How to make a PAELLA DE ARROZ A BANDA original from Valencia, Spain

  • Guests: 4 People
  • Cooking: 40 min
  • Total Time: 60 min

Paella de arroz a banda, also known as “L’Arros a Banda”, is an exquisite recipe originating from the Valencian Community and the Region of Murcia in Spain. This dish, characteristic of the coastal area of Alicante, is famous for its unique flavor and its peculiar way of preparation. It is often confused with traditional Valencian paella, but arroz a banda has its own identity and a special charm that distinguishes it.

The name “a banda” comes from the way the dish is served: the rice is eaten separately from the fish. This method of presentation has its roots in the customs of local fishermen, who used the less valuable fish, known as “moralla”, to prepare the broth that flavors the rice. Thus, the rice was served as the main course, while the fish, accompanied by the traditional “all i oli” or “ajo-aceite” sauce, was enjoyed as a second course.

Over time, this recipe has evolved, and today better quality fish, such as monkfish, can be used to give a more refined and delicious touch to the preparation. However, the essence of arroz a banda remains the same: a simple but flavorful dish that reflects the tradition and culinary richness of the region. In this guide, we will show you how to prepare this authentic arroz a banda paella, so you can enjoy a little piece of Valencia in your own kitchen.

How to make a PAELLA DE ARROZ A BANDA original from Valencia, Spain

Ingredients and proportions

As a guideline, the paella shown is for 6 full servings. Let’s quantify the ingredients for 4 diners, whose proportion we can multiply to make it bigger:

  • 1 monkfish
  • 2 onions
  • 2 potatoes
  • 500 g of peeled shrimps
  • 1 cuttlefish
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 400 g (14.11 ounces) rice
  • 8 tablespoons of oil
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • A pinch of saffron, or failing that, saffron coloring.
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 egg (to make “ajo-aceite” or “allioli”)
  • Salt

These corrections include specifying the amount of rice in grams, adjusting “1 small spoonful of paprika” to “1 teaspoon of paprika”, and some commas were added to improve the clarity of the text.

Preparation of Arroz a Banda

This dish represents the essence of Mediterranean rice. Preparation involves cooking the paella with a tasty fish broth and adding some additional ingredients, such as cuttlefish and peeled shrimp. Then, the same ingredients used to make the broth (in this case, monkfish, potato and onion) are used to create a second dish. This is served with “garlic-oil” or “all i oli”, essential sauces that enhance the flavor of the food.

FRESH FISH AND A DELICIOUS BROTH!

Wash the head of the monkfish, remove the skin and eyes.
In a large pot, bring water to a boil.
Add the potatoes, onions and monkfish head. Boil for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes of cooking, add the monkfish. Boil for 10 minutes and turn off the heat.
Strain the broth to use in the “arroz a banda” paella.

READY, PREPARED, GO!

Add a little oil to level the pan…the oil should be centered.
Also add a little salt and turn on the heat.

When the oil is hot, add the cuttlefish. We start frying.

NEXT IS FRYING!

When the cuttlefish is golden, add the peeled prawns to fry them. We do this because the cuttlefish needs more time to fry.

Then, add the grated or crushed fresh tomato and fry it for a few minutes.

FRY THE RICE

At this point, add the rice and let it fry, stirring for about two minutes.

After that, add the paprika while continuing to stir so that it mixes well with the rice.

ADD THE FISH BROTH, SEASON AND COOK

Add 800 ml of fish broth, we add twice as much broth as rice.
Season with salt, the amount will depend on personal taste, but it is important to keep in mind that the fish itself is already salty, so you should taste during the process.

Add saffron and stir to combine. Do not stir again so as not to break the grain of rice.
After 20 minutes of cooking, the paella should be dry and the rice cooked, let it rest and it will be ready to eat.

Serve on a plate along with “all i oli” or garlic oil.

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