Fluffy, golden rice, red peppers seasoned with saffron and a delicious tomato and garlic base cooked over a wood fire – this is what you see in the best paella catering in Sydney. Of course, there are variations; people have been tinkering with the recipe for centuries (with great results). Seafood, meat-based, vegetarian and mixed recipes all offer different and delicious takes on the traditional dish.
This article will share some top tips for making the yummiest dish possible, (mostly) regardless of which recipe you’re using.
Cook over a wood fire
Cooking your dish in an authentic pan over an open wood fire is arguably the most authentic way to make the best paella in Sydney. The wood fire gives the dish a smoky flavour and creates a layer of crisp, toasted rice at the base of the pan (which you can’t get by cooking it in an oven).
While this may sound strange to those who are used to cooking Italian dishes like Bolognese and risotto, the best paella in Sydney is made by not stirring (except at the very beginning). As a dry rice dish, the aim is to have a crispy, caramelized base that sticks to the pan – which you can only really get by avoiding stirring. Connoisseurs also suggest using a medium to medium-high temperature once the ingredients start boiling in order to develop the crust at the base.
Use quality rice
Debate continues to rage around which variation of rice to use in the best paella in Sydney. Some suggest that the short-grained bomba is a great choice due to the fact that it doesn’t overcook as quickly as other varieties, while others argue that bomba doesn’t absorb the sofrito (flavour base) as well as medium-grained varieties like senia. Experiment with different kinds of rice to find the flavour and texture you prefer – and regardless of which you choose, make sure to fry it in olive oil!
Use local, natural ingredients
It goes without saying that you should aim to use natural and locally-produced ingredients in any dish. This ensures that you’re getting the freshest, healthiest and most delicious produce possible. It’s also better for the environment as there are fewer chemicals involved and less transportation requirements.
Avoid certain ingredients and combinations
Connoisseurs and traditionalists argue that there are certain rules that one must follow in order to make the best paella in Sydney. This includes sticking to classic ingredients like green beans, rabbit, duck, artichoke and chicken, and avoiding “inauthentic” ingredients like peas, chorizo, stock and potatoes. By staying true to traditional ingredients, they argue, you will get a more genuine and Spanish-tasting flavour. They also suggest not to combine seafood and meat, and to only use seafood if you’re close to the sea (so that you’re getting the freshest, tastiest produce).
Add some secret herbs and spices
Experts suggest that the key to making the best paella in Sydney is to use the right herbs and spices – after all, the rich, smoky flavours are what make the dish so good! Smoked paprika, saffron and rosemary are the classics, creating warm, fragrant flavours typical of a traditional dish. The paprika and saffron also give the dish a gorgeous yellow colour. Avoid using cheaper alternatives like colorante (made from corn-starch, salt and colouring), which have a less authentic taste (and don’t provide as many health benefits).
Making the best paella in Sydney doesn’t have to be too hard. Feel free to experiment with different flavour combinations, but ensure you stick to tried and tested cooking methods for an authentic taste.