Easy Seafood Paella Recipe made with mixed frozen seafood and a touch of turmeric, a quick and easy dish for a delicious midweek dinner. It's hearty and full of colour, and on the table in 30 minutes or so.
What is paella
Paella is one of Spain's most famous dishes, and that also makes it popular all over the world too. It's basically a rice dish that can have either chicken, seafood or any other meat added, chorizo being a very popular addition too.
Although the original version is a lot fancier, nothing stops us from making this dish our own, and tweaking the ingredients according to our taste buds and budgets.
The vibrant yellow colour is usually achieved by adding saffron, which is quite a pricey ingredient. Saffron does add a subtle unique flavour to the dish, but I found that the best replacement for saffron is turmeric, which is a lot more easily available and cheaper too.
Authentic paella might not use turmeric, but I am not claiming this to be a traditional dish, but more like my own take on the classic Spanish sample food. It's a lot easier to make, with whatever ingredients I had around, but so delicious and as posh as it can get.
Ingredients needed to make mixed seafood paella
- paella rice - or Arborio rice
- chicken stock - or fish stock if you have
- onion - either red or yellow onion, or shallots
- cherry tomatoes - or any other tomatoes
- vegetable oil - or any other oil
- salt & black pepper
- sweet paprika - smoked paprika also ok
- ground turmeric
- mixed frozen seafood - I used mussels, calamari rings and scallops
- chopped fresh parsley
Like any homemade dish, this paella can be easily tweaked without compromising on taste or texture. You can add any vegetables you like, peas or green beans would be quite a nice addition.
Chicken, either fresh or leftover can be used too, as well as chorizo or any other sausage. For seafood, I used a mixture of mussels, calamari rings and scallops, but anything else can be added too: shrimp/prawns (they are quite a popular addition in fact), squid, clams, octopus, and so on.
Step-by-step photos and instructions
For this dish I used frozen mixed seafood, which was cooked straight from frozen, but I removed any ice particles as well as I could, in order to avoid getting too much liquid into the rice. Alternatively, the seafood can be thawed beforehand and cooked chilled.
- peel and chop the onion and garlic
- heat up the oil on a low heat, and the chopped onion with a pinch of salt, and leave to fry gently until golden - it's it crucial for the heat to be on low, otherwise the onions change colour and burn too fast, without it being soft enough
- add the garlic and chopped tomatoes, and leave to cook for a further 2-3 minutes, so the tomatoes can become mushy
- the rice, paprika and turmeric can now be added, just stir gently to mix them all
- pour in the chicken stock, give it a stir, place the lid on the pan, and leave to cook on a low to medium heat until most of the liquid is absorbed - there is no need to stir while the rice is cooking
- add the seafood on top of the rice, place the lid back again, and cook for a further 7 minutes until the mussels have opened up, and all the seafood is cooked through - at this stage the rice is cooked through too, and all the liquid is absorbed
- garnish with fresh parsley
Paella vs. risotto
The stock/broth is very important, as this gives so much flavour to the dish, I used chicken stock, but fish stock, if you have, is a very good addition here.
Unlike the Italian risotto, which has a creamy texture, the paella doesn't need to be as creamy, that is why there is no need to stirring frequently. Leave the rice to cook undisturbed, that's the way to get a rice grains separated.
And that's my take on the Spanish paella, I for one absolutely loved it, and I will definitely try more variations too. Do give it a try, you will love it!
Other mixed seafood recipes
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Easy Seafood Paella Recipe
- 1 cup paella rice (or Arborio rice)
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 onion
- 3 cloves of garlic
- ½ cup cherry tomatoes
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 2 cup mixed frozen seafood (mussels, calamari rings, scallops)
- 2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- Peel and chop the onion and garlic.
- In a large pan, heat up the oil on a low heat, add the onion with a pinch of salt and fry until golden.
- Add the garlic and tomatoes, and cook for a further 2-3 minutes until the tomatoes are mushy.
- In go the paprika, turmeric and rice, salt and pepper.
- Give them a good stir, add the stock, and place the lid on.
- Cook on a low to medium heat without stirring at all until most liquid is evaporated.
- Throw in the seafood, and place the lid back again.
- Cook for 7 minutes until the seafood is cooked through, and rice is cooked, and all the liquid is absorbed.
- Garnish with fresh parsley.