Paella can be challenging to approach and lead to lots of questions. Before cooking any paella recipes, you should consider these 5 questions. You can avoid ruining your paella and wasting ingredients by knowing how to handle the cooking process ahead of time. We at Machika have compiled 5 frequently asked questions people have when considering making paella. Instead of running into unforeseen problems, keep the five questions below in mind before cooking your own delicious Spanish paella!
Do You Cook Paella Covered or Uncovered?
Cooking paella can be done wrong without the right information. A common question people have is “do you cook paella covered or uncovered”? The answer is uncovered! Authentic paella pans do not come with covers for that simple reason. Covering the pan would steam the dish and cause it to be too moist. The water will retain in the pan much longer, so if you were to wait the amount of time a paella recipe recommends, you would notice tons of liquid still in the pan. You can cover a paella with aluminum foil after cooking to keep it warm, but you shouldn’t cook it covered.
Paellas need air to breathe. The wide surface allows the rice to absorb the liquid while the rest evaporates. The bottom of the pan then gets a nice socarrat as the dish finishing cooking. If a lot of liquid is still in the pan, the socarrat won't form. So, make sure you cook your paella uncovered.
Can You Cook Paella Without a Paella Pan?
Another question you may have is, “can you cook paella without a paella pan”? After all, it can be difficult to justify buying a pan for a single recipe. However, paella pans can be used just like any other skillet but has some advantages that make it perfect for paella. So, do not worry about not having anything to use your pan for besides paella. When it comes to making paella, you do not need a paella pan to make the dish, but it is essential for getting the recipe right.
Where Do I Buy a Paella Pan?
Buying paella pans is easy at Machika. You can purchase authentic Spanish paella pans from Valencia, Spain at our online store here. Simply click the link and pick between our high-quality enameled pans or carbon steel pans. Paella pans will typically come in two types: carbon steel and enameled steel. The differences between the two are few. If you want a more traditional paella cooking experience, then carbon steel is the choice for you. You will need to season the pan to avoid rusting and corrosion, but it is worth it. Over time, the pan will become more non-stick and resistant to rusting. Just be sure to take proper care of it!
Enameled pans are much easier to care for. The enamel coating is both non-stick and rustproof. As long as the surface is undamaged and intact, water and oxygen cannot reach the metal inside. Since the pan is already rust-proof and non-stick, you also do not need to season it! You can get all the same sizes of enameled pans as you can carbon steel, so the choice is up to you.
What is Paella Rice?
When looking to cook paella, one of the essential ingredients is paella rice. But what exactly is paella rice? If you were to look online and check various websites, you may come across some confusing information. That may be because paella rice is not a single type of rice. Instead, paella rice refers to various rice from Spain that have been traditionally used in making the dish. Bomba rice is typically the rice that is preferred when making the dish but you may have come across a couple others.
Calasparra rice is another variety that is native to areas of Murcia, Spain. This short grain rice is often used as a substitute for paella since it has similar properties. In fact, many short grain rice can be substitutes for bomba or paella rice, but certain kinds work better than others. Arborio rice is one that is not native to Spain, but is sometimes used in cooking paella recipes. To be safe, you should always look for bomba rice or rice labeled as “paella rice”.
How do You Make Paella Recipes?
Making paella is not as difficult as you would expect. Despite being having a deliciously complex blend of flavors, the cooking process is simple. You can make paella in only a dozen ingredients and an hour 30 or less of your time. If you want to see some quick and easy paella recipes for beginners, you can check out our “Top 3 Chicken Paella Recipes for Beginners” blog by clicking the link. You make paella in a single pan, so you do not need to worry about managing different pots and pans while cooking. Traditional paella is usually cooked in a large paella pan outdoors using a paella burner or open fire. However, you can cook smaller paellas on your home stove top burner. Keep in mind, some paella pans are slightly concave so may not sit flat on a stove top.