Spicy Paella from the West Coast with mussels and angelfish!
Spicy paella, is my saving grace when a hungry crowd arrives on my doorstep. The base of the paella is after all rice and we all know, rice is a rand stretcher!
Spicy paella can also be as expensive as you want it to be, if you add prawns or crayfish, imported saffron and expensive Spanish chorizo, of course it is no longer an affordable way to feed a crowd. If you read more about the history of paella, you will find that is was never meant to be a show-off, grand dish, but rather a way to feed big crowds at celebrations, festivals and family gatherings. There are 3 kinds of paella, a Valencian Paella, a seafood paella and a mixed paella! The main ingredients are of course, traditionally bomba rice, but saffron and olive oil play a large roll too.
I wanted to make my own version of a spicy paella, using everyday ingredients that you can find at any of our local supermarkets. Furthermore, I wanted to give the paella our own unique South African twist and because one of my favorite places in South Africa is the West Coast, I wanted to celebrate this region in my dish!
I prepared this paella for our “Reis met Rys” cook-off that was held at The Palms Market this past Saturday. It was such a fun day, the ambiance, the music, the people and the lady in charge, Isabella Niehaus, were all just so very special! If you have not been to this market, now is the time, you will love it!
The cook-out was with six celebrity cooks sponsored by Spekko Rice – Herman Lensing (Sarie), Marinda Engelbrecht (Kokkedoor Finalist), Johnny Hamman (Chef Slippery Spoon Pop Up Restaurant), Zola Nene (Expresso TV), Bernice van der Merwe (Chef & Owner of My Basaar Restaurant) and of course me. There were also five well known judges…. Ingrid Jones (Editor Mango Juice Magazine), Arina du Plessis Huysamer (Food Editor Landbou), Eloise Pretorius (Smile Radio), Chris von Ulmenstein (Whale Cottage Portfolio Blogger) and Pieter Arno du Toit (Marketer Cederberg Wines). I am happy to report that I won the competition and since then people have been bugging me for the recipe. Here it is then!
I was so at home and comfortable making this dish and I hope when you do try it, you will feel the same. There is nothing tricky about making a paella, really, let me show you how!
Spicy Paella with Mussels and Angelfish
serves 8 – 10
1 red pepper – diced
30 ml olive oil
2 onions – finely chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
500 ml Spekko Parboiled rice
5 ml turmeric
10 ml Smoked paprika
1 x 410 g tin chopped peeled tomatoes
80 g tomato paste
750 ml chicken or fish stock
salt and pepper
4 bay leafs – fresh if you can find
parsley, finely chopped
1 kg Wet Coast Mussels – in the shell
300 g smoked angelfish – bones removed and cut into smaller pieces
Heat olive oil in a big pan and saute the onion, red pepper and garlic until it starts to caramelize. Add the chopped tomatoes, and tomato paste. Now add the rice and some of the stock, always adding stock from the outside circle of the pan towards the center. Watch the heat and fill up with more stock if needed. When the rice is almost cooked, add the mussels and angelfish and cover the pan with foil or a big-enough lid. Leave covered for about 8-10 minutes, enough time for the mussels to open and the fish to warm through.The rice must be al dente and the paella must not become mushy. It is perfect paella if it forms a crust at the bottom of the pan. It is the so-called “socarrat” and highly sought after when making proper paella! Taste and add salt if needed. Serve with a slice of lemon!
All the above images are by: Stefan Botha
More West Coast Inspiration
Tomorrow morning just after the 9 o’clock news, I will be sharing this easy recipe with you! Get ready to be amazed! I will also in weeks to come take you into the kitchens of other bloggers, chefs and interesting South Africans this year. So buckle up, it is going to be an awesome ride. Tune in 100-104FM or listen online here!