Paella in the Style of Barcelona

This is not a cheap recipe, because seafood is expensive, but it certainly is much more affordable than a restaurant meal. Do not use Risotto rice, it is too creamy and results in a ‘mushy’ paella. Do not skimp on the olive oil and season in layers as we have done, for maximum flavour delivery.


  • 2 red bell peppers, blackened and peeled
  • olive oil
  • 500 g thick pork rashers, smoked or unsmoked, cut into blocks
  • 4 - 6 boned and skinned chicken thighs, cut into blocks
  • 1 t (5 ml) Ina Paarman's Chicken Spice
  • 400g baby calamari rings
  • Ina Paarman's Chilli & Garlic Seasoning
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped (use red onions if available)
  • 1 t (5 ml) Ina Paarman's Green Onion Seasoning
  • 2 - 3 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
  • 1 t (5 ml) paprika (plain, not smoked)
  • 4 ripe tomatoes, peeled or 1 x 400 g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 t (5 ml) sugar
  • 500 g short grain rice (lightly toasted if time permits)
  • 5 cups (1.25 litres) boiling water
  • 4 x 25 g Ina Paarman’s Liquid Fish Stock
  • pinch of saffron (optional)
  • 500 g closed black mussels or green lipped mussels on the half shell

Seafood topping

  • 200 - 250 g white fish e.g. monk fish or hake, skinned, boned and diced
  • 1 - 2 t (5 - 10 ml) Ina Paarman's Fish Spice
  • olive oil
  • 10 - 12 prawns, remove vein, butterfly open and spread with toothpicks
  • Ina Paarman's Chilli & Garlic Seasoning

Lemon and garlic topping

  • 4 T (60 ml) chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 T (15 ml) grated lemon rind
  • 4 - 5 cloves garlic, crushed

Blacken the skins of the red peppers by turning them over an open gas flame (see video) or bake in a 200°C oven for ± 15 minutes. Don’t be concerned, the skin must be scorched very black. Cover and leave to sweat and cool. Remove skins and pips and cut into 2 cm pieces.

Toss the pork rashers with olive oil. Toss the chicken cubes with Chicken Spice and olive oil. Leave to stand. Toss calamari with olive oil and season with Chilli and Garlic Seasoning. Preheat the paella pan (or wok or frying pan) until very hot. Add the oiled pork cubes and stir-fry, until lightly browned. Add the chicken and calamari and stir-fry until evenly seared on the outside. Spoon everything out of the pan and keep on one side.

Add another 2 T of olive oil to the pan. Add the onions tossed with Green Onion Seasoning. Sauté for about 5 minutes and then add the garlic and paprika. Cook over gentle heat for about one minute.

Buzz the tomatoes in a blender until completely smooth. Add sugar. Add the tomato to the pan, together with the peppers. Boil open until the sauce is concentrated – about 10 minutes. Keep stirring every now and again.

Add the rice, return meat mixture to the pan and stir through. Add boiling water, Liquid Fish Stock and saffron. Simmer very slowly for ± 17 minutes (no lid). Add the mussels. Turn the heat off, cover the pan with a clean cloth and leave to stand so that the mussels can cook and the rice can absorb all the liquid ± 10 minutes.

In the meantime toss the fish with Fish Spice and olive oil and the prawns with the Chilli & Garlic Seasoning and olive oil.

Stir-fry in a separate heated pan. First the fish, remove from pan, then the prawns. Do not overcook.


To serve

Top paella with fish and prawns and sprinkle lemon and garlic topping over. Drizzle with more olive oil.

Ina's Tip

Traditionally a slight crust forms at the bottom of the paella pan. To get this, you can place the pan over a medium heat before serving. Be careful not to burn the rice.

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