Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Here's how to make authentic Paella Negra

MANILA – The Philippines’ never-ending love affair with rice is partly influenced by its 300-year history with Spain.

While rice was then considered a luxury during pre-colonial times, reserved only as a tribute for chieftains of various tribes, Spain’s introduction of plow technology eventually made the valued crop an everyday staple for Filipinos.

Along with these agricultural innovations, Spain also brought to the Philippines its wealth of culinary secrets, including recipes for the different styles of its world-famous paella, a Valencian rice dish. Filipinos serve paella mostly on special occasions, especially during Noche Buena, another Spanish tradition.

Now, Filipinos have an easy-to-make paella recipe that can be prepared anytime at home.

Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila’s guest chefs, Nicolas Diaz and Maria Aguaza from Barcino Wine Resto Bar, took us to one of the open kitchens in Spiral to teach us firsthand how to make Arroz Negro de Calamar, also known as Paella Negra.

The cooking class was part of Sofitel’s “Flavors of the World Series,” which ran until June 25.

Paella Negra is made with squid ink, which is added to the rice in the cooking broth and gives the dish the color and its name. It is usually served in a frying pan or bowl decorated with lemon and red bell peppers.

It can be accompanied with aioli sauce on the side for that extra kick, as well as walnuts for a more interesting and Instagrammable dish.

Ingredients (makes 10 portions):

1200 g squid
450 g onion
3-4 pcs garlic cloves
500 g tomato
350 g green bell pepper
10 g parsley
30 ml olive oil
10 g salt (Chef’s tip: saffron salt works best!)
30 g squid ink
900 g Bomba rice
350 ml white wine
2000 ml fish broth
175 g red bell pepper
2 pcs lemon


1. Clean the squid properly and cut into small pieces. Reserve.

2. Peel and cut the onions and garlic cloves in small dices. Grate the tomato.

3. Wash the green bell pepper, remove seeds, and chop it into squares.

4. Wash and finely chop the parsley. Reserve all vegetables separately.

5. Put some olive oil in a frying pan and lightly fry the squid for a few minutes. Remove and set aside.

6. Once the squid is removed, add a little more oil and fry lightly the onion until it’s well poached. Salt the onion.

7. Add the garlic and green bell pepper and fry lightly for about 5 minutes more. Add the grated tomato and continue to cook for another 5 minutes.

8. Add the squid inked solved in water and the chopped parsley and cook for about 5 minutes.

9. Add the reserved squid and the rice and fry lightly for a couple of minutes. Add the white wine and fry until wine is evaporated.

10. Pour the fish broth on a saucepan and keep it hot for the next step.

11. Pour half of the hot broth on the frying pan with vegetables and rice and cook for about 10 minutes in high heat. Add the rest of the broth and cook for 8 minutes more in low heat.

12. Turn off the heat, cover and let stand for two minutes. Fry slices of red bell pepper. Reserve. Clean the lemons and cut them in slices.

13. Decorate the frying pan with lemons and red bell peppers.