Authentic paella from Valencia
If you are on holiday, you have to relax and spoil yourself with good food and drinks. It’s called a holiday for a reason 😉 In Valencia you must have a good authentic paella lunch. You can eat a delicious paella in one of the many restaurants in the city centre, the beach or around the Albufera lake.
Paella is a real Spanish dish and not a lot of people know this, but it is originally from Valencia. The Valencian paella is made from rabbit, chicken, beans, rice and of course some other secret ingredients. There are also paellas which contain seafood and fish. Don’t worry if you’re a vegetarian, because they replace the meat and fish for some lovely artichokes, beans and seasonal vegetables. Please note, if you use ingredients that are not on the list of ingredients that are allowed in a Valencian paella, it may no longer be called Paella Valenciana. Jamie Oliver has also gone wrong with this… Paella is really Valencian’s cultural heritage and there is even a Wikipaella website. I can also talk for hours about Paella, preferably while making or eating a Paella. Here I would like to share some tips with you for making a Paella and eating a Paella in Valencia.
Holidays are a time of rest, fun and a perfect time to treat yourself to good food and drink. A Paella lunch should certainly not be missed during your holiday in Valencia! 😉
Why is it called paella?
The word paella refers to the pan the dish is cooked in. The word ‘paella’ origins from the Latin term for pan, namely patella. We just took away the ‘te’, because it’s a lot easier to say it that way 😉 There are many other stories that explain the roots of the name paella. I like the story which explains that the word derives from “para ella”, which means for her. It is usually cooked by man on fire (just like the BBQ), so, it was called a dish specially made for her = pa’ella.
How to make this amazing dish?
Making paella is a whole process and if you want a tasty paella, it certainly has to cook for 60 minutes (or even longer would be better with a Valencian paella).
When you are on a holiday in Valencia you probably don’t have a large kitchen or the pans you need. Luckily, I have the perfect solution for that! If you want to learn how to make your own paella and bring back home the taste of Spain, you can sign up for a paella cooking workshop with me. You can either do the cooking yourself or watch some cooking demonstrations. The chef will share tips and tricks involving the use the right amount of rice and water, the caramelized crust and the perfect taste. There are different locations to do the paella cooking. Let me advice you where to go, depending on your wishes, the group size and the time you spend in Valencia. For more information, check out the ‘paella workshop’. Hopefully we can enjoy a paella together!
Also, read my top 5 things to eat & drink in Valencia and check out where you can eat good paella in Valencia!
- First you need a big pan, but if you don’t have a paella pan, use a 13-inch or larger skillet.
- Next thing to do: add olive oil and salt in the corners of the pan. When the oil is hot, throw in the meat (chicken and rabbit) . When the meat is cooked, you can add your vegetables (beans, artichokes, grated tomatoes) and wait till it is sauteed.
- Then add water, saffron (food coloring and rosemary is optional). You have to boil this slowly to make a broth and allow it to reduce by half.
- Afterwards you can add the Valencian rice which is rounded and short (arroz Bomba / Bahia or Albufera). This kind of rice absorbs liquid very well, and it stays relatively firm while cooking. Once the rice is in the pan make sure the meat is divided equily over the pan as you should not stirr in the pan anymore.
- Cook the rice until it is al dente (depends on the kind of rice about 20 minutes).
- When the rice is ready, turn up the heat for a minute or so to get a slightly burned / caramelized crust.
- Remove the pan from the heat and enjoy your homemade lunch!
Restaurant tips for Paella in Valencia
There are so many Paella restaurants in Valencia. The Valencians themselves love Paella and a Sunday lunch is almost always with Paella. The restaurants that I am going to mention are really completely full (with Valencians) at the weekend and a reservation is a must!
INSIDERS TIP ORDERING PAELLA
If you book at a paella restaurant, they will sometimes ask you which paella you want to eat. At many restaurants, a Valencian paella must be ordered in advance due to the preparation time. The entire table must also eat the same Paella, so think about and discuss this in advance with your table companions.
ALQUERIA DEL POU – CLOSE TO THE CITY OF THE ARTS
See also a separate blog about this restaurant here!
CASA CARMELA – ON THE BEACH
You should only just know this restaurant .. It’s close to the beach, but you don’t just walk past it. If you ask, they will gladly let you take a look in the kitchen where the paella is still really made on a wood fire! And that it is made in the traditional way, you can taste that!
CASA ANGEL – AT THE ALBUFERA LAKE
Eating a real Valencian Paella between the rice fields and the Valencians is of course only a real authentic Paella experience. The Albufera lake is full of Paella restaurants. Most Paella restaurants are very good there as everyone comes there for the Paella and this is made day in and day out and the competition is very high. One of my favorites is Casa Angel, this is a family business and it is just outside the village. So you will not pass by by chance, which also ensures that you are mainly among the locals.