Thursday 12 August 2010


My status update on FB on Tuesday caused quite a stir and I received a few requests to post the recipe, so here goes.

Before we rush into the kitchen to cook, let’s clear up the pronunciation thing.
It is pronounced pah-el-ya, but the first L is pronounced in a rather complicated way where the tongue does not actually touch the pallet. So it sounds closer to pah-eh-ya.
Got it?

Let’s cook!

6-7 Tbsp Extra virgin Olive oil (or more)
5-6 Chicken thighs
About 150 gm Chorizo (Thinly sliced, you can use smoked ham instead or none at all)
1 large Onion (chopped)
4 Tomatoes (peeled, deseeded and chopped)
6-7 Cloves of Garlic (chopped)
1 Tsp of Saffron strands soaked in 1/4 cup of warm water
4 cups medium grain Rice
10 cups Chicken Stock (fish stock or plain water)
1 red and 1 green Pepper (cored and sliced. They add an amazing flavor to this dish)
About 100 gm Peas (Thaw if using frozen)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tsp Spanish smoked paprika
1 Tsp Spanish hot paprika – you can substitute with cayenne pepper.
1 Tsp Cumin powder
500 gm Mussels (scrubbed clean)
200 gm medium size Prawns (cleaned, deveined)
200 gm Firm white fish fillets cut in bite-size pieces (optional)

10-12 pitted black or green olives
6-7 Jumbo Prawns cooked with shell on
Lemon wedges
Fresh Parsley chopped

Heat 3-4 Tbsp olive oil in a heavy-baed pan and add the chicken thighs. Cut the thighs through at the bone, or use deboned thighs. Cook on a very high flame till brown on all sides. Remove and keep on a plate.

In the same pan top up the oil and saute the onion, garlic with little bit of chopped parsley on a medium flame. When onions become soft, add the tomatoes, a little salt, cumin and smoked red paprika, as well as the hot red paprika. Cook till it all becomes soft (for about 5 minutes). Remove this on a plate and keep aside.

Add another Tbsp of oil in the pan and cook the chopped peppers for 3-4 minutes.
Now add the onion-tomato paste back in. Also put the chicken, chorizo and the rice and mix well to coat all the grains. Put in the stock and the saffron along with the water. Give it a quick stir, so that everything mixes well. Add salt and pepper to taste.
I use three heaped teaspoons of salt and a level teaspoon of freshly ground pepper.
Bring it to a boil and then simmer on low heat until the rice absorbs all the stock.
Do not cover the pan and do not stir now.
This will take about 25-30 minutes, depending on your stove.

Meanwhile panfry the prawns in butter for 2-3 minutes.
Remove on a plate.
Fry the fish in the same pan for about 2-minutes a side adding more butter if necessary.
Now in the same pan cook the jumbo prawns with the shell on. Cook for 3-minutes or until the shell turns orange.

In another saucepan boil 1 cup of water with little salt and add the mussels. Cover with a lid and cook on a high flame for 4 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally. Open the lid and take out the mussels. Discard any that have not opened.

When the rice is cooked, dish a layer into a large ovenproof dish.
Layer two-thirds of the fish, mussels, peas and shelled prawns on top of this, and then cover with the remaining rice mix.
Spread the remaining seafood and peas on top.

Cover the dish with heavy foil and place in warm oven – 100c – for 15 minutes.

Open it again and garnish with the jumbo prawns, lemon wedges, olives and chopped parsley.
Dig in.
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Kader Khan

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