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  • 4 months later...

To chefs in a restauraunt situation where you need to pick up orders quickly, what is the best way to parcook a paella? Do you parcook the rice a bit, then finish in the oven with hot stock and prebrowned chicken/rabbit, and vegetables?

"I'm drawn to places that fear their customers" -Kenji

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  • 2 years later...
  • 2 years later...

I have read many posts related to paella cooking and I would like to provide as much support as possible to those who want to learn and enjoy a real Paella.

I will be regularly giving some tips and advises. Any question from the members will be welcome.

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See also our "master" Paella topic here, and our Paella cook-off here. We've also discussed the best type of pan for Paella here. Eduard, what are your thoughts on using a pressure cooker for Paella? The recent Modernist Cuisine at Home cookbook stirred up a bit of controversy here with a completely socarrat-free pressure-cooked "paella."

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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  • 1 year later...

I wonder if anyone can give me some advice. I love to cook paella, and use an authentic cooking pan, but seem to have problems getting the rice to cook evenly.

Usually, it is beautifully cooked towards the center of the pan, but al dente at the pan periphery. 

 

Any suggestions how to overcome this please?

Edited by basils57 (log)
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You've probably already considered this, but what's the size of your burner compared with the size of your pan? Some paella pans are huge -- way too big for most home ranges. If the pan is too large, or if your heat source isn't even from middle to edges, that could be the cause. 

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It almost certainly the size of the pan as against the size of the electric ring / gas burner. For the paella pan to be authentic it should be quite large, even if it is only described as a four portion pan, its base will be to large for the heat to be distributed evenly. Apart from buying a never oven with a large (wok style) heat source you could try buying a very large paella pan and positioning it over 2 - 3 burners.

 

The only other thing I can think of is to stir the rice once or twice during cooking to try and get it evenly spread. Not ideal as you may well loose that lovely crispy effect on the bottom.

 

Andrew

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I've been working on perfecting paella for a while...and still have a long way to go.

 

What type of rice are you using? What is your liquid to rice ratio?  

 

The multiple burner suggestion is important; when I use the larger of my 2 pans, that's what I do.  When I use the smaller, I find myself rotating and repositioning the pan frequently during its cooking.  To stir the rice once it has started cooking is heresy.

 

And I think it's important to cover the pan with a clean dishtowel after at the end - that way the al dente rice has some time cook even further.

 

My last batch (chicken and chorizo) came out pretty nicely...

 

2014_02 Paella.JPG

 

 

 

 

 

  • Like 4

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

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Hi Guys. Many thanks for the various suggestions. I'm using bomba rice - ratio 250g rice to 600ml stock.

I think the main problem has been that the cooker ring hasn't been big enough and I haven't been spreading the heat around as suggested.

In future, I will move the pan around regularly, so as to distribute the heat.

 

Thanks again for all of your comments and help.

Edited by basils57 (log)
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Hi Guys. Many thanks for the various suggestions. I'm using bomba rice - ratio 250g rice to 600ml stock.

I think the main problem has been that the cooker ring hasn't been big enough and I haven't been spreading the heat around as suggested.

In future, I will move the pan around regularly, so as to distribute the heat.

 

Thanks again for all of your comments and help.

 

Spreading the heat is likely the problem. Gas "diffusers" are normally used here in Spain, like these ones.

 

For the best paella the rice layer should be pretty thin, just a couple of rice grains or a bit more. That implies a big paella pan and a lot of evaporation (and flavour concentration). I say that because I normally use a ratio stock/bomba rice of 3.5, rather than the 2.4 you mention.

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Yeah - not enough liquid, in my opinion.   3.5 times liquid for the amount of rice and a bit more won't hurt.

 

Even with a heat diffuser, a paella pan is a bit difficult to get evenly heated, because it's slightly concave (or convex, I forget my science), and doesn't sit flat on the surface. That's why moving the pan around and/or rotating the pan is suggested.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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  • 4 weeks later...

My two cents:

 

As someone else said, a "diffuser" might help but it's worth paying close attention too to the ratio. Note that bomba rice will increase its volume up to 4 times so it needs more liquid, some of the best well known producers in Catalonia (ie. Delta de l'Ebre and Pals: http://www.gastroteca.cat/en/search-engine/?id=41&cerca=bomba&x=0&y=0 ) recommend around 3.5:1 and its cooking time is slightly longer, around 20 minutes. But my personal experience also tells me that the bigger the paella the more minutes one has to add!

 

Also very important is that, as EnriqueB mentioned, the rice layer should be thin, not necessarily too thin but definitively not too thick (as when cooking a different rice dish)

 

Another obvious but rather unobserved tip is to make sure the paella is levelled, or as best levelled as one can. Over time it's normal to have the bottom of the paella becoming a bit dented due to repeated exposure to high temperatures, unintentional small blows, etc. Keeping it levelled one ensures the liquid covers the whole surface evently as it evaporates.

 

Pay also attention to the fire, for the first 10 minutes it has to be rather high but for the last 10 it should be moderate to low. Also, NEVER stir the rice, especially after the first boiling. That's Paella 101! 

 

More tips, and this one it might be simply a folk 'legend', but I remember from when I was a child my mother and grandmother always using newspaper sheets to cover the paella instead of a cloth. I don't know whether it's something to do with the fact after the war in Spain linen clothing was expensive and one didn't have so many laying around in the kitchen or whether there's any scientific reasoning behind this. In any case, I still keep covering my paellas with newspaper and they come out damn tasty. Maybe it's the specific news media company, LOL!

 

Finally to mention that traditionally many -like myself- we like the paella being 'socarrimada' or 'arroç socarrat' (roughly translated from Catalan as 'singeing'), but don't get alarmed it doesn't mean we like to burn it! :), it means that little toasting that happens to those grains of rice at the bottom of the paella when you let it a bit longer in the fire after the liquid has been evaporated. It conveys a very tasty zing to the whole dish. I found these two images in Google that may hint a bit what I mean: http://bit.ly/1j19scw even better: http://bit.ly/1vr9Ev8

 

It's unfortunate this page is not in English because it really portrays very well how most of us locals make a paella -those that don't have the knowledge and the sophisticated utensils of the great chefs that is!- but perhaps you could use Google Translate to assist: http://cuinadiari.blogspot.com.es/2011/11/com-fer-un-bon-arros-en-paella-arros.html

 

Good luck!

Edited by enricm (log)
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  • 3 weeks later...

The Ultimate Rice Cooker Cookbook suggest you can cook polenta in a rice cooker

 

it has 4 pages on it.  I have not done this but thanks for that inspiration

 

i have done risotto  ( very good i thought for one button cooking ) and paella   also good.

 

I think it can cook any grain + water  or milk or flavorings of your choice

Edited by rotuts (log)
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The Ultimate Rice Cooker Cookbook suggest you can cook polenta in a rice cooker

 

it has 4 pages on it.  I have not done this but thanks for that inspiration

 

i have done risotto  ( very good i thought for one button cooking ) and paella   also good.

 

I think it can cook any grain + water  or milk or flavorings of your choice

 

Sorry rotuts, but you cannot call "paella" to something that goes out of a rice cooker. Paella is a specific pan and it is necessary to provide the unique characteristic features of paella rice, i.e. a completelly dry rice in a very thin layer, that cannot be obtained with a rice cooker. It may produce a wonderful rice with similar aromatics but it will never be paella.  :smile:

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OK EB correct you are.

 

however, having lived in (E)Spain for several years, the error was mine :

 

( I did use both Bomba and Calaparra rice, different times )

 

it was " Paella-ish."

 

it brought back fond memories.  as I glazed at the Paella Pans still in their Galeria Preciados paper, still tied w their string ...

 

they are mounted on the wall.

 

PS   Mea culpa dos :

 

i cooked it inside !

 

:huh:

Edited by rotuts (log)
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I'm no expert on paella, but I'm suspicious of definitions that depend on a particular tool or procedure. For years traditionalists like Marcella Hazan said that risotto was only possible if one followed a very strict set of procedures in an open pan with constant stirring. Now almost everyone who's tried it in a pressure cooker has kept doing so, including some prominent Italian chefs. We've come to our senses and defined risotto by the result, not by what the wizard is doing behind the curtain.

Notes from the underbelly

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paella does need a certain type of rice, as risotto does.

 

ive had paella in Spain, many times.  indeed the 'better' version is cooked outside on a 'camp fire' featuring

 

local scavenged wood.

 

but for a no fuss one button dish :  Fuzzy Rice Cooker 

 

and you use spanish saffron of course.

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