Paella is just as popular in the Philippines as it is elsewhere. It is a flavorful rice laden with chicken, chorizo, seafood, and vegetables. This recipe may not be the most traditional, but it is an easy, one-pan meal you can make in no time.
You may like to try Beef Caldereta, another Filipino dish inspired by Spanish cuisine.
Ingredients you'll need
Notes and substitutions
- Rice: Short or medium-grain rice is the best type to use, but never long-grain variety. Bomba, a short-grain variety, is a popular choice but may not be widely available. I always use arborio rice; it soaks up flavors without bursting, and the grains stay separate.
- Saffron: It has a very subtle flavor and aroma. Just a tiny amount gives Paella its distinct golden color. In a pinch, you can use turmeric, annatto, or paprika as a substitute to mimic its color.
- Chicken broth or stock: You can also use shellfish or vegetable stock. The amount of liquid you'll need may vary depending on the type of rice. It is usually helpful to refer to the package instructions for the ratio of rice to water.
- Proteins and vegetables: Rice is the star of the dish, so the proteins and vegetables may vary depending on your preference.
How to make this recipe
(1)Over medium-high heat, brown the chorizo in a bit of oil. Transfer to a plate.
(2)Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Sear it quickly for about a minute, partially cooking it. Transfer to a plate.
(3)Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Sear for about two minutes on each side, adding oil as needed. Transfer to a plate.
(4)Over medium heat, combine garlic, onion, and tomatoes with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
PRO TIP: For a more flavorful sofrito, pulse the garlic, onion, and tomatoes in a blender or food processor until finely chopped.
(5)Gently sauté for 15-20 minutes, adding more oil as needed. Sofrito is ready when it has caramelized, becomes darker, and has a paste-like consistency.
(6)Stir the rice into the sofrito. Add the chicken and chorizo. (7)Add chicken broth and saffron soaked in warm water. Mix together and let it come to a boil.
(8)Nestle the clams into the rice. Cover and cook over low heat for about 20 minutes. Don't stir it so it won't become creamy.
(9)Add shrimp, frozen peas, and red bell pepper. Cover for another 10 minutes until the rice is cooked and the liquid has been absorbed. Discard any clams that did not open.
(10)To get the socarrat, uncover and turn up the heat for another five minutes. Add fresh parsley, lemon wedges, and a drizzle of olive oil.
Paella is best enjoyed hot with a layer of toasty, nutty socarrat.
Frequently asked questions
Paella is a Valencian word that means frying pan, where the dish is traditionally cooked and eaten. In other parts of Spain, Paella is the dish, while paellera refers to the pan.
Besides using the right kind of rice and a flavorful broth, sofrito is essential to a good Paella. It is an aromatic base that contains onions, garlic, tomatoes, and olive oil. A long, gentle sauté is necessary until the aromatics are caramelized and sweet.
Socarrat, the almost burnt layer of rice that forms on the bottom of the pan, is loved for its nutty flavor and crispy texture. It is achieved by turning up the heat during the last few minutes of cooking.
The original Paella originated in Valencia, Spain. Chicken, rabbit, and snails are typically used, but never seafood.
In the Philippines or other places outside Valencia, the dish is called Arroz Valenciana or Arroz a la Valenciana. It is a Valencian-style rice dish with similar ingredients. While the names may vary, it is essentially the same flavorful rice reminiscent of the original Paella.
Socarrat is the crispy, almost burnt crust that sticks to the bottom of the pan. It is achieved by turning up the heat in the last few minutes of cooking. Purists consider it a guarantee of a good Paella.
Paella is traditionally cooked over an open fire in a paellera. It is a round, shallow pan with a handle on each side. The bottom is flat and wide, where rice spreads in a thin layer, usually no thicker than half an inch. If that isn't available, use a large skillet or sauté pan that fits on your stovetop for even heat distribution.
Watch how I make it here
Other rice recipes you may like
Did you make this recipe? I would love to know! Your feedback helps me make better recipes. Please rate, review, or comment below. Questions about this recipe are welcome, too!
- 12-inch skillet or sauté pan
- 1 Spanish chorizo link about 3 ounces; cut into small pieces
- 8 ounces chicken breast or thighs cut into small pieces
- 6 ounces shrimp deveined; shelled or unshelled
- 10-12 Manila or littleneck clams soaked and scrubbed
- 1 medium yellow onion minced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup finely chopped ripe tomatoes
- Saffron a small pinch (about 15 threads); steeped in 1 tablespoon of warm water
- 1 cup arborio rice sub:short or medium-grain variety
- 2 cups chicken broth or stock sub:shellfish or vegetable stock
- ½ red bell pepper cut into strips
- ¼ cup peas fresh or frozen
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Extra-virgin olive oil for sautéing
- Lemon slices optional
- Fresh parsley optional
- Over medium-high heat, brown the chorizo in a bit of oil. Transfer to a plate.
- Season the shrimp and chicken with salt and pepper. Sear them quickly, adding oil as needed. Transfer to a plate.
- Over medium heat, combine garlic, onion, and tomatoes with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
- Gently sauté for 15-20 minutes, adding more oil as needed. Sofrito is ready when it has caramelized, becomes darker, and has a paste-like consistency.
- Stir the rice into the sofrito, then add the chicken and chorizo.
- Add chicken broth and saffron soaked in warm water. Mix together and let it come to a boil.
- Nestle the clams into the rice. Cover and cook over low heat for about 20 minutes. Don't stir it so it won't become creamy.
- Add shrimp, frozen peas, and red bell pepper. Cover for another 10 minutes until the rice is cooked and the liquid has been absorbed. Discard any clams that did not open.
- To get the socarrat, uncover and turn up the heat for another five minutes.
- Add fresh parsley, lemon wedges, and a drizzle of olive oil.