The Newbie Cook
- 16,892 forkfuls since 16.Oct.10
Making everything for the first time
The members of this little household were craving for seafood. After a few days of eating Italian, we both wanted something Asian. Something Pinoy.
I’m a little nervous about cooking any Asian dish, especially Filipino. For one, both my parents are very good cooks and I grew up eating yummy homemade Pinoy food. I would be so disappointed with myself if I can’t make something up to their standards and I probably wouldn’t eat it. Cooking Italian is relatively easy — everything goes well with risotto or pasta. But most Filipino foods have to be made with specific ingredients and the process is not always simple.
Motivated to continue my project, we flipped through Miki Garcia’s cookbook, argued which one looked yummiest, until we finally settled for paella. I tried making Kapampangan paella before (bringhe) but it was not so successful (understatement of the year *rollseyes*). I was determined to stick to the recipe this time so I wouldn’t mess up the dish especially since seafood isn’t exactly cheap.
The local fresh seafood shop, John’s Seafood, closes on Tuesdays. Isn’t it weird? Family businesses closing on Sundays are pretty common but Tuesday is unusual for me. Luckily, yesterday was a Friday so we were able to procure the three most important ingredients for paella: mussels, shrimp and squid. Unfortunately, they did not have the small, pinkish squid that Filipinos often use so I had to settle for the bigger, peeled, white ones.
Since paella is a dish that is usually served on special occasions, I always had the impression that it must be difficult to make. Imagine my surprise when I found out that it is relatively easy to cook paella. I can’t wait to make it for my family when we see each other again this April.
I had it with a glass of White Merlot wine and Chris stuck to his precious Yuengling. Miki’s recipe is shown below after the jump. I halved the recipe but followed all of her instructions except for adding the olives. Enjoy!
Filipino-Style Seafood Paella
from The Filipino Cookbook by Miki Garcia p. 90
12 fresh mussels in their shells, cleaned
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 lb (250 g) fresh shrimp
1/4 lb (125 g) fresh or frozen squid, cleaned and cut into rings
5 cloves garlic, crushed with the side of a knife and minced
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cups uncooked long-grain white rice, washed and drained
One 2-inch (5 cm) piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tomato, diced
One 8 oz (227 g) can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup (150 g) olives, pitted and sliced (skipped this)
3 limes or calamansi, cut into segments, to garnish
Add a bit of water to a pot and steam or boil the mussels over medium to high heat for about 5 minutes or until the shells open. Discard any mussels that are not open. Set aside.
Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shrimp and squid and saute for 3 minutes or until cooked. Remove the shrimp and squid from the pan and set aside.
To the same skillet over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the garlic and saute until lightly browned. Add the onion and saute until translucent. Remove the garlic and onion from the pan and set aside.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the same large skillet over medium-high heat and saute the rice for about 5 minutes. Add the water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and add the ginger, tomato, tomato sauce, paprika, salt and fish sauce. Add the sauteed garlic and onion. Mix thoroughly. Cover with a lid or aluminum foil and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes or until the rice is cooked. Add the pepper and stir to combine.
Place the rice on a serving platter and top with the olives, shrimp, mussels and squid. Garnish with slices of lime. Serve hot.