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Friday, August 14, 2009

Daring Cooks' Spanish Rice with Prawns, Mushrooms, and Artichokes

Wow, a Spanish rice from Jose Andres, one of the most important Spanish Chefs at the moment! Great, for someone like me who has never visited Spain or patronage any Spanish restaurant, joining the challenge is an ultimate attempt to recreate the dish as close as possible to it original taste, texture, and color.

Thanks to Olga of Las Cosas de Olga and Olga’s Recipes for hosting August 2009 Daring Cooking Challenge – Rice with Mushrooms, Cuttlefish and Artichokes by Jose Andres.

On my first attempt I stumbled upon reality that it was truly exquisite recipe with quite expensive ingredients, but still would like to stick closely to Jose Andres’ recipe. Or else how on earth would I know how this famous Chef’s cuisine is supposed to taste or look like? Some suggested using replacement ingredients if cost is a concern. Well, I’ll check with my piggy bank and see what I can do about it…

Artchokes are hard to find in Bangkok. The closest I could get was the canned artichokes that was soft, yellowish, and sour. Never tasted artichokes so I was unsure how it would contribute to the final taste. But as I was cooking it away, these pricey chunks dissolved to no where to be seen. And the rice turned out sour. Gosh, no choice … Should just exclude artichokes altogether from my recipe? Broccoli maybe??

And my Spanish rice was wet and sticky – lumping as I finished photographing. So as I looked into the forum and witnessed that different DBers came out with different consistency and yet the best photographed ones were the slightly dry with almost separated rice grains, I decided that I should reduce the portion of the liquid ingredients: wine and water/fish stock and the result should be improved then.

As for squids, they need to be accompanied by clams or prawns. I cut squids into little strips which at the end were no where to be seen on my serving plate either. So guessed should add more variety of seafood to make the dish more appealing and prominent!

So when the second opportunity knocked, I had prepared prawns instead of squids. And despite the fact I was thinking of excluding artichokes, there were still 4 left in my fridge and I didn’t want to waste them. Would still include them but treat them slightly differently just to make sure they will look good at the end of the cooking journey.

Well, second attempt turned out pretty good. But next time it could be better! Have adapted Jose’s recipe to suit my convenience and local ingredients. Still the original recipe could be found in here.

Meanwhile I am looking at this tomato shot and want to pause and take a deep breath enjoying how wonderful this God's creation is. And thank God at this particular moment in time for the life I am living, the baking and cooking that I am enjoying, the freedom and strength to create, and this beautiful meeting with T.

Cook for 3 persons

1. Traditional Allioli – the garlic mayonnaise/dish accompaniment

- Garlic – remove skin, chop > 4 cloves
- Salt > 1/8 teaspoon
- Lemon juice > ¼ teaspoon
- Extra virgin olive oil > 20 ml

- Place minced garlic and salt in a mortal.
- Using a pestle, smash garlic cloves to smooth paste. Add lemon juice.
- Drop by drop, pour in olive oil slowly and continue smashing the paste in a slow anti clockwise circular motion. The drip needs to be slow and steady. Make sure the paste soaks up the olive oil as the smashing is going on.
- Keep repeating until the paste is smooth and dense the consistency reaches a thick mayonnaise. The smashing takes about 20 minutes.
- Refrigerate. (Allioli must be consumed on the preparation day and preserved in the fridge before using it).

2. Sofregit

- Olive oil > 1 tablespoon
- Red tomatoes – chop > 3 big/5 medium/250 grams
- Onions – chop > 1 small/100 gram
- Green pepper > ½ / 50 grams
- Garlic – remove skin, chop > 3 cloves
- Button mushrooms – chop > 50 grams
- Bay leaves > 2
- Salt > 1/8 teaspoon
- Touch of ground cumin.
- Touch of dried oregano.

- Place all ingredients together in a frying pan and sauté slowly until all vegetables are soft. Set aside to cool.

3. Spanish Rice

- Button mushrooms – halve > 12
- Olive oil > 2 tablespoons
- Bay leaves > 4
- Sofregit > 6 tablespoons
- Water/fish stock > 2.5 cups
- Chicken essence cube - optional with water if there is no fish stock > 1 cube
- Japanese rice > 300 grams
- White wine > 1 glass/320 ml
- Canned artichokes – halve > 3
- Prawns > remove head, peel, devein > 300 grams
- Saffron threads > 3 teaspoons
- Saffron powder > 2 teaspoons
- Salt > ½ teaspoon
- Spring onion – chop > 2 stocks

- Sauté mushrooms with olive oil on preheated frying pan. Add sofregit and bay leaves. Fry for a while.
- Pour in water + chicken essence or fish stock. Let it boil.
- Add in rice and cook for 5 minutes in high heat. Stir occasionally.
- Turn to low heat and add in wine, artichokes, prawns, saffron threads, saffron powder, and salt. Continue cooking for 8 minutes until grains are cooked. Stir occasionally.
- Put pan away from heat and let rice stand a couple of minutes.
- Sprinkle with spring onion and serve together with Allioli.


  1. Your photos are sublime! And your blog is beautiful :)

  2. It's really hard to take photo of rice, and you did a fabulous job!

  3. As always beautiful photos! Your dish looks very delicious. Cheers :)

  4. Thanks Karen, Anh, and Anula! Really appreciate it!


  5. Hi Kris
    The Paella you made looks amazing. Rice looks really moist.

  6. I love that you tried this recipe twice to see what could be improved, then got a much better result the second time around. It turned out beautiful - love the plating, PRAWNS (yum) and photos!

  7. Splendid photos! I also like your prawn-based variation. If it's any comfort, fresh artichokes were kind of a pain to work with: I love them steamed, but I'm not sure cutting through them raw was worth the trouble. Using canned ones and incorporating them at the end of the process, as you did may have been the better solution.

  8. This dish looks extremely delicious! I like that you added prawns and tried the artichokes again in it too. I really appreciate your explainations of what worked and what you tried differently, but kept to the recipe given. And I love what you said about appreciating God's creations--beautiful tomatoes! :)

  9. Gorgeous photos! Kudos to you for giving it a second go!

  10. P.S. Hi again! I have a little something for you over at my blog:

    Have a great day!

  11. Your Spanish rice look so yummie, very falvorful. Nice pictures as well!

  12. Wonderfully executed and photographed. I think the Japanese rice has much more starch than the Spainish version. On one of the other posts I saw that hearts of palm made a great sub for the artichokes.

  13. Love your photos and food styling. Great job on this challenge!

  14. Gorgeous. Your dish looks amazing, and your photos - Well, they're breathtaking. Beautiful job with this challenge!

  15. Love how you are always trying to perfect the recipe to suit your local ingredients and costs - this is sign of a great chef (which you clearly are). I love both dishes and the second dish is so well plated your pixs are so professional. Hope you love all the challenge like I do. Cheers from Audax in Australia.

  16. Amazing photos! Your dish looks very delicious and I love the presentation!

  17. Thanks guys for your compliments! They mean a lot to me! Can't wait for another challenge, don't we? :-)