questionsany cooks, chefs, grandmothers, or spanish people…

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This is a good place to start. My best tip for you is this: remember that a recipe is a starting point, not a precisely engineered set of instructions so tightly arranged that if you deviate a bit will then completely screw up the end result. So, if you find a recipe you like but it's got too much saffron in it, leave some out. I don't like seafood so whenever I make paella, it doesn't contain any. Some people think that's mental but I eat what I like. Put what you like in it and it'll taste good.

edit: BTW, you've spelled "favorite" incorrectly. ;P

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First question: Do you own a paella pan?

Edit: Try the very basic and simple recipe. You can vary the meats as much as your palate and pockets allow. I certainly don't add asparagus, but of course you might like it.
Remember there are several versions of paella, recipes vary from the coast to further inland.
This is a Cuban version with less costly ingredients:
http://www.justapinch.com/recipes/main-course/chicken/paella-cubana-con-chorizo-marisco-y-pollo.html

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@lavikinga: Although paella pans are great, you don't really need one to make it. Any wide skillet with sloping sides will do the trick. I've made it in my stock paella pan and in my de buyer 12 in. pan and I prefer the de buyer. But, that may be because it's a higher quality pan to begin with.

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It doesn't require that much saffron and if you shop around, it can be very affordable.

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@lavikinga: I agree, also you really get a lot of bang for your buck. It adds loads of flavor with just a tiny amount of spice.

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@zuiquan: I've used a cast iron on the grill--not fond of seafood stink in my house.

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@zuiquan: "incorrectly" was the wrong choice of words I think. Perhaps "differently?"

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@countdown: Actually, no. In American English it's spelled without a U. I just spent the last two years of my life working with Brits and Canadians and having them give me bleep about the way we spell things. My Canadian friends who had kids attending American schools would always complain about their kids being marked wrong on spelling tests because they were using English English spelling. I just asked them if I went to Canada and spelled things the American way if I would be wrong or right, and the answer was always "wrong". So, when in Rome...

Besides, the emoticon should have let you know it was a good-natured joke.

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I used to make paella in a well seasoned and much used wok. I don't eat much seafood, so the only guest from the sea was usually krab. My friends used to call it "Chinese paella" (because of the wok and the absence of shellfish), and it was a huge favorite. About once a month everyone would pile money on the table so I could buy all the ingredients to make a up a big batch for my circle of friends. I haven't made it in many years though.

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I'm sure there are lots of them online, usually with photos so you can judge if they seem appetizing to you based on both photo and ingredients. People's tastes vary so wildly that my recipe may be repugnant to you and vice versa.

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If you have a trader joe's near you - they have packets of saffron (enough for a few pinches - i can't think of any dish that needs more than a pinch) very reasonably priced.

I can't offer any more advice that hasn't been given, but will say - your title made me laugh :)

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@moondrake: Thanks - you answered the question I hadn't asked yet:

"I don't have a paella pan, I wonder if I could use my wok?"

Hadn't heard of this before, but looks & sounds yummy. Can't wait to try one or two of these recipes out!!!

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@75grandville: IME, the key to a good result was the order and speed in which I added the ingredients. Some of my friends (and to my great satisfaction, my ex) tried to duplicate my paella without success. Mostly because they didn't have a good sense of how long it would take each ingredient to cook to the exact doneness and thus in what order and at what pace to add everything so that it would all be just so at the end.

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Thanks for the replies everyone. I did look up recipes online, and got somewhat confused. I guess these are some of the "issues".
1. Spanish websites say never use long-grain rice, only short-grain. You guest it. All the TV Cooks use long-grain.
2. A Paella should never be covered (according to tradition), and most of the recipes told me to simmer with a lid (damn you Martha Stewart)
3. Many of the recipes say "finish in the oven".

I will bought a Paella Pan from World Market. It cost around $15 on sale. So I think I will practice how to make rice in it, and then slowly move forward. Sound like a plan?

Also, if any nice Spanish or Cuban person would like to save me from a hard learning curve, just come over to my house, cook dinner, and enjoy the experience of making people happy lol. I will buy the ingredients and the wine.

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@atd15: Make sure you season your pan first. Don't get too caught up in which type of rice you use. They both work, with somewhat different results, and you may prefer one over the other. Experiment and see which one you like. Cooking is (or can be) like a science experiment. There's really only a couple ways you can completely ruin a dish. One is by oversalting and the other is if you burn it. Other than that you can pretty much fix anything so don't worry, get in there, and see what happens. Rice is cheap so if you screw it up it's not a big deal. Don't go in for the expensive imported rice, stick with the cheap stuff for now.

Finishing in the oven is like baking off a casserole, you just toss it in a 350 degree oven until it's done. It also firms up the top and bottom after the simmer.
Simmering with the lid on is to cook the rice. It's to make sure your rice cooks without burning or having to add extra liquid. Do it. It's good. Much easier as a newbie to do it that way.

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@zuiquan: I think we just disagree then. I would not call an american wrong for spelling it their own way in Canada. Similarly, it took all of 30 seconds for me to convince my american english teacher to let me keep the Canadian spelling without losing marks when I moved to the US.

I just object to calling it wrong in either situation. People can be so close-minded.

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@countdown: I've noticed that you've not capitalized "american" but you have capitalized "Canadian." Intentional or just a Freudian slip? Are Americans somehow not as good as you and are therefore undeserving of capitalization? I'm amazed at how spiteful and hateful you are.

Seriously though, don't be so sensitive. Just as an aside, if you were to write a document for consumption at NATO and use American spellings, it's wrong. Period. And you will be told so by people higher up the ladder than you. And then you will fix it and take out all the Z's (or zeds) and replace them with S's and then you will add in all the U's that you've forgotten. And then everyone will be happy.

Just in case you didn't get it, that whole first paragraph is a very dry attempt at humor. Sometimes I feel the need to explain things on the internet.