, Step by step

Classic Spanish paella

A dish steeped in history, not to mention a wide variety of ingredients, textures, and flavors.

Preparation Time: 20 mins

Cooking Time: 30 mins

Serves: 10


  • Step 1

    Heat the olive oil in a paella dish or heavy-based saucepan on the stove on a medium heat. Add the chopped garlic, onion and pepper and cook until softened.

  • Step 2

    Next add the thyme and rice and stir until all the grains of rice are nicely coated and glossy. Add the saffron powder and stir through. Now pour in the vegetable stock and add the chopped chicken thighs. Cook for 5-10 minutes on a medium heat.

  • Step 3

    Sprinkle the peas and diced tomatoes on top and continue to cook gently for another 10 minutes.

  • Step 4

    Wash and clean the clams and mussels to remove any grit.

  • Step 5

    Add the clams, mussels, prawns and squid and mix in. Finish cooking for 5 minutes. Check the seasoning, scatter the chopped parsley over the paella and serve.


Paella originates from Valencia on the eastern coast of Spain. The word derives from the ancient French word for pan—paelle—and the dish is traditionally cooked on an open fire.

During the occupation of Spain by the Moors, rice was grown along the Mediterranean coast using ancient irrigation systems that had been established by the Romans. In the Valencian regions this rice was used as a casserole ingredient combined with spices and fish and by the 1400s was an established part of Valencian cuisine for religious celebrations.

Paella, as we know it today, evolved from the 19th century onwards when a wider range of ingredients such as chicken, rabbit, beans and even land snails were added. The dish became central to family gatherings and feasts.

As with most Mediterranean food, paella is quite a healthy dish, combining shellfish, chicken and tomatoes cooked in olive oil. The predominance of oil, tomatoes and lots of other vegetables and fruit is believed to be behind the well-recognised healthiness of Mediterranean cuisine—along with the red wine of course!

A key ingredient of this dish is a mixture of shellfish, which generally are low in saturated fats, rich in beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, and a great source of many minerals, including iodine, zinc and copper. Go back