Paella (IPA: [pa'eʎa]) is a typical valencian rice dish from Spain. The name paella is the word for "frying pan" in Valencian (from Latin patella).
Paella is usually garnished with vegetables and meat or seafood. The three main ingredients are rice, saffron, and olive oil.
Paella is generally cooked in a paella pan, which is a large, shallow, flat pan. First the meat, and then the vegetables are stir fried in olive oil; subsequently water is added and brought to a boil, and left boiling for half an hour or so. (This, however, is not the sole method utilized in the preparation. Many chefs add the water, allow it to come to the boil and at that moment add the rice. Otherwise the water may evaporate leaving not enough liquid in which to cook the rice.) Later, after checking the obtained broth flavour and adding salt if required, the rice is added. Real paella rice is never stir-fried in oil, as pilaf. Once the rice is nearly done, the paella is removed from the heat and left to absorb the remaining water. Traditional paella has a crispy, caramelized, toasted bottom (called socarrat in Valencian) that is considered a delicacy. To achieve a socarrat, one needs only to turn up the heat to high and listen to the bottom of the rice toast. Once the aroma of toasted rice comes from the pan, the heat is removed once again. The paella is ready to be served after having cooled for several minutes.
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