Christmas Recipe: Paella (adapted from Gordon Ramsay's Cookalong Show on BBC Lifestyle)

Xmas Paella

Christmas Paella (serves 4)

  • 1 x red pepper(s), finely diced
  • 1 x onion(s), medium, finely chopped
  • 2 x garlic clove(s), peeled
  • 400g paella rice
  • 125ml wine, dry white
  • 1tsp smoked paprika
  • saffron threads, generous pinch
  • 1l vegetable stock, hot
  • 12 x mussels, fresh, large, well scrubbed, beards removed
  • 4 x prawns, large
  • 4 x squid, prepared, approx 170g in total, sliced into rings
  • 280g monkfish fillet, roughly chopped
  • flat-leaf parsley, a handful, chopped
  • 1 x lemon(s), cut into wedges
  • olive oil
  • sea salt
  • ground black pepper

1. Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a large

paella pan


frying pan

. Add the onion and cook out briefly.

2. Add the chopped pepper and crush in the garlic. Season with a

little salt and pepper

and cook until softened.

3. Sprinkle the smoked paprika and saffron into the pan. Follow with the rice and stir well so that each

grain of rice

is well coated in oil.

4. Add the wine and allow to evaporate before pouring in the hot stock.

5. Cover with a lid and leave to simmer gently for 20 mins. Stir occasionally to prevent the rice from sticking.

6. Five mins before the end of cooking add the mussels, prawns, squid and monkfish to the pan. Stir, and replace the lid to finish cooking.

7. Just before serving mix through the chopped parsley and garnish with lemon wedges.


Gordon Ramsay is joined in the kitchen by fashion stylist Gok Wan in the Christmas special for his Cookalong show. Their aim is to prove that everyone can prepare delicious homemade dishes for a 3 course dinner within 60 minutes. If you are planning to cook along to this program (showing at 7.55pm tonight, 20 Dec 09 on

Starhub Cable's Channel 83

), it would be best to prep your ingredients and utensils ahead to avoid unnecessary stress.

For a peek at the show's hilarious bits (do you want to see Gordon Ramsay blush?), go to the following link:

Some of the ingredients for the  paella

Here is a picture of some of the required ingredients. No time to make stock or pop down to the butchery to get

gourmet stock? You can use Swanston Chicken Broth (easily available at supermarkets). 

Spices & Sea Salt

My favourite place to buy spices, grains and nuts is Bunalan.

Arborio Rice

Arborio Rice

Arborio Rice

is not commonly available in Singapore but is a necessary ingredient for this dish as it is near impossible to find Bomba Rice (traditional Spanish rice) for paella.  Please do not substitute with

Thai Jasmine Rice

or Japanese Short Grain Rice or Basmati Rice as the flavour and starch content are very different.

Unfortunately, my schedule didn't permit me the time to stop by Bunalan during their operating hours to get the rice so I found myself doing the headless chicken run covering 8 locations before I finally found some at the 24 hour Cold Storage outlet in Katong Mall. I couldn't find any Arborio Rice in Culina Dempsey (sold out), both supermarkets at Vivocity, the Cold Storage in Harbourfront, the 24 hour Cold Storage in Holland Village, the 24 hour NTUC at Esso Station along Still Road and Mustafa.

Saffron threads

Saffron Threads

@ S$12 for 0.5g (this pinch here is about S$6 worth)

Saffron is the world's most expensive spice and is an essential ingredient for Paella as it imparts a distinctive flavour to the dish. This is another ingredient that's a little tricky to find in Singapore. Many supermarkets sell  it but if you examine them closely, the saffron threads look awfully limp and as if they haven't been stored well. I've even found mould in some of the saffron boxes in the supermarkets. I bought my Saffron from Culina in Dempsey.



Paprika is another essential spice in Paella. Thankfully, it is easily available in any supermarket.

Flat Leaf Parsley

Flat Leaf Parsley

Flat Leaf Parsley is not available in all supermarkets but can be found in places like Culina or supermarkets at locations serving the expatriate crowd. 

Sea Salt Crystals

Sea Salt Crystals

I like cooking Western dishes with

sea salt

as I find the saltiness to be more subtle than that of table salt and I like that it is less processed than table salt. Easily available in most supermarkets.

Chopped Bombay Onion & Diced Red Bell Pepper

Chopped Bombay Onion and

Diced Red Bell Pepper

I like using Bombay Onions instead of White Onions or Yellow Onions in my cooking because they have a sweeter flavour and is also alot cheaper.

Seafood for the Paella

I couldn't find Monkfish so I substituted it with Scallops. As I didn't have the time to head down to Tekka Market to buy my seafood, I settled for what was available in the supermarket.

Preparing the Paella

Here is a photo montage of the paella being cooked. Click


to access the Flickr album for a closer look. 

Cooking the paella was a fairly painless process.

I guess the recipe said to cover the paella so as to speed up the cooking process.

I didn't bother covering the pan as traditional paella pans do not have covers. I'm glad to finally use my paella pan after keeping it in my cupboard for years! If you do not have a paella pan, a large based pan/pot should do.

Do not use a small based pot, as the tendency would be to stir often to ensure an even cooking and prevent burning. An important point to note is not to stir the paella too often as it could release too much starch from the rice thereby creating a creamy seafood risotto instead.

Closer look at the Xmas Paella

My paella was a little too soggy for my liking. I think I shall adopt the Spanish method, which is to gradually add stock as the rice absorbs the fluid, the next time I make this. The flavour of saffron and paprika was awesome.  Difficulty rating: 2 out of 5

Dessert and quiz question coming up in the next post.

* Cost of all ingredients were borne by yours truly.  :)