Spicy Paella Recipe

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Chef Boldwin Barlow, from Park Inn by Radisson in Newlands, shares his spicy twist on the classic Paella recipe. Good paella rice is not easy to find in South Africa, so you can use short grain Arborio risotto rice instead.

Click here to read more about the best rice for paella

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Paella is at its heart a rice dish, with the ingredients serving a secondary role to flavour the rice. In Spanish, the ingredients are known as the ‘banda’ and sometimes the rice is even served without the ‘banda’ since its primary function is to release flavours into the rice.

Rice is from the botanical species oryza sativa, and there are two primary sub species indica and japonica.

Indica rice is characterised by long, narrow grains, and is normally served as an accompaniment for example in Indian cooking (eg Basmati rice). This is because the grains themselves do not readily absorb flavours, and the rice itself has a distinctive flavour of its own.

Japonica rice, on the other hand, is characterised by short oval shaped grains, and has little flavour of its own. It does, however, have super absorbent properties and readily absorbs moisture and flavours from the recipe. Japonica rice absorbs two to three times its own weight in moisture, and for this reason Japonica rice is the best rice to use not only in paella, but in a range of rice based dishes where the absorbtion properties are import (eg. Risotto).

You’re not going to have good results with long grain rice such as Jasmine or Basmati, so rather wait until you can get your hands on some good quality risotto rice!

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Paella Recipe by Chef Boldwin Barlow, Park Inn Radisson, Newlands

Chef Boldwin Barlow’s PAELLA


50g prawn meat

100g clams

50g chorizo sausage, diced

450g shrimp, peeled and deveined (or just use 500g prawns altogether)

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp paprika

2 tsp dried oregano

1 tbsp medium curry spice

1 tsp turmeric

salt and black pepper to taste

2 tbsp olive oil, divided

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

2 cups uncooked short-grain white rice

1 pinch saffron threads

1 bay leaf

½ bunch Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped

1 cup chopped fresh coriander

2 lemons, zested

2 tbsp olive oil

½ tsp truffle oil (optional)

1 spring onion, chopped

1 red bell pepper, diced


In a medium bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons of olive oil with the paprika, oregano, salt, pepper, turmeric and curry spice.

Heat 2 tsbp olive oil in a large frying pan or paella pan over medium heat. Stir in garlic, red pepper flakes and rice. Cook, stirring, to coat rice with oil, about 3 minutes. Stir in saffron threads, bay leaf, parsley, coriander, and lemon zest. Add the spice mixture.

Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to medium low.

Simmer 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tsbp olive oil and the truffle oil (optional) in a separate skillet over medium heat. Stir in marinated chicken and spring onion; cook 5 minutes.

Stir in diced bell pepper and chopped chorizo sausage; cook 5 minutes. Stir in prawns and shrimp; cook, turning the shrimp until both sides are pink.

Spread rice mixture onto a serving tray. Top with meat and seafood mixture.

About Park Inn® by Radisson

Park Inn® by Radisson is an upper midscale hotel brand that delivers stress-free experiences, good food and upbeat environments. Park Inn® by Radisson positively lifts our guests’ mood for a happy stay – with clever use of color; inspired, contemporary design; and friendly personalised service with surprising, feel-good extras. Park Inn® by Radisson hotels are in capital cities, around economic and transit hubs, and conveniently situated near airports and railway stations. Guests and professional business partners can enhance their experience with Park Inn® by Radisson by participating in Radisson Rewards™, a global loyalty program offering exceptional benefits and rewards.

Park Inn® by Radisson is a part of Radisson Hotel Group, which also includes Radisson Collection™, Radisson Blu®, Radisson®, Radisson RED®, Park Plaza®, Country Inn & Suites® by Radisson and prizeotel.

For reservations and more information visit, www.parkinn.com.

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Celebrating life with food, wine, friends & happiness! Writer, cook and blogger. Author of four cookbooks. Passionately South African, proudly Capetonian.