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Tips and Tricks Before using a Paella Pan for the First Time

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If you are going to cook paella or any other recipe on a paella pan, then there are some important things to keep in mind. A paella pan is not like a normal stainless steel or non-stick pan. At Machika, you can buy both traditional carbon steel paella pans and enamel paella pans from Valencia, Spain. To make sure it properly cooks your recipes Some of the steps you will want to take include:

  • Seasoning your pan (if carbon steel)
  • Use a large enough burner
  • If using wood, prepare accordingly
  • Prepare your ingredients ahead of time
  • Use important traditional ingredients

Seasoning your Pan

Seasoning a pan is the first thing you should do after getting a new paella pan. Not only because it keeps your pan from rusting, but cleans it before first use. First time seasoning means you must boil off the anti-rust coating before use. During factory manufacture ring, many pots and pans receive a coating for material that is not safe to ingest but protects the pan before purchase. After getting your pan, you should wash and boil enough water to fill the pan. Afterwards, simple wipe down the surface with oil, like extra-virgin olive oil, and store in a cool, dry area.

Seasoning has a couple of benefits when it comes to traditional Valencian paella pans. The first benefit is that it keeps your pan from rusting! Unless stainless steel or enamel coating on steel, carbon steel is not rust or stain proof. While stains are normal after using a pan, rust should not form if properly treated. The coating of oil stops oxygen and moisture from getting into the metal and causing rust. The second benefit is flavor and non-stick properties. A properly seasoned carbon steel paella pan will be more non-stick and give your dish a better flavor. Seasoning is absolutely necessary to keeping your paella pan in tip-top shape. If you are using enameled steel, you do not need to season though you will still need to clean it before first use.

Use A Large Enough Burner

The last thing you want when making paella is to burn it. A small, hot burner will not spread the heat well throughout the pan. Even though paella pans are made to easily conduct heat, no pan is perfect. If the burner is too small, the heat will focus on a particular spot and may burn. The traditional way to cook paella is over a wood fire instead of an electric stove. However, a gas paella burner is also a great way to cook the dish. The Circular design heats the pan up from the corners and center to give a better distribution of heat.

Prepare Accordingly If Using Wood

Wood is one of the best ways to cook paella but it requires a lot more preparation and work. For one, you will need to find the right type of wood. Dry hardwood is some of the best for cooking. You will want to avoid wood with high amount of resin and wet wood. Resin in certain logs is carcinogenic (contains cancer causing compounds) and effects the taste of the dish. Burning resin creates an unpleasant smell and leeches into food. You will also want to make sure you cook outdoors or in an area with great smoke filtration. Indoors is never recommended though an outdoor kitchen area may be suitable.

Prepare Your Ingredients

If you are using a paella pan for the first time, preparation can save you a lot of confusion and time. Paella ingredients can be simple or complex. A tip for making the the cooking process as simple as possible is to prepare your ingredients beforehand. You will want to divide your vegetables, rice, meat, etc. so that you can easily introduce them to the pan as you cook. Instead of wasting time cutting vegetables while your pan sits overheating, you can more easily follow the recipe with preparation.

Use Important Traditional Ingredients

When first cooking paella, you will want to be sure you have the right ingredients. The Spanish dish requires a couple of unique ingredients that make it paella. You cannot just cook rice in a pan with meat and vegetables and call it paella without including certain traditional ingredients. The traditional ingredients you will need are bomba rice (also known as paella rice) and saffron.

Bomba rice is what gives paella is unique texture and flavor. It is also the right type of rice for absorbing the broth and liquid so the fish cooks in the pan without getting soggy. Saffron gives the dish both a unique flavor and color. Without saffron, the dish will not get the right golden color.

Get More Paella Tips and Recipes at Machika Today!

If you are searching for healthy and easy to cook recipes, then you have found the spot. At Machika, we offer tons of delicious recipes on our Family Cookbook blog. You can click here to check out other amazing recipes you can cook at home like paella and empanadas. At Machika, we believe in building community and togetherness in the kitchen. You can also purchase our kitchenware and kitchen accessories like paella pans and empanada dough presses by checking out our online store here!

Machika blog writer Maria Perez, paella pans, paella recipes, cooking tips and tricks, Spanish recipes, and more.

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