Saying Hola from Spain!

Vegetarian Paella in Spain!

Currently in the land of senors and senoritas for work, but in a country like Spain its tough to stick to just work, a little play always follows! What is really great is that while work for me is all about food, even leisure and unwinding leads me to food! This is why I love Spain, there is never a dearth of the flavours, recipes and ingredients in this land. Everytime I visit, I take back home a new food experience! Amidst this plethora of food, there is one dish which shines bright like the pole star. This dish is the mighty Paella! Paella is to Spain what Biryani is to India, only more important. Different versions of this wholesome flavourful rice dish are created and recreated across the country. I have been fortunate to taste authentic Paella as well as some contemporary versions of this dish on this trip. Because I am on a work trip, writing at leisure is not one of the luxuries I have. So, I am quickly going to share with you 2 recipes for Paella.

One is a classic seafood Paella, which is how they make it in Spain. Another one is not really a Paella but a vegetarian spaghetti, that is cooked the Paella way and does live up to the taste of one. Now let me tell you a couple of things about Paella so when you try these recipes they turn out perfect.

  • Paella is a rice based dish. It is cooked a lot like a risotto. It uses short grain variety of rice. Paella is authentically made with Valencian Rice, which comes from a place called Valenciaon the East Coast of Spain. The idea is for the rice to absorb all the flavours of the stock and other ingredients in your Paella pan. Arborio rice is the closest easily available option to make delicious Paella.

  • Traditionally, the meats used in Paella would include snails, chicken, duck and/or rabbit meat. But don’t worry you can make an equally delicious Paella using other more easily available ingredients – it is a freestyle dish! Use sausages, chorizo, chicken, fish, clams, prawns, squid or just vegetables if that’s what suits your liking.

  • While making Paella keep in mind you cover and cook it on low heat. This ensures a crispy crust at the bottom of pan which is called socarrat. Perfect Paella should have a perfect crunchy base. These are the bits that everyone scrambles for in Paella.

  • A Paella pan is called a paellera. If you don’t own one, any 3-4 cm deep, medium-weight non-stick frying pan should do just perfect.

  • Two little ingredients that contribute a lot to the flavours of a Paella are – olive oil and saffron. So, make sure you skip out or compromise on these. Also, make sure the heat is evenly distributed – induction cooktops work great.

                                       CLASSIC SEAFOOD PAELLA

Classic Seafood Paella


200 gms prawns, shelled with tails and head intact and deveined

100 gms clams

3-4 small fish

1½ cups rice, half cooked

3-4 tbsps olive oil

12 garlic cloves, crushed

2 medium onions, roughly chopped

1 red bell pepper, cut into long strips

1 yellow pepper, cut into long strips

Crushed black peppercorns to taste

Salt to taste

Sugar to taste

4 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped

1 cup fish stock

A few strands of saffron, dissolved in 2 tbsps milk

1 tbsp red chilli flakes

3-4 tbsps extra virgin olive oil

10-12 fresh basil leaves

1 cup frozen green peas, soaked


  1. Heat olive oil in a pan. Add garlic and sauté. Add onions and sauté till translucent. Add red and yellow bell pepper and sauté.

  2. Add crushed black peppercorns and mix.

  3. Add prawns, clams, small fish and sauté. Cover and cook for 1-2 minutes.

  4. Add salt, sugar and tomatoes and mix well. Add rice and mix well. Add fish stock, saffron dissolved in milk and chilli flakes and mix well.

  5. Add 2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil. Chop basil leaves and add to the Paella pan.

  6. Add green peas and mix well. Cover and cook for 1-2 minutes.

  7. Sprinkle some extra virgin olive oil.

  8. Transfer in a serving plate. Sprinkle some more extra virgin olive oil and serve hot.


                                 SPAGHETTI VEGETABLE PAELLA

Spaghetti Vegetable Paella


200 gms brown spaghetti

1 large potato

¼ large red capsicum

¼ large yellow capsicum

¼ large green capsicum

¼ cup green peas

3 tbsps extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion

1 tbsp chopped garlic

Salt to taste

2 cups vegetable stock

2 medium tomatoes

¼ tsp turmeric powder

½ tsp red chilli powder

Few strands of saffron

1 lemon

Juice of ½ lemon


  1. Heat extra virgin olive oil in a non-stick pan. Halve onion, slice horizontally thickly and add to the pan and sauté. Quarter and slice potato and add.

  2. Chop red, yellow and green capsicums.

  3. Add garlic to the pan and mix. Add capsicums, mix and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add green peas and salt and mix.

  4. Break spaghetti into smaller pieces and add to the pan and mix well. Add vegetable stock and mix well.

  5. Slice tomatoes. Add turmeric powder, red chilli powder and a few strands of saffron and mix well.

  6. Add tomatoes but do not mix. Cover and cook.

  7. Cut lemon into thin wedges and remove the seeds and centre pith.

  8. Add juice of ½ lemon and mix, cover and cook till the vegetables and spaghetti are done.

  9. Transfer into a serving dish, garnish with lemon wedges and serve hot.

Hope you guys try these recipes, leave a comment below as its always great to hear from you guys.

Given to a foodie that I am, it makes most sense to end with a Spanish phrase barrigallena, corazon content” which literally means “full stomach happy heart.” 


Adios Amigos! Till I write again.

Happy Cooking!

My time in Spain

Wow, here in Barcelona, enjoying the best of weather and views! Just a quick hello as the day is packed…began early with a visit to the @22 District and then a reception at the Town Hall. Lunch is at the National Art Musuem of Catalonia and straight after a visit to Casa Asia Barcelona which is also the venue for my dialogue on Culture and Food with Chef Carme Ruscalleda. She is the world’s only five-Michelin-starred female chef well known for mixing her native Catalan cuisine with other styles, with an emphasis on Asian food. Around 6, will attend Round Table on Perspectives of Indian Economy for 2020. Dinner is on the terrace with Amadeu Jensana, Director of Economic Programmes and Cooperation Department of Casa Asia and Brenat Masferrer, Director of the Observatory of India and South Asia Casa Asia.

Yesterday spent a fantastic day in Valladolid. First a reception at the Town Hall by the Mayor and then visited the Valladolid University. Around noon, was in Casa de la India for a Round Table on ‘India in the 21st century – challenges and opportunities for Spain in a global world”. Wine tasting and lunch was at the National Museum of Sculpture and then caught an early evening flight to  Barcelona. Tuesday had an interesting itinerary in Madrid! Began leisurely with a visit to the BBVA Bank Innovation Centre, followed by a 2 hour Case presentation on Spain at the Instituto de Empresa Business School. Interacted over coffee with Indian students. Lunch was a lot of fun at the Realcade Bernabue which is located in the Real Madrid football team’s stadium. Had Grilled Hake with vegetables! Then we were given a guided tour of the Cervantes Institute and had a working meeting with the directive team. Early evening attended a reception at the Embassy of India, Madrid. Then yesterday reached Valladolid by the AVE (high speed train).

Tomorrow will be devoted to visits to Alliance 4 Universities with lunch organized at the Autonoma of Barcelona University with professors of different faculties. Loads of time to go for sight seeing around the City Centre of Barcelona. The IFLP will wind up with a closing dinner at Restaurant L’Orangerie at Hotel La Florida. This restaurant is known for its exceptional terrace with stunning landscape of Barcelona in view!

Back to Valladolid on Saturday for a Master class at the International Cooking School organized by Guillermo Rodríguez Martín, Director, Casa de la India. This school is the best and newest in Spain. Back home on 4th!

As is my norm, I will pen off with some lovely recipes for you.

Mozzarella Pops

Grilled Fish Salad

Basil Flavoured Rice Pudding with Grilled Tangarine


Till I write again

Sanjeev Kapoor

Greetings from Spain

Right now in Spain for the Indian Future Leaders’ Programme, and totally loving it! It’s a beautiful place and the weather is simply lovely. Reached yesterday and already finished an informal meeting with the ILFP’s Foundation team and all the guests were taken on a guided tour around Madrid’s City Centre. Today, in a few hour’s time, we will be having a working breakfast and then a look around, with a visit to an art gallery. This will be followed by meeting with the Director General, for North America, Asia and Pacific from the Foreign Affairs Department at the Spanish Ministry.

Early evening today we have an audience with HRH Prince of Asturais in La Zarzuela Palace. Later on, a grande dinner of tapas with Spanish Flamenco performance at Casa Patas!

 What lies ahead for us tomorrow, at this very enriching IFLP, I will share with you at this time tomorrow! We have a packed schedule from May 28 to June 1. My dialogue with Chef Carme Ruscalleda has been rescheduled to Thursday May 31 as Friday will be devoted to lots of visits to various universities. So look out as I build up on my Spain trip in these spaces!

On Friday May 25, it was Innovation Station – Season 4 at the office, with the theme ‘Indian Regional Cuisines’ and I happened to catch just a tiny glimpse of it as I had to catch a flight to Spain that night.

There were four teams with two chefs each and all of them put their best foot forward to cook as innovatively as they could. Chef Rajeev Arora of Hilton Hotels did his best to give a judgement based on degree of innovation, presentation and taste. And the results are:

 Winners – Chef Jaaie and Chef Nisha with their dishes Bread Medu Wada Sticks with Ridge Gourd and Red Capsicum Chutney (Starter), Crab Rasam with Steamed Rice and Fried Appalam (Maincourse) and Brown Rice and Mango Payasam in Chocolate Cups with Jamun Jam (Dessert).

 Runners up – Chef Anupa and Chef Sheetal with their dishes Kesar Amla Sherbet (Beverage), Zunka Bhakri Tartlets (Starter), Maashi Medley – Fish Rolls Kalvan, Bombil Mille Feuille, Kolambi Pilaf (Maincourse), Veeda Chocolate – Chocolate stuffed with Paan ka Veeda (Mukhwas) and Double Decker Modak with Jaaswand Sauce (Dessert).

 Congratulations to both the teams for their efforts, I just wish that I was also there to experience all the innovative khana!

 The same day had a cover photoshoot in the office premises with ace photographer Bharat Bhirangi and designer Sameer Madye for the upcoming book ‘Tiffins.’ Did manage to give some great shots and the book will be a bestseller I am sure!

 Let’s try some Spanish greats today!

 Paella Marinera


 Pizza Frittata

 Till I write again

 Sanjeev Kapoor