For an archipelagic country like ours which has over 7,000 islands, there are just a handful of national dishes found in the Philippines' common menu. These include adobo, lumpia, sinigang, bistek and lechon among others. In most cases, however, these are the same dishes which are being served to our guests on fiestas particularly during the months of April and May.
Paella, surely one of the most beloved of all Spanish dishes, is one of these fiesta fares. I get to eat this lovely dish since I was a kid. Eventually, I have come to realize that paellas are as varied as the cooks who make them. Of course, there are constants included in any interpretation of the paella: good broth, short grain rice, Spanish smoked paprika, and a paella pan - although a 13-inch skillet will work, too. Saffron, though traditional is not a crucial part of any paella.
Seafood paella (paella de marisco) is one of the three widely- known types of paella. The two others are paella valenciana and mixed paella (or paella mixta). Seafood paella, unlike the other versions replaces meat and snails with seafood like monkfish, squid, mussels. Tilapia and Sherry wine are perfect substitutes for Monkfish and white wine, respectively, and your paella remains as great.
Seafood paella is a great recipe for any gathering. It does not require long cooking and would be a great main course for any fiesta or for one of those special dinner parties with family and friends on these hot summer nights.
Vamos a comer.
- 1 cup regular-milled rice
- 1 cup glutinous "pilit" rice
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1 head garlic, minced
- 1 medium white onions, chopped
- 1 piece red bell pepper, roughly chopped
- 1 piece green bell pepper, roughly chopped
- 200g pork, diced
- 2 pieces chicken breast, diced
- Â¼ kilo mussels
- 2 pieces alimasag
- 250g shrimps
- Â¼ kilo squid
- 200g crabmeat
- Â¼ cup green peas
- 3 cups broth (mixture of shrimps, chicken, alimasag)
- Â¼ cup white wine
- 2t saffron thread
- 4T olive oil
- Salt, pepper, MSG as needed
- 2 pieces hard boiled eggs
- In a casserole, cook pork, chicken, alimasag, mussels and shrimps in a scant of water. Separate chicken, pork, shrimps, mussles and alimasag from its broth. Reserve broth.
- Using olive oil, brown chicken and pork. Add red bell peppers, garlic, onions, squid, crabmeat and green peas. Splash with white wine and cook further.
- Add the regular-milled and glutinous rice and mix thoroughly. Pour tomato sauce and blend.
- For easier cooking, transfer the mixture into a rice cooker. Pour enough broth mixture to cook the rice. Add saffron threads. Season with salt, pepper, and MSG.
- Once rice is cooked, transfer into a paellera or wok. Cover half of the mixture with aluminium foil and cook further to form a crust at the bottom. Mix chicken, shrimps, squid, crabmeat, mussels and alimasag into the mixture. Make sure to leave some for garnish.
- Just before serving, garnish with sliced hard-boiled eggs and some parsley. Enjoy!*
Fil of Lapaz asks: "I recently watched a culinary show on TV and heard a chef say "Cok it flambÃ©." What is a flambÃ©?"
Vic answers: "FlambÃ© means serving food flaming. This is usually done in posh hotels and restaurants. An experienced chef will ignite your dish right before your eyes while ready for serving. Liquor like brandy or rum is added to the dish and ignited immediately to produce a flambÃ©.