Food & Drink

How to Cook Paella Like a Champ

A fast recipe to show that you're the boss of the kitchen
IMAGE Annie Spratt via Unsplash

This one-pot dish is quick but festive. There are many steps and even more ingredients, but it's simple enough to follow yet fancy enough to impress. What's a little challege? New World Manila Bay's Executive Chef James Williams teaches us how to create fool-proof flavors in a single pot. 


  • 75 ml olive oil (Doña Elena was used for this recipe)
  • 200 g chicken thights, marinated in 1/4 tsp paprika, 1 tsp olive oil, salt and pepper
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 4 pcs garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 pc capsicum, cut into strips
  • 125 g tomatoes, crushed
  • 50 g tomato paste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 600 g bomba rice, washed
  • 15 pcs saffron threads, soak in 1/4 cup boiling water (or soda water)
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1.2 L boiling hot chicken and/or seafood broth mixed with 1 tsp paprika, salt and pepper
  • 150 g squid, sliced in rings
  • 10 pcs prawns
  • 3 pcs cooked whole crabs, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 15 pcs cooked clams
  • 15 pcs cooked mussels
  • 35 g green peas
  • 40 g olives
  • 10 pcs lemon wedges
  • 2 tsp Italian parsley, finely chopped


  • In a paella pan, heat 50 ml olive oil and sauté chicken until the skin turns brown. Set aside.
  • In the same pan, sauté onions, then add garlic and capsicum. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, then sauté for another 2 minutes.
  • Add in tomato paste and stir until all ingredients are coated. Add olive oil if needed. The tomato paste must be cooked until color darkens but not burned.
  • Sprinkle smoked paprika. Mix until it is evenly distributed. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add the rice and sauté until translucent, stirring constantly for a few minutes. Control your pan temperature. This will take a while.
  • Pour saffron liquid first then mix. Now add the broth. Don’t worry if the broth can't fit in the pot. You can add the rest later.
  • Don't stir. Instead, check periodically within 20 to 25 minutes until all the broth is absorbed. Once this happens, turn the heat to a lower setting.
  • Once the rice is almost cooked, add the squid and prawns. Cover with foil and wait until prawns and squid are cooked.
  • Add remaining ingredients evenly and decoratively across the skillet in the following order: clams, mussels and crab, olives, and green peas. Let it sit for 15 minutes.

To serve, remove foil, sprinkle with parsley and decorate with lemon wedges.

New World Manila Bay Hotel,1588 Pedro Gil corner M.H. Del Pilar, Manila, periodically hosts cooking classes. For schedules, visit their website

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