Why not make my own twist to a classic Spanish dish — Paella. But let me say this first, after the graduation ceremony in Mallorca, I headed to Cafe Iberico and tried its famous Paella. To my disgust, to my disappointment, to my utter disbelief, the Paella was simply over-rated and too expensive; it must be one of those bad days of the cooks at the restaurant. Even the sangria was horrible, I make a better tasting Sangria with few inexpensive ingredients (will share the recipe in my next post). So back to Paella. The Chicago Philippine Reports TV Cooking Segment Host, Sarah Lee (The CelebrEATy Circle) asked me to demo Paella for my tv debut (mmm, can’t believe I’d be on TV just days after I got back from Spain). She suggested to put an Asian spin on the dish…and made me think about possible tweaks and substitutions. Perhaps adding some Patis (fish sauce, we Filipinos love Patis yo!). Maybe a hint of Ginger. Now I was getting somewhere. And what ’bout adding Sinigang powder in the mix (yey, why not, the tamarind would just excite anyone’s palate). Sarah Lee gave the idea a green light…and the tv shoot was arranged.
So I asked some few questions, some few clarifications, I didn’t want to disappoint, and I wanted to definitely make an impression. I’d be showing off my fully-sharpened knife kit, my authentic paella pan. I’d wear my Chef whites with black pants and yes, a Mallorca apron. I’d display some cookbooks from gifts and my collection that I just started. And I’d get to greet tv viewers my energized Spanish tongue with, “Hola, que tal?”. Oh my, I’m so ready…
Paella ala Viatimes (Filipino Infused Paella)
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 1-2# bag of seafood mix (shrimp, oysters, squid)
1 large onion (small dice)
1 clove of garlic (finely minced)
4 ripened tomatoes (concassee)
8 cups long grain rice
16 cups water
1 pkg of sinigang mix
salt and black pepper to taste
Lemon wedges and chopped parley for garnish
In a saucepan bring water to a boil and add sinigang mix…more or less depending how sour you like it, keep on simmer until ready for use.
Heat a large shallow sautee pan with olive oil and sweat onions and garlic…do not brown, just get the onions translucent.
Next, add the rice and coat with the oil and toast it until it smells slightly nutty, stirring constantly, this aids in the rice to not stick.
Slowly ladle in the sinigang broth and add a ladle or 2 at a time, stirring continuously, add all the broth.
Then add the concassee of tomatoes give it a last stir and add a pinch of salt and pepper.
After that, add the bag of seafood mix and arrange neatly.
Cover for approximately 30 mins and simmer on low until rice is tender or done.
Garnish with lemon wedges and chopped parsley.
Of course, you can save money using a vegetarian version…and feel free to add eggplant and artichoke.
Live a little, eat a little, cook a lot