A Spanish Delight: Seafood Paella Recipe

By Halal Trip | 30, Jan, 2024
A Spanish Delight: Seafood Paella Recipe

There is no doubt about it: Paella is the star dish and the most internationally renowned in Spanish cuisine. It’s a must-try when traveling to Spain—definitely something to experience at least once, but preferably more than once.

Paella, with rice as its main ingredient, originates from the Valencia region (precisely where the Arabs introduced rice during the time of Al-Andalus). We could almost say that there is no better place to eat paella than in Valencia, although this is sometimes a matter of debate among Spaniards. What is true is that you can enjoy delicious paella throughout Spain and, of course, in Andalusia as well.

There are dozens of paella varieties, some of which include ingredients that are not typically halal in Spain, such as chicken (unless you go to a Muslim restaurant). But there is good news. The most popular version of paella is the seafood paella, or ‘paella de marisco’. This variation of paella is packed with fresh fish, shrimp, squid, mussels, and clams, but the real treasure is the rice.

Whether you have already been to Andalusia or another part of Spain, or if this trip is still on your wish list, we are almost sure that the seafood paella recipe will interest you so that you can try making it yourself. It's simple, although it has some key points that you shouldn't miss for the paella to be truly delicious… And not just another rice dish with something else. Before going straight to the ingredients and the step-by-step recipe, take note of these tips:

Read more: 7 Delicious Local Dishes You Must Try When in Andalusia

halaltrip is now on telegram! get inspired: for the latest trends on travel & food! join our telegram group.


Tips for Making Paella

Image Credit: Freepik

The Secret is in the Rice

We repeat it because it really is the fundamental key: the secret is in the rice. Not any type of rice is suitable for making paella. Spaniards typically choose the variety called 'bomba' rice because it can absorb 3x the liquid of long-grain rice without breaking down and getting mushy. This variety of rice has a round grain, and although it is originally from India, it has been cultivated in Spain since the Middle Ages. If you can't find 'bomba' rice, substitute it with Arborio rice or any type of round rice with good absorption. You won’t get a good result with long-grain rice.

The type of pan is also important

The specific container used to cook paella is called a "paella pan" or simply "paella." The term "paellera" is also sometimes used to refer to the same type of pan. This container has a flat and wide bottom with slightly inclined edges, allowing for even heat distribution and facilitating liquid evaporation. Since you probably don't have a specific 'paella pan,' use the widest pan you have with a flat bottom and not too high sides.

What type of Seafood?

There are almost as many paella recipes as there are cooks, and each one of them is a little different, but seafood paella usually includes squid or cuttlefish, shrimp or prawns, and shellfish such as clams and/or mussels. You can experiment with your favorite seafood or with what you have available.

Saffron, the little magic ingredient

Saffron gives paella its distinctive colors and its soft and gentle taste. If saffron is hard to find or expensive to obtain, you can opt to use a bit of turmeric or curcuma to give the color that paella is usually known for (or you may also choose to not use it all together).

Don't stir the rice!

Don't forget this, because it's another important key. There is an initial moment when the rice is added to the pan and must be stirred to fry lightly and mixed with the ingredients previously sautéed in olive oil. Then, it must be evenly spread in the pan, and, afterward, the broth is added.

Very important: once the broth is added, don't stir the rice!


Seafood Paella Recipe
Seafood Paella from La Fallera

Image Credit: La Fallera

And now, let's get to the details:


  • 2 cups short-grain rice (a type of rice with good absorption; avoid long-grain rice)
  • 4 cups fish broth
  • A pinch of saffron threads
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 large squid, cleaned and sliced into rings (tentacles not used in this dish)
  • 12 prawns or large shrimp shells on if possible for extra flavor
  • 12–16 mussels, cleaned.


1. Prepare the broth

In a saucepan, bring the fish broth to a gentle simmer. Add a pinch of saffron threads and let it infuse over low heat.

2. Sauté the base with tomato and aromatics
Saute the base with tomato and aromatics

Image Credit: La Fallera

Put a large and wide frying pan over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Add diced onions and sauté until translucent. Add minced garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.

Step 2 Tomato

Image Credit: La Fallera

Add diced tomatoes, paprika, and a pinch of salt. Continue cooking until the tomatoes break down and the mixture is aromatic.

3. Cook the squid

Add sliced squid to the pan and sauté for about a minute until the squid takes on some color.

4. Add rice
Step 4 Add Rice

Image Credit: La Fallera

Next, introduce and stir the rice into the pan and cook for 1 minute. Then spread the rice evenly across the pan.

5. Pour broth

Pour in the simmering fish broth into the pan all at once. Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer without stirring for 10 minutes.

6. Add shrimps or prawns and mussels
Step 6 Add Prawns or Shrimps

Image Credit: La Fallera

Carefully arrange the prawns or shrimp in a circular pattern on top of the rice. Cook for an additional 10 minutes, turning the shrimp as they turn pink. Meanwhile, steam the mussels separately until their shells open, and put them on the rice in a decorative way. If the rice starts to dry out before the shrimp is cooked, you can add more hot broth, about half a cup at a time.

7. Finish cooking

When the paella broth has completely evaporated, you will hear a slight crackling sound at the bottom of the pan. This means the rice is ready. If not, briefly increase the heat to medium. When the rice has cooked for 18–20 minutes total, it should be done.

8. Rest and serve

Remove the paella from the heat, cover it with a kitchen towel, and let it rest for 3 minutes. Uncover and serve directly from the pan. You have to eat it at that moment; don't leave it for later. And don't reheat it either.

There is only one last step: Enjoy your delicious seafood paella!

In the travel guide ‘Andalusia for Muslim Travelers’, published by Turespaña, the Spain Tourism Board, you will discover restaurants where you can savor paella during your journey in Andalusia.

Leave a comment