As we wrote in previous articles, a paella in Madrid is a very popular tradition in many other regions of Spain, but especially along the Mediterranean Sea. This popularity isn’t by chance, its a dish that can be personalized by everyone in its coloring and taste. We will give you some tips to cook your perfect version of this dish when you book a Paella Experience tour through What to do in Madrid.
Just to start, here are a few pointers:
- Use the appropriate rice. This is the main ingredient of the dish, so you have to choose the best one possible. If available to you, the best rice to cook a paella is the ‘bomba’ rice, which is a Spanish variant medium size. It absorbs the taste and the smell of the broth much better than the others.
- Do not move the rice when it is in the pan. If you do that, you n the risk of breaking the grains, especially if it isn’t the ‘bomba’ variety. All of your grains will be cooked properly though, if you follow the next four steps.
1. Use the appropriate pan. During your tour of the Paella Experience, you will use a special pan specifically for this dish. A complete circle that is bigger and flatter than others, it is without a long handle, but rather has two small ones on each side. In Spanish, they are called paella ( in Valencia) or paellera ( in the rest of Spain). If you don’t happen to pick one of these up on your tour as a souvenir and you want to remake this dish once you are home, then use the flattest one you can find in your kitchen.
2. An evenly distributed heat is necessary for making this dish, otherwise the rice will get too cooked in the center of the pan or too hard around the hottest sections. In a gas kitchen there are special diffusers you can buy from Spanish ironmongers. For electric stove tops, without your special pan, use a pan that spreads the heat evenly. These can be found in most supermarkets.
3. Bring the broth to a high boil to begin with, then after five minutes move the temperature to medium level and keep a close eye on it. When most of the broth has been absorbed, turn the heat off and let it stand for a while.
4. If at this point you sample the rice and feel it is still too hard in some place, do not add more liquid, simply cover the pan with a cloth after the heat is turned off, and let it stand for at least 10 more minutes.
Of course, you should measure all the amounts, especially for the broth and the rice. A standard measurement is 1 kg for every 2.5 litres of broth. Take that into account when following these instructions and you will have standard amounts for at least 9-10 people, so adjust your serving and cooking sizes appropriately. The ideal amount for one person is 100 grams.
- Sauté the rice and the first ingredients before adding the broth so that they absorb more taste and release a delicious sauce.
- Do not use just water from the tap to cook the rice, use the broth that is left from boiling the shellfish in a separate container from earlier.
If you follow all of these tips, we are sure that you will cook the best paella in Madrid during your cooking experience and you will delight your friends and family when you go back home.