Food: Paella Valenciana – ‘The’ Paella by Omar Allibhoy

Critically acclaimed Spanish chef (and successful food author) Omar Allibhoy is the owner of Tapas Revolution, a group of vibrant restaurants serving authentic, fresh Spanish food. Here he shares with Flush the Fashion his recipe for an interpretation of a Spanish classic….

Paella by Omar Allibhoy

Serves 6
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 55-60 minutes


1g  Saffron
1 tablespoon of salt
8 tablespoons of Spanish oil
400g chicken pieces (on the bone)
400g rabbit pieces (on the bone)
200g runner beans, trimmed and cut into 2.5 CM pieces
100g broad beans or fresh white butter beans
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 large or 2 small tomatoes, grated
½ teaspoon sweet pimenton
2 litres water or light chicken stock
2-3 artichokes (depending on size), cleaned and trimmed
500g Spanish rice, such as calasparra or bomba
1 sprig of rosemary


  • Wrap the saffron in foil and toast it for 30 seconds on each side in a paella pan over a medium heat.  Remove from the pan and set aside.
  • Increase the heat to the maximum and season around the edges of the pan with the table salt.  Wait until the pan is really hot and then drizzle with the olive oil.  It should start smoking immediately; at this point throw in the pieces of chicken and rabbit (the meat needs to absorb the salt at this early stage).  Fry the meat until nicely browned on all sides (this will add to the flavour of the paella).
  • Add the runner beans and broad beans and stir together for 1 minute before adding the garlic.  Cook for 1 minute and then add the grated tomatoes (discarding the skin), pimenton and toasted saffron.  Cook for 4 minutes, stirring all the time, until you can see that the tomatoes have lost most of the juice and changed colour.
  • Add the water or chicken stock and leave to simmer for about 20 minutes, allowing the bits of caramelized chicken and vegetable on the bottom of the pan to dissolve so you get a rich stock.  If you use chicken sock instead of water you will only need to simmer for 5 minutes.  Check the seasoning but bear in mind that the rice will absorb a lot of saltiness, so it’s okay if it tastes quite salty at this stage
  • Cut the artichokes into quarters and add to the pan – if you add them any earlier the entire paella will turn dark in colour.  Add the rice, spreading it evenly over the paella pan and stir just once.  Cook on the highest heat for about 20 minutes before reducing the heat right down and cooking for a further 5-7 minutes.  Once you have added the rice and given it a good stir you shouldn’t touch the pan with the spoon again.  You need to keep the film that develops on the top of the stock from breaking; otherwise the steam will escape and the rice won’t cook evenly.  
  • When the water is at a lower level than the rice itself, add the rosemary sprig.  If the layer of rice on the top starts to look a bit crispy, cover the paella pan with a layer of newspaper for the last 5 minutes of cooking.  This will help to steam the grains on top while the bottom gets crispy.   Once the paella is finished it should look like a completely flat layer of rice.  Leave to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

For more info on Omar Allibhoy click here.

Tapas Revolution is in Westfield London, Bluewater Kent, Birmingham Grand Central, Sheffield Meadowhall, Newcastle Eldon Square, SouthGate Bath and Windsor. for more info click here >