• Spain's classic, Paella, is made using bomba rice. (China Squirrel)Source: China Squirrel

"I love this dish because it’s so wonderfully social and perfect for feeding large numbers easily. I‘ll admit this is my version of it, which includes more vegetables and tomato than most, so I guess it’s been a little Australianised, but why not?!" Poh Ling Yeow, Poh & Co. 2







Skill level

Average: 2.9 (546 votes)


  • ½ carrot, roughly chopped
  • ½ stalk celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 750 ml (3 cups) chicken or fish stock
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil
  • 1 chorizo sausage, halved lengthways, thinly sliced
  • 10 sprigs thyme, torn
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs sage, leaves picked
  • 2–3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 chicken thigh fillet, thinly sliced
  • 1 red capsicum, seeds removed and cut into 1.5 cm pieces
  • 100 g green beans, cut into 1.5 cm lengths
  • 100 g red cabbage, finely chopped
  • 210 ml tinned crushed tomatoes
  • 15 threads saffron (see Note)
  • 100 ml white wine
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika (Spanish if possible)
  • 40 g (⅓ cup) frozen peas
  • 350 g medium- or short-grain rice (see Note)
  • 120 g firm white fish fillets (such as swordfish steaks), cut into 2 cm cubes
  • 12 raw prawns, shelled, intestinal tract removed, tails intact
  • 100 g baby octopus or squid rings
  • 12 black mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • chopped flat-leaf parsley and lemon wedges, to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


You will need a 30 cm paella pan or heavy-based frying pan.

Soaking time 10 minutes

Place the carrot, celery, onion and garlic in a food processor and process until finely chopped.

Place the stock in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Keep warm.

Heat the olive oil and chorizo in 30 cm paella pan or heavy-based frying pan over low heat. Cook until the edges of the chorizo begin to turn golden and crisp. Increase the heat to medium and add the thyme, bay leaves and sage, then add the garlic. Stir in the carrot mixture and cook, stirring for 4–5 minutes or until softened and fragrant. Add the chicken and stir for 5 minutes or until the chicken is sealed. Add the capsicum, beans and cabbage and stir until combined. Add the crushed tomatoes, saffron and the soaking liquid, wine, stock and paprika and stir to mix well. Then add the peas and bring to a simmer. 

Pour the rice evenly into the pan, then stir to distribute it evenly across the surface; after this, do not stir again. Season with salt to taste, bearing in mind the seafood is salty. Bring back to a simmer over medium heat then cook for 5 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by half and the rice is almost cooked. Press the fish, prawns, octopus or squid and mussels gently into the rice. Continue to cook for 5 minutes or until the seafood is tender, then turn the heat to low and cook until the liquid is completely absorbed, the rice is tender and the bottom has formed a crust (socarrat).

Garnish with parsley and serve immediately with wedges of lemon or lime.



• Pound the threads using a mortar and pestle and then soak in 125 ml (½ cup) warm water for 10 minutes.

• Bomba is the proper Spanish rice to use, if you want to be a purist. Do note that the difference between a risotto and paella is that, in paella, the rice is not stirred in the final stages of cooking, allowing a delicious socarrat to develop – this is the beautiful crust of rice that caramelises at the base of the pan when a paella is cooked perfectly. To check, run a spatula across the bottom of the pan and, if the base of the paella seems stuck and crisp, it’s on the right track. A little bit of charring in spots is absolutely fine – make sure to scrape up those delicious crispy bits stuck to the bottom. The carrot, celery and onion base is called a sofrito.


Photography, styling and food preparation by china squirrel.

Poh & Co. 2 starts 8.30pm Thursday, May 19 on SBS.


View recipes and more from Poh & Co. on our program page.