The Best Paella in the World

We spent the last four days of our travels through Spain chilling out in Toledo, capital of the Castilla-La Mancha autonomous region and just an hour’s bus ride south of Madrid. An ancient town located along a bend on the Tagus river, picture-perfect Toledo (which incidentally means “happy”, “river” and “hill” respectively in three different languages) is filled with grand old buildings, museums and historical sites. But we had our sights set on other, more tastier things…

Toledo - it's gorgeous

While checking in at Cerro De Bu, a cosy hostel located just inside the old city walls, Sara popped the big question: “Where can we get a good seafood paella?” What we did not know then was that Reitxel, who was checking us in, had been craving for paella herself. “Hmm… maybe my boyfriend can make it for us”, she suggested. Her boyfriend Jose is a chef who spent the last 15 years working in restaurants around Europe. Two years ago, he  returned to Toledo and converted his childhood home into a hostel.

As it turned out, we were in luck because Jose was up for the paella challenge, and had some free time to spare the following day. So the next morning, after a breakfast of instant noodles, we set off to the supermarket with Jose.

Buying seafood - fish (hake), prawns and two types of squid

Later that day, we huddled in the kitchen to watch Jose work his magic. For the benefit of our readers, we’ve condensed this into a few simple steps.

-How to make seafood paella

Peel the prawns

Make the stock using fish head and bones, prawn skins, leek and some salt

Sautee onions and leek until golden brown. Then add rice and tomatoes

Add stock, fish, prawns and calamari. Sprinkle some saffron and spices then bring to a boil

Bake in oven for 30 minutes, then... Voila!

Put paella on plate

Take group photo to record the momentous outcome

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you make the best paella ever. Of course, that’s not really the full recipe – we’ve left out some important tips and tricks. For the full recipe, go to Hostel Cerro De Bu and ask for Jose. He doesn’t normally cook for guests, but if you’re really nice and he happens to have some free time, then he might oblige.

Oh, and Sara recorded the full recipe down carefully, so if anyone in Malaysia wants to try seafood paella, contact Sara when we get home. If you’re really nice, she might oblige too.

Sara took down notes

Paellas aside, it was a real pleasure meeting Jose and Reitxel. We wish them all the best and do hope they will come to visit us in Malaysia someday so we can show them how to cook nasi lemak… with some help from our mothers, of course  🙂

Great food and great company - the perfect way to end our time in Spain

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12 thoughts on “The Best Paella in the World

  1. Johan Ong says:

    nasi paella.. next best thing to nasi lemak huh?

  2. soon hoe says:

    Kit and I would kill for the recipe. Just tell us who. Because that’s one of our favourite European invention…..

    • We don’t really have anyone we’d like to kill right now… but we’ll send you the recipe when we get round to typing it out… or you could stop by on your next visit to Malaysia and we’ll try to cook it 🙂

  3. awesome guys! and now paellas make me hungry ..boohoo

  4. tobyo says:

    fantastic!! absolutely LOVE the pics of the city, wow!! I also did not know what Toledo meant. que interesante 😉

  5. ly says:

    ¡Dios mios! The paella looks muy delicioso! Español looks so awesome, I want to make sure I go there one day 🙂 Happy trails!

  6. ly says:

    ** España

    Typo 😛

  7. mama says:

    like our baked macaroni but using rice.must visit Toledo.I thought it is famous for its bull fighting

  8. AnemOthman says:

    Dear Sara, am nice kan? hehehee..once you are back…cook for me (or we cook together)? hehehhee ;p

  9. […] this trip. We’ve had tea with Habishah and her nomad family in Morocco, we’ve made paella with Jose and Reitxel in Toledo, and we’ve celebrated our friend Josil’s birthday party together with Davide and […]

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