Reunions at the Daza home in Mandaluyong were a whole-day affair; my Lola Angeles cooked dishes that have since become comfort food to me.
These dishes are relleno, Russian salad, roast chicken, cannelloni, inihaw na talong, inihaw na baboy and paella Valenciana.
I remember the paella to be a bit yellowish and the sticky kind. It was good then, but I’ve since had too many varieties that have made me realize there are different levels of the dish in terms of taste.
One of the best I’ve tried is the paella made by one of the pioneers of Spanish cooking in our shores, Don Anastacio de Alba. I love his authentic Spanish dishes.
To me, every time Spanish cuisine is mentioned here, it’s his name that still jumps out first.
Friends who have lived in Madrid make great versions. Bebe Marquez Cuyugan would cook for us in Vancouver and grill the paella over charcoal. I never missed out those get-togethers, especially for that authentic Spanish paella.
I am told that there is not just one recipe for paella. In Spain, paella is like adobo to us. Each home claims to make the best-tasting paella. My lola would always say, “The secret to a great-tasting paella lies in the broth.” I couldn’t agree more. The ones in Spain use the Bomba rice variety and saffron.
My sister Nina also makes a pretty good version. Every time we have a potluck gathering, this has become my favorite request.
Paella in Spain
In last year’s “Foodprints” TV show episode in Spain, we were treated to a place that specialized in paella, La Barraca. Wow! Never in my wildest dreams did I expect it to taste that good.
We were served two kinds, Valenciana and Black Paella. Both were unbelievably delicious. But when the waitress got some tutong (burned rice), my gosh, I made sureto make more space in my tummy.
In Valencia, we were shown how to make paella Valenciana from scratch. It was a totally different way of cooking the dish. Interesting!
I am always searching for a good paella. Many people make it, but after I tasted the ones at La Barraca, it has been quite difficult to find a pretty good one.
But recently, I came across one. At Casa Medillano, it was a mixed paella made of seafood, sausage, chicken and pork.
For me, it was a very well-made version of the Spanish specialty. The colored rice was loose (I prefer this to the sticky version), very flavorful. You could smell the mild aroma of saffron. My kids loved it.
Although it had the tutong, I felt it needed a bit more. I have fallen in love with this part of the paella. I kept the leftovers and ate them for days.
My taste for paella has gone a long way from family reunions. I am still searching for other delicious versions.
Casa Medillano, tel. 0916-5568842 or 0917-8801469.
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