01 May2009

A Casual Paella Dinner

by Marketman

paella1

The occasion was a promised dinner and “group viewing” of the No Reservations Philippines episode (we did this over a month ago). Many thanks to reader Jun for uploading, and friend RM, who downloaded at “high speed” a clear copy of the show. I was a bit freaked out when I realized that my $1.99 legitimately purchased itunes copy could NOT be copied onto a DVD for tv viewing… Anyway, the casual dinner date was set. Invitations went out by text, attire was shorts or equally casual outfits. Friends and many of them fellow bloggers, came for a simple menu featuring a couple, turned into three, paellas. Guests brought the wine, we ordered dessert (a cake from Roshan) and it was an easy evening of eating, watching television and chatting…

paella4

My paellas tend to be chock-full of “laman” or meat and seafood, but the more I read into authentic paellas, it seems they really shouldn’t have too much to distract from the flavored rice. So this time around, I tried to cut the meat and seafood and concentrate on the rice. I was only half successful, and could cut back more. I have posted recipes for my paella, both the tomato based one and the black squid ink one before, check the archives. This time around I made a large “red paella” with chicken, pork and sausage; a medium paella with black squid ink, squid, prawns, fish and crab; and a small red paella without pork and only with chicken and seafood. They were “thinner” than my usual paellas and I was definitely going for socarrat or tutong. I also envisioned eating it straight from the pan with these indiidual wooden spoons but for many pinoys, that was just a bit too cootie-sharing style, if you know what I mean.

paella3

Traditionally, you would mark your portion or “territory” on the pan, like large pizza wedges, and you could eat straight from the pan with your wooden spoons. Instead, we set up a buffet and everyone took what they wanted and ate it however they pleased.

paella2

It was a very relaxed dinner with one of the most interesting and shocking (for some friends and guests) discussions on intestinal parasites later in the evening. It would be the cause of several post dinner emails on the topic that had everyone rolling on the floor laughing… Oh, and one last tip if you make paella at home. We use a weber grill and have had really good results. Take the paella off the flames when it is cooked but still a little wet/soupy then cover with several sheets of newspaper and let it steam in its own juices for a few minutes before serving. Paella, salad and cake for 12… a nice relaxed evening with friends.

 

COMMENTS:

  1. britelite says:

    cheers MM!

    May 1, 2009 | 8:35 am

     
  2. Mari says:

    They looked delicious! Funny tho, I was just thinking of making Paella or considering making Paella for my mother-in-law on mother’s day…hmmm.

    May 1, 2009 | 8:40 am

     
  3. aprilful says:

    I have been a long time lurker but couldn’t resist leaving a comment. I have referred to your paella recipe so many times, and even bought a paellera from Manila. The paella was a big HIT! Thanks for sharing!

    May 1, 2009 | 9:06 am

     
  4. lee says:

    The Paella is the most informed in terms of current event among cooked food. Some variants like the red paella love to steam while reading the entertainment section with its steaming blind items. The black paella always begs to view the obituaries.

    May 1, 2009 | 9:10 am

     
  5. Apicio says:

    I do that final tight covering too just to free myself of my major apprehension about turning out paella and risotto or any other main rice dish like biryani that they will come out not fully cooked. Hindi inin in Tagalog. The centre of the rice grains still displaying telltale chalky uncooked core. The first couple of risottos I ordered from otherwise good Italian restaurants turned out this way and almost turned me off of risotto. No self-respecting Asian would eat undercooked rice, I said to myself.

    May 1, 2009 | 9:36 am

     
  6. Marketman says:

    Apicio, nothing worse than chalky rice, a personal pet peeve. And yes, the newspaper trick seems to alleviate me of the recurrent stress associated with “what if” the rice is still hard… lee, you are having a slow(er) day I suspect to come up with a four line comment… it must be the labor day holiday. aprilful, so glad the recipe worked for you… now that you have tried it, feel free to experiment with it by adding other ingredients or taking some away…

    May 1, 2009 | 10:20 am

     
  7. shootfirsteatlater says:

    so the trick is in the newspaper! last time i made paella with your recipe i covered the pan w/ a metal lid and placed it on top a an electric warmer to keep it warm for the guests. It turned into mush!! what a disaster. the first time i made your recipe it was a hit because we ate it as soon as it came off the grill.

    May 1, 2009 | 11:50 am

     
  8. Marketman says:

    shootfirsteatlater, you MUST, in my opinion, eat a paella within 10-15 minutes of it’s coming off the flames. It CANNOT keep and retain its supreme post fire yumminess. The newspaper trick is good for just 5-7 minutes, then you must remove that as well. Treat paella (though not quite as fickle) like a bowl of pasta or even a risotto, it is best soon after it is cooked.

    May 1, 2009 | 11:56 am

     
  9. shootfirsteatlater says:

    I agree that rice should be the star in a paella. Take a look at this paella I had recently at Cafe Ysabel http://www.shootfirsteatlater.com/2009/03/dinner-at-cafe-ysabel.html the ratio of meat and seafood to rice must have been 5 to 1. I don’t know what they were thinking. Rice is so much cheaper they should have used more. And I don’t know why they don’t make the container bigger too.

    May 1, 2009 | 12:00 pm

     
  10. shootfirsteatlater says:

    marketman, that would be ideal but my guests don’t know the meaning of “on time”. next time we should just go ahead and eat without the late comers so my paella won’t suffer. thanks!

    May 1, 2009 | 12:02 pm

     
  11. mrs lavendula says:

    sounds like fun! my sister loves paella. ill send her this link, im sure she’ll drool over the pictures! hehehe!

    May 1, 2009 | 12:16 pm

     
  12. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    Hmmm…..I should try the newspaper trick. I normally finished my paella in the oven with a sheet of foil on top.

    Lee….You made me laugh with your newspaper analysis. Maybe I should try the food section to help the paella.

    Shootfirsteatlater..I normally wait for half my guests to arrive before I start cooking the paella. Then we have drinks and wait for the paella to finish. This way, we have it when its ready and everyone is hungry from waiting. hehehe

    May 1, 2009 | 1:21 pm

     
  13. siopao says:

    What newspaper do you use? PDI, bulletin or Star? hahaha! :)

    you can convert your itunes videos (or just about any video format) to DVD easily with the right software… google is your friend

    just do a search for “convert itunes video to dvd”

    May 1, 2009 | 2:16 pm

     
  14. Tricia says:

    Is it safe to use newspaper???

    May 1, 2009 | 2:26 pm

     
  15. lee says:

    Hi Artisan Chocolatier… good thing the paella pans are much too wide for the tabloids like Bandera and Abante… I don’t want the steaming rice to be exposed to some of the columns inside those tabloids… Now how do I know those things??? oops

    May 1, 2009 | 3:25 pm

     
  16. Eileen says:

    Those paellas look YUMMY! :)

    May 1, 2009 | 3:39 pm

     
  17. Tok Espino says:

    MM,thanks for the post! sana mailuto ko dito sa Saudi yang paella.

    MM, ano kaya ang magandang gawin sa KUBOS?madami kasi d2 nasasayang lang after meal.

    May 1, 2009 | 3:45 pm

     
  18. shootfirsteatlater says:

    artisan
    good idea! make them wait. i’ll do that the next time.

    May 1, 2009 | 4:11 pm

     
  19. Lou says:

    MM, I’m a longtime fan of your blog since the days I was living in HK (moved to Vancouver recently). Those paellas look absolutely scrumptious! May I ask where you got your paella pans? It’s something I’ve been thinking about buying….

    May 1, 2009 | 4:19 pm

     
  20. Marketman says:

    Lou, I purchased mine at a Spanish goods store near Makati Avenue many years back. They sell them at Terry’s on Pasong tamo as well. But if you are in Vancouver, I suspect you can just mail order a pan rather easily…

    Tok, siguro naman kayang kaya mo lutuin ang paella sa Saudi. Palitan lang ang ibang mga sangkap at siguro wala kang makitang chorizo dahil may baboy ito. Anong ibig sabihin ng “kubos’? :)

    Tricia, the newspaper doesn’t touch the paella but rather holds in and absorbs the steam. It can’t be any more harmful that wrapping produce in newspaper as is sometimes done. Or worse, I suspect it’s less risky than crossing EDSA from a “OMG I could get run over” point of view or worse “I inhaled what in less than 2 minutes” point of view… :)

    siopao, if you want to be really sosyal, use The Herald Tribune or the Financial Times, the paper quality seems a touch better. I am JOKING, of course, egads, the fishpans are at the ready.

    shootfirsteatlater, when we first moved home, we always freaked out by how late dinner guests arrived. We started NOT inviting back chronic late arrivals and I can tell you that now, most of our guests show up within 15 minutes of the scheduled time or they are lucky to get dessert. It’s all a matter of training and expectations.

    Artisan, try the newspaper rather than the foil and oven… it works quite nicely.

    May 1, 2009 | 5:16 pm

     
  21. Tok Espino says:

    Thanks MM,dami ko ngang experiment dito sa Saudi pero di ko kaya ang KUBOS.(Kubos-tinapay ng Saudis bilog ang hugis na manipis at walang lasa.Dip in various saudi sauce) minsan naisip ko gawing lumpia wrapper. anyway share ko din sa inyong lahat pag na work-out ko. God Bless MM!

    May 1, 2009 | 6:05 pm

     
  22. nina says:

    kubos is the flat arabic bread.

    I hate it when my time is wasted on waiting for people who has no sense of time. I don’t understand why even educated/professional Filipinos don’t come on time pero pag puti naman ang ka-meeting nila, they arrive even earlier than the set time :)

    May 1, 2009 | 6:16 pm

     
  23. Tok Espino says:

    Nina, i agree with you. na try mo na bang mag walk-out sa pag hihintay mo? ako madalas..Madalas kong i walk out pag late ang ka meeting ko…buti nalang walang ganyan dito sa Saudi.

    May 1, 2009 | 8:05 pm

     
  24. Marketman says:

    Tok and Nina, I have definitely left meeting venues if the person I was meeting was more than 20-30 minutes late without prior notice by text or phone. And usually, if I ever meet with them again, they don’t come late again.

    May 1, 2009 | 8:26 pm

     
  25. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    Lou, I got my carbon steel paella pans and paella provisions from “The spanish table” (www.spanishtable.com)in Berkeley, CA when I resided there.

    May 1, 2009 | 8:52 pm

     
  26. betty q. says:

    Lou: If you are in Vancouver, try Ming Wo on Pender. Ask for Fontaine (tell her you are Betty’s friend from Cannery who gave her [Fontaine] Chocolate Cake every Christmas!

    Also, on Commercial Drive are some Hispanic stores.

    If you get the chance to go to Seattle….a MUST VISIT is SUR LA TABLE near Pike Place Market. That is where my hubby usually leaves me for a FEW HOURS!!!!

    Of course, there is ALWAYS…E-BAY esp. those for those of you in the US!…in any material but if I were you go for CARBON STEEL!

    May 1, 2009 | 9:34 pm

     
  27. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    Betty q. next time you’re in seattle, drop my the main store of The Spanish Table at 1426 Western Ave.

    May 1, 2009 | 9:49 pm

     
  28. betty q. says:

    Thank you, Artisan! I will make it a point to go there. We might go down there before the Victoria Day long week-end.

    Oh, Onie, CWID, Keiko and Pinky…next time you make Paella and need chorizo, I found a Portuguese store on Victoria Drive selling Portuguese chorizo. I have added it in Paella and also when making mussels and taste awesome…grilled or BARBECUED! Cut them diagonally and barbecue them and then add them to your Paella…masarap! ALSO>>>BARBECUE THEM and then add to your paella…has that smoky hint!

    May 1, 2009 | 10:08 pm

     
  29. betty q. says:

    not awake yet…so sorry…last sentence, forgot to type in RED PEPPERS…barbecue them and add to paella….

    May 1, 2009 | 10:10 pm

     
  30. ichyngas says:

    My wife has been talking about you and your blog all this time. I’ve seen you a good couple of times on tv (discovery travel and living). I’ve just seen the bordaine philippine episode on youtube which by the way I have been waiting to be aired on tv endlessly. And seeing it made me soooooooo damn happy to be a filipino. I am greatful of how you showed tony how accomodating and hospitable the Filipinos are and most of all for giving him a taste of how diversified the filipino dish is and giving him a taste of the best pig ever…. those words from tony keeps ringing in my head… Thanks marketman. By the way, I have always been a sucker for Paella… the paella on your blog today is way too yummy to look at, I bet it is way better to eat. More power and God bless.

    May 1, 2009 | 10:55 pm

     
  31. Ariel says:

    MM, love your dinner table and also the placement. Like the color red plates. Is that dinner table made in Pinas? Very nice.

    May 2, 2009 | 12:31 am

     
  32. chinachix says:

    love the table setting! looking forward to more posts of your tablescapes…

    May 2, 2009 | 8:02 am

     
  33. Anbu says:

    Nice, looks yummy. MM, what’s your handa for Pacquiao’s fight tomorrow? :D

    May 2, 2009 | 8:26 am

     
  34. Marketman says:

    Anbu, Doritos and a Coke? Chinachix, there were a few posts from years back with more of the table settings included. Ariel, the two dinner tables (joined at the center) are both made in the Philippines, of thick pieces of recycled tindalo and kamagong wood. I think they were wall panels of a home in their previous incarnation. We love them. ichyngas, thank you.

    May 2, 2009 | 9:17 am

     
  35. Lou says:

    MM, Artisan chocolatier, betty Q, thanks for the tips – I love this community :) I bought 2 paella pans once from a Spanish store in HK, the vendor told me they were carbon but I was shocked, when I first used them they rusted literally within the day! Maybe I didn’t season them properly. Or they could’ve been the cheap kind…

    May 2, 2009 | 9:52 am

     
  36. bagito says:

    I don’t know what’s more delicious–the paella or the comments from Lee, et al! *LOL*

    May 2, 2009 | 10:14 am

     
  37. suzette says:

    hi mm, i’ve been wanting to have a paella dinner too for my bday this may, mind if you share your recipes please? thanks!

    May 2, 2009 | 11:40 am

     
  38. Marketman says:

    suzette, they are in the archives, or google “paella marketmanila”… there are a few. Try “arroz negra marketmanila” as well.

    May 2, 2009 | 11:59 am

     
  39. quiapo says:

    Carbon steel paella pans can rust, and its a nuisance cleaning them befroe use if they get that way. A liberal coating of olive oil helps keep them rust free, as well as careful washing without scraping off the seasoned layer (no steel wool). Sometimes you can get the really traditional cast iron paella, but they are not often available. The ultimate must be a tin-lined copper paella, but it has the disadvantage of needing relining after extensive use.
    Instead of newspaper you can usea tea towel (trapo).
    For everyday use, I tend to use a stainless steel paella, with its own cover.
    Apicio, some varieties of rice have grains that cook all the way through fairly quickly. Short grain rice like Calasparra is recommended, but I find Basmati is magic with good results every time.
    For the kabayans in Saudi who are unable to get chorizo, perhaps you can try putting in the main flavour ingredient of chorizo which is paprika.

    May 3, 2009 | 4:41 am

     
  40. quiapo says:

    By the way, if you add paprika to a paella, try the oak smoked Spanish variety.
    Pealla is one of those comforting totems in the hispanic world; when I eat a satisfying paella in a foreign place, I feel I am among people of refinement and understanding. A recent visit to Cebu became so much more pleasant, when at dinner at a friend’s home, Michel served a beautiful paella that was exactly right – I felt so reasssured I was among friends. Here in Australia where I live, I have yet to try a commercial paella that is as comforting, though many home cooked paellas here have this quality.

    May 3, 2009 | 4:56 am

     
  41. Apicio says:

    May I point out something that stopped me in my track about using Spanish paprika with saffron in this recipe from my favorite saffron supplier. It is the last sentence of the instructions right above the photo of shrimps.

    http://www.saffron.com/recipes.html

    May 3, 2009 | 8:05 am

     
  42. Marketman says:

    Apicio, VERY INTERESTING. I make a sofritto with a lot of saffron. And sometimes add paprika to the chicken I am sauteeing in the paella pan… hmmm. Maybe I used axe the paprika next time, though it is in the chorizo as well. Thanks for the link…

    May 3, 2009 | 8:14 am

     
  43. quiapo says:

    An interesting link, thanks Apicio. I think this is a reference to misguided attempts to use paprika instead of Saffron; there is some flavour overlap as you know; I use paprika in paella if I dont get a proper chorizo handy that day. I then use whatever salami I have and augment its flavour with paprika. It seems to work alright, perhaps it is a question of degree of blending.

    May 3, 2009 | 5:40 pm

     
  44. nina says:

    @Tok/MM,
    I am lucky to have colleagues/clients who are very professional. Pero pag pinoy org/event, hay naku, wag ka na umasa na magsimula on time.

    May 4, 2009 | 1:46 am

     
  45. sometime_lurker says:

    Wondering about that white thingy in a bowl beside the pans.
    Is that sour cream? Supposed to be served with the paella?
    pardon the ignorance…

    May 4, 2009 | 1:36 pm

     
  46. Marketman says:

    sometime lurker, good catch! It’s a bowl of aioli, or garlicky mayonnaise that is a PERFECT condiment to mix into the black or squid ink paella. Arooz negro with aioli and lemon juice is a match made in paella heaven. :)

    May 4, 2009 | 1:43 pm

     
  47. sometime_lurker says:

    whoa… my salivary glands went berserk with that description, MM! That and Burnt Lumpia’s entry together, agh. Hold on, need to massage my jaw.

    Btw, do I need to have saffron to create your red paellas? I had a real decent paella recently in a restau and whilst having it, I was trying to identify most of the flavors that are popping, but can’t figure out some. Huh. Oh and I don’t have the paella pan as well. Sad.

    May 4, 2009 | 1:50 pm

     
  48. Marketman says:

    sometime lurker, yes, I use a lot of saffron in the sofritto…

    May 4, 2009 | 10:07 pm

     
  49. kurzhaar says:

    Paella is a speciality of mine–I generally tend to a pretty traditional version with rabbit and green beans. In season, fresh fava beans, quail, or pheasant make their way in. Occasionally I will do a seafood version. Saffron threads are of course a must. I make a sofrito with grated tomato, onion, and garlic, and always a whole head of garlic gracing the middle of the pan. My pans are all traditional carbon steel, in various sizes. The largest one just fits on my giant Weber grill. But I know friends who do paella for dozens of guests (I think their largest pan is about five feet across…they cook over an open fire). I use foil, or for the smaller pans a big wok cover that fits perfectly. One trick to a good paella is to listen as the rice cooks for that crackling that tells you the socarrat is forming…the best part of a paella!

    May 5, 2009 | 6:07 am

     
  50. Oscar Mieses says:

    Hi:
    I am looking for Manila Green Plantain varieties, where and how I can get it.

    Thanks in advance,
    Oscar Mieses

    May 6, 2009 | 2:38 am

     
 

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