Thursday, 18 February 2010

Poor Man's Paella

Shrove Tuesday marked the start of Lent, the 40-day period leading up to Easter, and usually commemorated with the eating of pancakes, as it is the final day that one can consume sugar, fat, eggs and other nice things before observing Lent through abstinence. Traditionally, meat was also precluded from the fast, and fish and other, plainer items are consumed instead.

I thought it would be fit to acknowledge the run up to Good Friday with a recipe that incorporates the frozen fish and prawns that I have bought quite a while ago, and seafood paella was one of the things that came to mind. I've had experience cooking rice in a wok before, and thought that this recipe should be relatively simple.

While I was getting the rice from my local Sainsbury's though, I came across a newly launched line of products in the Basics range. I have never seen the stock cubes before, and am genuinely excited by their introduction. So excited, in fact, that I have bought all three products in the line, the chicken, beef and vegetable stock cubes. Thankfully, they are much cheaper than their regular store brand counterparts. I might have more stock cubes than ideas now however, so if you have any suggestions how I could incorporate them in future postings, contact me through the usual channels. For this post, I will use the vegetable stock cube to enliven the paella. I could have used the chicken stock, but then I would have meat in the pea

Paella is usually coloured with saffron, which is a very expensive item, and definitely not something you'll find in the Basics range. I resorted to using Basics English Mustard instead, a poor substitute, having a completely different taste to the herb. The mustard itself is not very sharp; I find myself able to actually spoon this into my mouth without any severe reaction.

Start by preparing chopped onion and garlic, and cutting your fish into small cubes.

Heat oil in a pan and brown onion and garlic.

Add fish and prawns and continue to fry until fish turns white.

Add the rice and dry fry for a while. Season with herb mix and then stir a teaspoon of mustard thoroughly through the rice.

Add a can of Basics tomatoes. Start with the tomatoes first...

... followed by the liquid in the can.

Top it up with water used to defrost the fish. Avoid putting too much water or you will end up with very soft rice. Add just enough water to cover your fingernail when you dip it vertically into the wok.
Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat and cover pan. Once the rice has expanded and is soft enough, it is ready to serve.
It is interesting to note that the Spanish consider the toasted rice at the bottom of the pan a delicacy. Overall the paella was a success. It could be further augmented by the addition of Basics Frozen Vegetables, but I did not have the heart to go through yet another bag of that.

DescriptionPrice per UnitNo. of servingsTrade-up PremiumTrade-up Benefits
Vegetable Stock Cubes£0.1910+£0.89No palm oil
English Mustard£0.45180g+£0.19Sharper tasting mustard

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