Are you interested in making your own delectable paella dish from the comfort of your own home? Well, the first thing you are going to need is a paella pan! After all, if you want to recreate the authentic dish, then the first thing you need to do is get the right tools. Paella pans are specially made solely for cooking paella dishes. Though, you can cook other dishes on a paella pan such as steak, stir-fry, and even pizza; the best dish to make with one is a paella. The pans are specially designed to cook the dish all in one pan rather than the traditional cooking process of other dishes. For example, if you are making a turkey dish, you will not cook the turkey and your sides in the same dish. Paella is unique in that all the ingredients are meant to be cooked in a single pan.
What Makes a Paella Pan Different from Other Cookware?
To achieve equal cooking throughout a large surface area, paella pans are made different from your average pans. Even other high-quality pans like an expensive cast iron are not the best when it comes to cooking paella. Instead, you will want a large and thin metal pan. Cast iron is known for being heavy and thick, so getting even heating with a large dish and surface area is difficult. For example, cast iron cools down quickly and takes longer to distribute heat. To get some of the best parts of paella like a nice socarrat, you will want a large pan where the rice is as thinly distributed throughout as possible. If the rice is packed too high because the pan is too small, it may not cook fast enough. Since paella is an open pan recipe, it is important that the rice cooks through before the liquid evaporates.
Best Types of Paella Pans
Paella pans achieve this being both large and thin. This allows the cook to handle the large pan with less stress. After all, who wants to be handling and moving around a giant heavy pan they can barely lift? Paella pans are light because they are thin and made of steel instead of cast iron. Authentic polished steel paella pans, like our Machika paella pans, also have dimples on the surface. This allows for better heat distribution compared to a completely flat surface. The two best types of authentic paella pan you will come across are:
- Polished Steel
- Enameled Steel
Polished Steel Paella Pan
The most common types of pan you will come across is a polished steel paella pan. These authentic pans are the typical types you would see at a restaurant or in the countryside of Spain. They are relatively inexpensive but require special care. Stainless steel pans have a layer that protects them from oxidation. Polished steel does not. To stop the pan from rusting, you should take certain steps. With a polished steel pan, you will want to avoid dishwashers and long soaking times. This is because there is no rust resistant layer like with stainless steel. Stainless steel also has the issue of slowly leaching metals into the food.
To avoid rusting, you will just have to follow certain steps after use. First, you will want to clean your pan as soon as possible with soap, water, and non-scratch sponge. Afterwards, hand dry you pan using paper towels or a cloth. Before storing your pan, pour a tiny bit of cooking oil in the pan and using a paper towel, spread it over the surface, sides, and bottom of the paella pan. This layer of cooking oil will prevent oxygen and water from causing rust. It will also help stop foods from sticking to the pan next time you cook. If you keep these steps in mind, you can ensure your pan is in tip-top shape and doesn’t rust. A well-taken care of pan can last you years!
Enameled Steel Paella Pan
Another type of paella pan are enameled steel pans. These pans are exactly like polished steel, except for the surface receives an enamel treatment. But what exactly is enamel and what makes it good for paella pans in particular? Well, enamel coatings are porcelain-based mixtures that can coat the surface of much kitchenware, cookware, and even decorative items. It is not something new and has been around for over a hundred years. The first historical steps towards industrializing enamel coatings began in the 1800s in Germany. Back then, the issue was in effectiveness since the first attempt at coating often was not good enough. So, enameled products had to be coated multiple times and were still sometimes faulty. Couple multiple coating with the relative newness of commercial enamel products and you have a pricey result.
However, as technologies and methods of coating have improved, enameled products are more affordable and higher quality than ever. You can typically recognize enameled surfaces by their color and texture. Enamel coatings are natural non-stick so they will have a very smooth texture with slight bumps.
Shop for Paella Pans and More at Machika Today
Getting started in the kitchen does not need to be a huge hassle. The hardest part is simple getting into the habit of cooking and using your kitchen regularly. At Machika, we pride ourselves in promoting family values within the kitchen. At Machika.com, you can get all the resources you need to get started cooking in the kitchen today! You can find convenient and simple recipes as well as premium quality cookware like enameled paella pans at Machika.com.