Pretend Paella

This fool-proof twist on a paella boasts all of the sweet and smoky flavours of this classic Spanish dish but is an unintimidating and fuss-free version for nervous or time-poor cooks.

Nadia & Kaye Disaster Chef
By &


KAYE: I wanted Nadia to devise me a recipe for something like a paella, but not a paella, because that would be far too much faff. There’s still a lot of chopping in this, but that’s what 10-year-olds are for. We wouldn’t want a new generation of Disaster Chefs, would we?

Serves 4


2-3 tbsp olive oil
2 onions (sliced finely if you can be bothered)
3 medium tomatoes, cut into 8
3-6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
300g (10oz) basmati rice (or paella rice, but basmati rice is quicker to cook)
pinch of saffron threads
1 heaped tsp smoked paprika (optional)
150ml (5fl oz) dry sherry or white wine
400ml (14fl oz) hot fish stock (from a cube is fine)
400g pack of frozen seafood mix
100g (3½oz) frozen peas
lemon wedges, to serve
handful of chopped parsley leaves, to serve


Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat.

Add the onions and garlic, and cook for 2–3 minutes, stirring, until softened. Nadia’s tip: Don’t let the onions get crispy

Add the tomatoes and stir.

Add the rice, saffron, and paprika (if using), and stir for 1 minute. Nadia: If you can use sherry and smoked paprika, your paella will taste like the real thing

Pour in the sherry or wine. Increase the heat to bring up to the bubble for 1 minute, stirring to burn off the alcohol, then reduce the heat to medium.

Add the stock and seafood mix, cover, and simmer very gently for 15 minutes over a low heat, or until the rice and fish are cooked. Add the peas 3 minutes before the end. Don’t stir.

When the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed, you’re ready to go, with a good squeeze from the lemon wedges, and a flourish of chopped parsley.

Tip: Feel free to add chunks of fried chorizo, if you eat meat.

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