures.

Interesting trivia- The Catalan word 'palella'  is derived from the Latin root- 'Patella' which means pan- just like the old Hindi word, "Patila".

Ingredients (Serves 4):

Great thing about living in Oman, you end up getting the freshest sea food you can imagine,. The Fish market at the Corniche in Muscat is a foodie's delight.

Rice (Arroz)- 2 cups, preferably brown; suggested that you soak rice overnight for faster cooking.
Tomato- 5 ripe medium sized
Octopus/ Squid- 300 gm, chopped small
Shrimp- 300 gm
Mussels- 200 gm, shelled
Fresh clams- 500 gm, cleaned in shell
Garlic- 6 medium sized cloves, shredded
Red chilli- 6 large, dried
Pepper- 2 tsp peppercorns
Chilli powder- 2 tsp
Bay leafs- 5 large
Olive Oil- 5 tbsp
Chicken/ fish stock- 1/2 cup (Not a strict requirement, but does add flavour to rice).
Salt- To taste

Preparation (Approx 1.5 hrs):

Clean clams and boil them on a medium flame for 5 mins. Chop tomatoes finely. Puree in blender to a fine slush.

Fresh clams- almost right off the boat


Remove clams and replace with chopped octopus for 10 mins. Remove and preserve stock for later. Heat 3 tbsp of olive oil on medium flame. Add shrimps, once they start  getting soft stir in the mussels. Cook on low flame for five mins. Remove shrimps and mussels from fire, throw in the garlic. Lower flame and keep stirring till garlic turns translucent. 

Add in tomato puree. Keep on medium flame for ten minutes. Add rice, chicken stock, cover and cook for twenty minutes. Add chopped octopus along with 1 tbsp olive oil. Adding oil at this juncture, helps trap the flavour of the octopus in the broth rather than let it escape with the steam.

Cook on low flame so that the rice can absorb the flavours from the other ingredients. Keep the mixture flowing easily, if required add the stock from the clam and  octopus. After about twenty minutes add in the shrimp, mussels and clams. Add pepper, bay leaves, chilli powder, remaining olive oil.
Voila! And we are all ready to go.

 Cover and let it simmer for ten minutes on a low flame. Serve hot.

  • As I mentioned earlier a bottle of wine adds something to it. My current favourite- Rioja Tinto from Spain. Else you could always take it easy with 'clara' (more about  this in the upcoming blog on easy-on-the-fly cocktails), a glass or two of 'Sangria' or even sparkling water.
  • If you are really out to make the kill, suggest keeping a good CD on hand. Might I suggest flamenco. :)

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