The Type Of Rice Traditional Paella Always Uses

Paella is one of the brightest, most flavorful, singularly delicious dishes around. A wonderful blend of the bountiful sea and the hearty earth, good paella starts with the proper ingredients — with rice being the star of the show.

Now, it should be plainly stated that cooking and cuisine are entirely subjective endeavors. People should be free to eat what they like (within reason, of course — things like ordering a well-done steak, eating black licorice, and picking out only the orange Starburst are exceptions), but according to Delishably, the traditional Spanish methods of making paella use Bomba rice. Bomba is a type of short-grained rice grown on the eastern coast of Spain. Other more delicate kinds of rice can be slowly cooked and simmer into a mushy paste, but Bomba rice is capable of retaining the shape and textures of individual grains during the cooking process, which is not-so-coincidentally perfect when making paella, per Fine Cooking.

No one grain fits all

Also known as "Calasparra rice" or "Valencia rice," so named because of how close the rice is to the cuisines of these respective Spanish regions, Bomba has become known as the premier rice grain for many Spanish dishes. Unfortunately, Bomba is not always the easiest to find and may require some searching through specialty stores and online browsing.

But, if you can't get your hands on some Bomba rice before you plan to make your paella, there are some alternatives that you can turn to. MasterClass says a quality paella can use other types of short-grained or medium-grained rice, which tend to absorb flavor and endure slow cooking without getting too soft. They recommend Italian Arborio rice as a more commonly-found alternative. You've got to start from the bottom up when making a perfect paella, so although other options exist, look out for that traditional Bomba rice when you can.