Paella is a traditional Spanish dish which is found in South America as well as the country of Spain. Ideally prepared in a low-cut "paellera," pealla has the advantage of including whatever you like - rabbit, beef, seafood, vegetables, etc.

Serves Six

  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 green pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/2 red pepper, boiled until soft and cut into strips
  • 2 medium-sized tomatoes, skinned and finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 100g peas, cooked
  • 200g prawns (if using cooked prawns substitute fish stock for the water)
  • 200g small clams
  • 200g squid
  • 12 mussels
  • 350g rice (traditionally short grain rice is used but I prefer to use long grain)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
  • a pinch of saffron strands (if you can’t get saffron, use yellow food colouring instead and add it once you have added the liquid)
  • a sprig of parsley, finely chopped
  • olive oil
  • about 800ml water

MUSSELS: Wash the mussels and take care to remove the feet/hairs. Throw away any that don’t shut on contact with water.
GARLIC: In a pestle and mortar, grind the garlic, saffron (if using), parsley and a pinch of salt.
CLAMS: Wash in water and then put in a bowl with some salt so that the grit comes out. Throw away any that are open.
FRESH SQUID: Rub off the outer dark skin. Pull out the insides (including the transparent back bone) and pinch the eye away from the tentacles. Save the tentacles. Cut the squid into rings.
PRAWNS: Whether you peel them or not is up to you. If you decide to peel them, save the shells and boil in water for about ten minutes. Save the liquid and add later instead of water.


Heat some olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the onion, green pepper and carrot and fry gently for about five minutes. Add the chopped tomato and squid (with the tentacles) and fry on a low heat for another ten minutes.
Add the rice and stir well to make sure that it is thoroughly coated. Add water (or the water from boiling the prawn shells or fish stock if using frozen fish), clams and the garlic/saffron/parsley mixture and bring to the boil. Season with salt. Put a lid on it, turn the heat right down and cook very slowly for about ten minutes. Add the prawns and peas and give it a stir. Arrange the mussels and strips of red pepper artistically on top, put the lid back on and leave for another ten minutes - checking that it has enough water. If you think it is getting too dry, add more water, but shake the handle of the pan rather than stir so as not to upset the pattern. Once the rice is cooked and the mussels have opened, it is ready to eat.

Nodeshell filling shamelessly ripped from my olde Spanish textbook