The Philippines was under Spanish rule for 300 years which inevitably has left the country a rich culinary heritage. One of the most beloved recipes is that of Paella. There are many versions of this dish in the Philippines depending on the region where the locals have modified it according to the abundant ingredients.
My Paella recipe has been handed down to me by family and friends and I have made it my own by incorporating their suggestions, not only do I use saffron (which by the way, is very expensive that some cooks here have omitted it from their recipe) but I also use tomato sauce to enrich the color and taste.
Here is the recipe of my own version of Paella
4 tablespoons OLIVE OIL
2 cloves GARLIC, peeled and slivered
1 piece WHITE ONION, minced
1 piece BELLPEPPER, cut into strips
1/4 kilo SHRIMPS, deveined
1/4 kilo PORK BELLY, cut into strips
1/4 kilo CHICKEN THIGHS
1 big piece CHORIZO DE BILBAO, sliced diagonally
4 cups RICE, uncooked
8 cups CHICKEN STOCK, boiling
250 grams TOMATO SAUCE
pinch of SAFFRON
salt and pepper
Preheat Paella pan over high heat, at the same time boil the chicken stock. It is important that the stock is boiling over high heat to speed up the cooking process. Pour oil in the paella pan and brown the chicken thighs and pork belly, add garlic and onion, saute until vegetables are soft but not wilted. At this point, the chorizo may also be added in the pan. Add in the saffron threads, stir. Add in the rice and make sure it is coated with oil, pour in the tomato sauce stirring until it coats the rice and the meats. Season with salt and pepper. Carefully add the boiling stock. Lay the uncooked shrimps and the bellpeppers on top. Cover with aluminum foil and let it cook at high heat for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, let it set for 5 minutes. Garnish with lemon slices and hard-boiled eggs before eating.