Type of Rice to Use in Paella

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Rice is an essential ingredient to add when cooking paella dishes. Spanish paella, Valencian paella and mixed paella are widely recognized types of paella recipes. Traditional paella cooks allow a layer of toasted rice to cook at the bottom of the pan. Paella cooks recommend that people who want to cook paella dishes use a medium grain rice. This type of rice becomes chewy when cooked, unlike long grain rice, which tends to fluff.

U.S. Medium Grain Rice

  • Medium grain rice is often used in paella dishes. Two types of medium grain rice are U.S. Arborio rice and regular milled white rice. When cooked, U.S. Arborio rice takes on a creamy texture, develops a chewy center and absorbs flavors. Regular milled white rice cooks in 15 minutes, and the grains become moist and tender.

Spanish Rice

  • Spanish rice is also known as paella rice. The preferred traditional Spanish rice for paella dishes is Valencia rice. Valencia rice is a medium grain rice that absorbs flavors. Other types of Spanish rice often used in paella dishes are Bomba rice and Calasparra rice. Calasparra and Bomba are favorites with paella cooks and considered excellent choices for paella dishes because of their quality texture.

Italian Rice

  • Vialone Nano, Carnaroli rice and Italian Arborio rice are Italian rice grades that are used as rice substitutes by paella cooks when Spanish rice is not available. These varieties absorb a lot of water and do not get soggy. Italian rice is also called risotto rice and should not be washed off when it is being used to make paella dishes; if it is washed, the starch comes off and it becomes creamy when cooked.

Short Grain Rice

  • When cooked short grain rice becomes soft, the kernels stay separate and are a bit chewy. Granza rice is a short grain rice commonly used to make paella dishes. Granza rice is hard to find; however, it can be ordered from online food shops.

References

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