5/26 New Things Challenge: Cook a new dish

Yesterday I learnt two things: 1)How to cook Paella and 2) How to pronounce Paella.

Paella which I have been pronouncing ‘Pie-ella,’ is in fact pronounced ‘Pie-ai-a!’ Who knew?!

Well my housemate Felix, who spent a lot of time in South America did. One of my 26 challenges is going to be to get a Spanish lesson off of him, but in the mean time I decided to cook something I’ve never cooked before and make this Spanish dish.

I googled a few recipes, which mainly consisted of searching for: “Easy Paella recipe” and “Cheap Paella recipe”. I read a few, got the jist of how the dish is cooked and did my own version.


  • Chorizo
  • Can of chopped Toms
  • 1 Red Onion
  • Long Grain Rice
  • Chilli
  • 1 Red pepper
  • 2 Cloves of garlic
  • Prawns
  • Five Bean mix
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Turmeric
  • Paprika
  • Sploshes of red wine
  • 1 Lemon

I kind of cheated and did the rice and turmeric in a rice cooker, for me it’s the only way to cook rice. At every cafe, street stall and side of the road kitchen in South East Asia a  rice cooker would be on hand,  steaming away close by. For the people in these countries rice is their food staple, they eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They are pretty much rice connoisseurs, so I’m following their way.

Paella I soon realised was a really simple dish to cook. Firstly I cooked the chorizo in some garlic and red onion and just added the rest of ingredients listed above minus the prawns and lemons. I flavored to taste as  the tomato juice and red wine reduced. In a separate pan I coated the prawns in paprika and cayenne pepper and cooked in a little oil. I also cooked the rice in the rice cooker and added a few teaspoons of turmeric. Then when there was still some liquid that hadn’t reduced I added the cooked prawns and cooked rice and gave it a good mix with lots of lemon juice.


I read on Wikipedia that  the paella must then sit for about five minutes (most recipes recommend the paella be covered with a tea-towel at this point) to absorb the remaining broth. So I did just that and found it gave it a more risotto like texture to the dish which I assumed was a good thing.


To serve I added slices of lemons and a sandalwood candle, which was provided by my housemate Felix.

Candlelight dinner for two.
Candlelight dinner for two.


All in all I think it turned out pretty well. It was easy, it was very tasty, it was a new dish. Perhaps next time I’ll add some mussels if I am not feeling so cheap…

5 down, 21 to go!


Published by emmytravels

Writer, journalist and digital marketer. I said 'So Long!' to London this year, went travelling to S.E Asia, New Zealand and ended up staying in Melbourne, Australia.

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