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Paella, Still the Most Authentic Spanish Dish

traditional paella in pan
Written by damien

When people think of Spain and food, one of the first thoughts that might come to their mind is paella – and understandably so. When you are staying in an apartment in Madrid, you should get to know some of the basics of a good paella.

While it is believed to have originated in and around Valencia, situated on the eastern coast of Spain, the dish proved to be so tasty and easy to prepare, that its popularity spread throughout the country, and it can be found in restaurants all over Madrid, as well as being the staple lunchtime diet of Madrileños, before they retire for their traditional siesta.

Today, this article by ShMadrid will highlight the origin and main ingredients of a good paella. Are you ready to get into the kitchen and cook it yourself?

Related article: Delicious Summer Vermouths in Madrid

The history of Paella

bowl with saffron

Photo via Pixabay

There are a number of stories in Spanish folklore regarding the origins of Paella, with the best known being that the servants of the Moorish kings were granted the privilege of creating simple rice dishes, adding any leftovers they could gather from royal banquets, which they would take home from the palace in large pots.

There are even some Spanish historians who explain that the word paella originates from the Arab word “baqiyah” or leftovers, while others argue that paella comes from the pan that it is traditionally cooked in, from the Latin term patella, which means flat plate.

Paella is a very simple dish; with the only common denominator being that it is always made with rice and the saffron spice, which needs to be added to the rice, not only to add some flavor, but also to turn its typical strong and tempting golden color.

Related article: The Best Horchatas in Madrid

black paella

Photo via Pixabay

After that, more or less anything goes, both as how it is cooked, as well as what kind of ingredient is added to the rice. Paella may contain chicken, a number of varieties of fresh fish, pork, shellfish, eel, squid as well as vegetables, ranging from beans and peas, to artichokes and peppers.

It’s all a matter of taste and imagination. You can even add some black ink from a squid, to get a black paella. So whether you want to go to a restaurant and try a lovely paella, or want to go shopping for fresh ingredients to make the dish yourself, anyone who visits Madrid or stays here for a longer period of time, should definitely try the different tastes to make up their mind as to what is their favourite kind of paella.

What type of paella do you like best?

About the author


Originally from France, Damien has made Spain his home. He loves languages, learning, food and startups.

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