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A Valencian Paella.
A Valencian Paella.

Paella is a rice dish, originally from Valencia, Spain, where it is eaten especially on Sundays and during the Falles. There are many variations of it with different ingredients. The name paella is the word for "frying pan" in Valencian/Catalan (from Latin patella). However, the dish has become so popular in Spanish that the word paellera is now usually used for the pan and paella almost exclusively for the dish. Paella is pronounced Template:IPA2, approximately "pah-EH-yah".

Paella is usually garnished with vegetables and with meat or seafood. The three main ingredients are rice, saffron, and olive oil.


Valencian paella

Paella is originally from Valencia, and the dish as prepared there — paella de carn (="meat paella") — usually stays true to tradition. The garnish, which is cooked with the rice in stock, was originally made from chicken, French beans (green beans), tomato, and other vegetables. Depending on the season and occasional hunting ingredients, paella can also include artichoke hearts, rabbit, snails, eels, peppers or other kinds of meat — sometimes in the form of pilotas (="meatballs") — or vegetables. Some purists prefer to exclude peas, but there are some recipes for Valencian paella that permit them when in season.

Other paellas

Over time, the recipe became considerably more elaborate and variable as it spread from its origin in Valencia throughout Spain and elsewhere. A common variation is what is called paella de peix (="fish paella") or paella de marisc (="seafood paella"), which is made with seafood instead of meat.

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A non-rigorous seafood Paella with peas.

Today one can find paellas with chorizo, duck, French beans, garlic, langoustines, lobster, mussels, onions, peas, red bell peppers, shrimp or squid, and many recipes include chicken, chorizo, mussels, langoustines and peas, all together, although purists may not accept these ingredients and combinations as authentic.

The elaborateness of paella can vary from being a simple, rustic dish cooked in open air and eaten straight from the pan, or it can be made into a very elaborate preparation, with the differently-coloured ingredients contrasting with the rice made yellow with saffron — or, more frequently nowadays, fake saffron made of flour with artificial colourings (the Spaniards have not discovered turmeric).

Basic cooking method

Paella is generally cooked in a paella pan, which is a large, shallow, flat pan. First the meat, and then the vegetables are stir fried in olive oil. Boiling water is then added to the paella pan, and after boiling for several minutes, the rice is added. Once the rice is nearly done, the paella is removed from the heat and left to absorb the remaining water. The paella is ready to be served after having cooled for several minutes.

For recipes, see Wikibooks:Cookbook:Paella.

Related paella traditions

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A paella being cooked and eaten in the middle of the road during the Falles

Some lemon juice may be poured over the paella. The magic words "bon profit" must be said. Paella is often eaten directly out of the pan with a spoon. As a local rule says, no bread must be eaten if the paella is to be finished.

It has become a custom for mass reunions in Valencia — festivals, political campaigns, protests, etc — to prepare an enormous paella, sometimes to win a mention in Guinness Book of Records. Ad hoc wide-diameter pans are commissioned for these cases.

Paella and its variations are a typical picnic dish for the Spanish spring and summer, often cooked by the family male adults.

The dish is also typically consumed during the Falles in Valencia.



  • Cooking a Paella (
  • Final Result (
  • Delicious! (
  • Ritual Eating (

Related dishes

External link

  • Paella recipe ( With step-by-step illustrated instructionsca:Paella

da:Paella de:Paella es:Paella fr:Paella he:פאייה ja:パエリア


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