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9 Sydney Paella Cooking Techniques Revealed: From Pan to Plate with Paella Amor

Updated: Jan 8

Ever wondered what goes into that perfect crust you call paella? You know, the one that whispers secrets of smoke and fire, cradling the plum, saffron-straked rice within? The paella cooking techniques that transform a pan of ingredients into flavours you couldn’t have achieved any other way? 

9 Sydney Paella Cooking Techniques Revealed: From Pan to Plate with Paella Amor

If you’re hosting a Sydney little get-together and paella’s on the menu, you’ve got questions. How does a simple dish become so complex, yet so “oh-my-this-is-friggin-delicious”? What’s the secret that separates a good paella from a great one?

Fellow Sydneysiders, today we’ll crack open the secrets of Paella Amor, Sydney’s best paella catering company. We’ll cover the culinary alchemy, the dancing flames, and the timeless cooking techniques that’ll make of humble, although fresh, ingredients a feast fit for royalty.

Paella Cooking Techniques: from pan to plate

Paella is a dance, not a drill. It’s a conversation between fire and rice – infused with saffron, paprika, and secrets passed on from one generation to the next. One trip at a time. Here’s a peek into some of its cooking techniques:

Cooking technique #1: Choosing the right paella (i.e., pan)

Valencian paella is traditionally cooked in a wide, flat pan called a “paellera.” This, alone, answers a question that many Sydneysiders ask: how do you cook a paella evenly?” It’s the pan, folks. It allows for even heat distribution and helps the rice cook uniformly.

The wide surface area of the “paellera” serves another goal. It allows the liquid to evaporate evenly. What you get here is a paella cooking technique that creates perfect texture. Pure and simple.

Cooking technique #2: Using proper rice 

One of the best paella cooking techniques that recommended Sydney paella caterers use is the rice type. Proper rice is critical. So, what type should you use? We recommend short-grain rice like Bomba or Calasparra. It absorbs so much liquid you could literally swim in. And best of all, the rice won’t get mushy!

Cooking technique #3: Sautéing the sofrito

What is sofrito, you ask? In short, it’s a mix of garlic, onions, and tomatoes. Mastering this paella cooking technique is what’s going to define the flavour base for your paella.

During the stage of this paella process, it’s important to saute these fresh ingredients until they’re caramelised and fragrant.

Sofrito is about building a rich foundation with garlic, onion, and peppers while slow dancing in olive oil. Basically we chargrill the capsicum to add Smokey flavour and complexity. We, then, blend or chop with bucket loads of herbs, vinegar, onion, paprika, garlic, sugar and oil. A lot of places like to cook this out in a pot – we leave it raw and cook it in the pan which in our opinion gives a much greater flavour as none of the flavours are left in the pot!

Cooking technique #4: Layering ingredients

The best paella catering companies in Sydney often layer their authentic Spanish palleas with various ingredients like seafood, chicken, rabbit, and vegetables. Timing is incredibly important here, guys. An expert paella chef adds the ingredients at the right time in order to ensure even cooking. So, for example, meat is usually browned first, while seafood is added later as it cooks quickly.

Cooking technique #5: Simmering with handmade stock

The rice is cooked in a flavourful handmade stock. The keyword is handmade. Often, this handmade stock is infused with saffron, which gives the dish its signature golden colour and rich flavour. Paella chefs typically add the handmade stock hot, not stirred – at least not too much - after adding the rice to achieve the ‘socarrat” – that crispy bottom layer we call the crown jewel.

Cooking technique #6: Unveiling the socarrat secret

What coax this crispy, smoky crown from the pan's bottom is high heat and patience. Also, not stirring it guarantees that the startches settle to the bottom of the pan and then caramelise in the oils released by the chicken and chorizo – it’s the best bit – generally reserved for grandma and grandpa but in Spain, everyone gets a spoon to scrape the bottom of the pan. You can easily get it wrong – cook it too hot or for too long, you have a burnt mess… cook it too short – your rice doesn't gain any texture or caramelisation, cook it just right – my friend, you have a masterpiece.

Cooking technique #7: Cooking without stirring

Unlike risotto, authentic paella isn’t stirred during the cooking process. You’ve got to give the rice room to form that caramelised crust on the bottom (the socarrat).

Cooking technique #8: Resting before serving

A significant part of the paella process after cooking is to let it rest for a few minutes. You want to allow the flavours to meld and the rice to settle. We don’t cover the pan – if you have to cover the paella you have too much rice in it. At Paella Amor, we rest the paella for about 10 minutes to let all the ingredients relax and settle.

Cooking Technique #9: Garnishing and Serving

The paella process often involves garnishing with lemon wedges and herbs like parsley. It’s traditionally served straight from the paellera.

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Each of these paella cooking techniques contributes to the complex flavours and textures that make paella catering in Sydney such a popular culinary service. That said, the question, then, becomes, who to hire? There’s like a billion paella catering company out there. The competition is fierce. But we can’t tell you what to do. All we can do is show you the way and give you a reason or two as to why Sydneysiders hire us.

Paella Amor: your best paella catering company in Sydney

Why choose Paella Amor? Well, let's just say we don't just cook paella; we make love to it.

  • Hatted Chef Tim Darton at the helm: Tim’s passion and expertise infuse every grain of rice with artistry and flavour.

  • Fresh, local ingredients, sourced with love: We treat every ingredient with respect. If it’s not fresh, it goes nowhere near our kitchens. We value our clients that much.

  • More than just a meal, an experience: We’re all about live paella cooking experiences because, frankly, we love the wide, bright eyes of our clients when they see us perform. Our paella process goes beyond just smell: it’s sight… it’s taste… it’s human connection.

We're not just catering for Sydney; we're creating memories that linger long after the last bite. Please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’d love to hear from you. Call us at 0434917069 or email us at

Frequently Asked Questions

Curious minds want to know! Here are some answers to your burning paella questions:

What is paella usually made of? 

Typically, rice, saffron, olive oil, and protein (chicken, seafood, or vegetarian).

How is paella traditionally cooked?

What is the secret ingredient in authentic paella? 

What gives paella its flavour? 

Why is it called paella? 

What are some paella cooking techniques? 

Should you stir the paella?

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