Paella – tools of the trade

So you’ve decided you loved our paella so much you’d like to make your own… but what will you need? This is a question we get asked often at Food Adventura. We have a few tips and tricks for you on cookware, burners and utensils that should get you making paella like a pro in no time.

It’s all about the pan

The pan, or ‘La Paella’ as it is traditionally known, is THE most important tool to consider when making paella.

The shape of the pan is key as it ensures the rice can be spread out in a thin layer to cook through evenly, maximizing the amount of flavour absorbed. The pan should be wide, round and quite shallow (about 5cm deep is perfect). It should have two handles (bigger pans will have more) and will often have a slight dip in the centre, which is where the olive oil collects to help with the initial sautéing of meats and vegetables.

The pans are made from a variety of materials but we use and recommend enameled steel because it requires little maintenance and it’s also extremely easy to clean. A big bonus!

The size of the pan you buy is dependent on the number of people you will cook for most of the time, and the size of your available heat-source. For example if you’ll be cooking for two to four people and want to use your stovetop a 20cm pan should be suitable.

If you’re going to be cooking paella for legions of people on regular occasions, you might want to consider a more professional set-up. This would include pans between 65cm and 90cm that would feed between 25 to 50 people dependent on the recipe and the amount of rice used, however with this option you will also need to include the purchase of an outdoor gas burner.

What is this gas burner you speak of?

Bigger paellas require gas ring burners, and we use Garcima, the original Spanish brand of burner. The Garcima burners use a standard LPG gas bottle so they are recommended for outdoor use only. A burner between 50cm and 70cm is the most appropriate size for these large pans.

Burners do have an upper limit with regards to the size of the pan they can support so be sure to test out the appropriate pan / burner combination with the sales assistant when purchasing. The bigger burners can accommodate smaller pans too and you only need use the inner rings for this.

Whether you cook your paella on your stovetop or a paella burner ensuring there is an even heat under the pan at all times is essential or it won’t cook evenly.

Anything else?

Not much! Making paella requires little more than a long handled spoon for stirring initially, some aluminium foil to cover it while it cooks and a steel pan scraper to scrape off the socarrat (the thin and delicious layer of rice that caramelises on the bottom of the paella pan). Simple isn’t it?!

I want to make a purchase, where do I go?
Chefs Warehouse in Surry Hills carries everything you need to make Paella at home. They stock small to large pans, gas burners, scrapers and a variety of spoons for you to choose from. They are open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.

How about a recipe to get me started?
One of our favourite paella recipes can be found in our latest newsletter. There is also our squid ink paella recipe on the blog. Be sure to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest updates and many more of our secret recipes!

Food Adventure are the best rated paella catering sydney providers. Please see our home page for more information.

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