Shell and devein you prawns. Do not discard shells and heads as this will be the basis of your stock. Put aside the prawns for cooking later.
Place in about a 1 litre of water while still on high heat and deglaze the bottom of the pot.
Bring the pot to a simmer and turn down the heat. Let it simmer for about 20 minutes.
Finely chop up your garlic, tomato and onion. This is the base vegetable mix.
Cut chicken into 2 cm cubes.
Start with a paella pan, or if not a flat based frying pan with less curved walls on medium heat with a glug of olive oil.
Sear off your chicken until brown. At this point you can add the sofrito mix (onions, tomato & garlic) and saute until brown.
Add saffron, smoked paprika, salt and pepper and incorporate this into the mix.
Add in your rice, and slightly toast it off before adding the prepared stock.
At this point, even out the rice so that is level and bring the stock back to a boil. Then reduce it back to a simmer.
Do not mix the rice! When the stock level and rice is even on the pan, your peas and prawns.
Let if fully cook and dry out until the bottom has achieved a caramelised layer (soccarat).
Garnish with some parsley and serve with lemon.
Paella Rice is normally a short grain rice originating from Spain. The most popular type of this is called Bomba Rice. However, in Singapore, this is quite hard to find. A very good substitution is Arborio, which is a short grain Italian rice instead. The main difference between the two rices is that Arborio has a higher concentration of starch compared to the Bomba.
Saffron is the original 'hero' ingredient in this dish. However, most daily cooks will find that saffron is far too expensive for an ingredient to 'play' around it. Turmeric is its substitute for colour only but not its aroma or flavour.
Sofrito is the basic flavour elements to begin with the dish. Normally done with onions and tomatoes and can be caramelised into a paste to increased sugars and complexity to the dish.
Stock - You can use any type of stock to flavour in the paella. However seafood-esque stocks such as prawn, clams, crab mussels are more common.
Paella pan is a specialised pan for creating paellas. These normally are made of steel, shallow, with two holding handles on the sides with slightly splayed sides. It normally has a slight dip in the middle to assist with sauteing the sofrito. Paella pans are not common in Singapore and mostly only found is speciality hospitality stores. A good substitute would be a frying pan with similar splayed sides.
Stirring - The most common mistake is that people tend to think that the rice needs to be stirred while cooking. This is the cardinal sin of making a paella. Stirring is mostly used to make risotto - which is a complete different style and cuisine. By mixing the rice, you often release the starches within the rice grain, making the paella 'sticky' when the actual consistency should be the complete opposite.
Soccarat is always acheived at the end of cooking cycle and often the hallmark of a good paella. This is the caramelized layer at the bottom of the pan - often similarly described to the sticky bottom of the claypot chicken rice.
Serving - Paella is often serve with the pan on the table for communal dining.