06 Nov2010


Ignore the name. This is essentially Spanish style rice and shrimp. Technically, it’s a paella, made in a paella (yes, that’s what they call the pan) or a paellera, for us boobs. :) But I made this the same way I saw a celebrated Spanish chef make an “Arroz…” which differs from the way I make a classic paella so I have taken the liberty of naming this Arroz con Gambas. Actually, this dish turned out brilliantly. It required shamefully little effort for such a tasty result. An early morning trip to the Nasugbu market yielded a wonderful bounty of the freshest looking seafood and luckily, we had several cups of sofrito in the freezer so I knew exactly what I was going to attempt with a kilo of medium sized suahe or white shrimp.


Into a large paella pan over hot coals, add 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil. Saute a finely chopped onion and 5 cloves of minced garlic for a minute or so and add 10-11 cups of very hot chicken broth and 3 cups of defrosted sofrito. Actually, if you have frozen sofrito and are in a hurry, put the sofrito directly into the broth as you heat it up so all liquids/flavorings are in one pot. Wait for the broth/sofrito mixture to reach a gentle simmer before adding in roughly 1.1 kilos of Spanish short-grain paella rice, or 5 cups worth. Notice the change in technique. For a normal paella, I saute the chorizo, other meats, etc., then add the rice and coat it with the oil and meat juices; but here, I add the rice directly into boiling broth/liquid. Stir the rice a bit immediately after you add it to the liquid and try and even it out on the bottom of your paellera. Don’t stir it again. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, and wait for the rice to return to a simmer. Add 1 kilo of suahe onto the top of the rice and cover the barbecue and let this cook a total of 16-20 minutes more, checking the rice every few minutes and adjusting the fire so as not to overcook or burn the rice. Take the arroz con gambas off the flames when the rice is al dente and there is still some cooking liquid gurgling away. Cover with several sheets of newspaper and let this rest for 5-10 minutes (it finishes cooking here and absorbs any remaining liquids) while you get the table and rest of your meal ready. Chow heartily. This sized dish served ten people easily. Total cost was roughly PHP750 (PHP250 shrimp, PHP220 rice, PHP100 sofrito, amortized crew 1 hour @PHP100, etc. PHP80) or just PHP75 per person. The rice was light and incredibly flavorful. The shrimp almost sweet. Simple and delicious!



  1. Rona Y says:

    What kind of rice did you use? Spanish bomba?

    I’m thinking of making something like this, but I don’t want to search for bomba and just want to use what I have. Except I don’t think jasmine rice would quite suit this dish. . . :-)

    Nov 6, 2010 | 10:35 am


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  3. millet says:

    i can almost smell it from here! …and you served this with….?

    Nov 6, 2010 | 10:48 am

  4. Marketman says:

    Rona Y, yes bomba or calasparra, both short grained spanish paella rice. Alternatively, I use Italian arborio which is acceptable, but not totally authentic. And no, don’t use jasmine or long grain rice with this dish. You would make suman with regular rice, so I definitely wouldn’t encourage you to make this with the wrong rice. millet, served it with two kinds of adobong pusit that I was experimenting with. Unlikely pairing but they were surprisingly good together. :)

    Nov 6, 2010 | 1:51 pm

  5. Connie C says:

    MM, off topic on this post but not so off topic on money and jobs.

    Found this entertaining and thought provoking on the state of our economy…..when Americans sell taho in the Philippines. Watch…..


    Nov 6, 2010 | 6:00 pm

  6. Anna Banana says:

    Waaa this is making me hungry! (And I just had my dinner :-( )

    Nov 6, 2010 | 9:02 pm

  7. britelite says:

    shucks –i still can’t get my self to make a sofrito–and freeze it at that–hay –when will the day come:)

    Nov 6, 2010 | 9:06 pm

  8. mary says:

    Really? 750 pesos for this dish to feed 10 people? Can’t wait to spend several months in the Philippines when I retire in 5.5 years. I shall experiment with all or most of MM’s concoctions. With the rate of inflation how much will this dish cost then?

    Nov 7, 2010 | 12:43 am

  9. Del says:

    Interesting… I thought the reason why the rice has to be coated with the “oil” and sauteed for a while when making paella is to prevent it from being soggy when the broth is added? Did the rice still come out nice and firm?

    Nov 7, 2010 | 5:36 am

  10. Marketman says:

    Del, yes, each grain was still distinct and nice. Actually, master paella cooks, don’t do the coat with oil thing and add the broth first then the rice. The coat with oil step is more typically seen in the cooking of a risotto… mary, it’s cheaper if you cook at home, but actually, I am beginning to find some restaurant and cooked food values to be rather disappointing in Manila. There isn’t much inflation right now, but instead, your dollar is now worth 30% less in Manila than it was a couple of years ago.

    Nov 7, 2010 | 7:31 am

  11. Raymund says:

    Looks delicious! I have some more spare arborio so will try this out

    Nov 7, 2010 | 5:22 pm

  12. Rona Y says:

    Thanks! I guess I’ll have to hunt for some Spanish rice!

    BTW, a number of posts ago, you mentioned difficulties in making crispy fried shallots or onions or garlic (I can’t remember which!). I just read Pintxos: Small Plates in the Basque Tradition by Gerarld Hirigoyen and he explains his technique for doing fried shallots and garlic. For shallots, he slices them then lets them dry for about an hour. Then he brings them and the oil to temperature together (medium-low) and lets them bubble away for about 10 minutes and when golden, remove and drain well. They shouldn’t be super crispy when you remove them, because they will become crispier as they dry.

    For garlic chips, he heats the oil to medium, then adds the garlic chips. He only cooks them for 90sec-120sec until lightly golden, remove and drain. Again, they will crisp up more as they cool, so do not crisp them up too much in the pan.

    Nov 8, 2010 | 12:48 am

  13. Marga says:

    Carlrose rice is good for paella. They usually have in S&R.

    Nov 24, 2010 | 12:09 pm


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