Spanish paella featuring local Victorian seafood

Thanks to Josh Thomas from East Handy Store, East Bairnsdale, for this stunning Spanish seafood paella recipe featured at Hooked on Lakes Entrance, 2024.

This recipe comfortably feeds up to 20 people and requires a large 55cm wide traditional paella pan.


Sofrito – the flavour base for your paella

  • 4 Spanish onions
  • 6 red capsicums
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Handfuls of fresh oregano and rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon hot paprika (or chilli powder/spice)
  • 1 tablespoon toast cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • Red sherry vinegar
  • Olive oil

Fish stock

  • Fish frames – can be snapper/gurnard or any similar white fleshed fish
  • Prawn shells - however many you have from deshelling your prawns
  • 1 celery
  • 4 large carrots
  • Trimmings from onions and garlic used in Sofrito
  • Trimmings from capsicum used in Sofrito
  • 6L of water

Note: You can prep the Sofrito and fish stock in advance and keep in the fridge until you’re ready to cook the paella.


  • 100ml olive oil
  • 1kg bomba rice (for best results, use Calaspara bomba rice, not risotto rice or similar)
  • 6 diced quality chorizo sausages
  • 6 diced chicken thighs (thighs are better than breast, more tender)
  • 1kg diced pink ling or similar white fleshed fish
  • 20 whole shelled prawns (leave heads on if desired)
  • 1kg steamed Victorian-grown mussels

To serve:

  • Fresh parsley
  • Fresh coriander
  • Wedges of lemons and/or limes

Cooking and preparation:

  1. Sofritoflavour base.

    Add a good glob of olive oil to a large pan and sauté 6 diced Spanish onions, 6 red capsicums and 6 cloves of garlic with 3 bay leaves, a handful of fresh oregano and rosemary, 2 tablespoons sweet paprika, teaspoon smoked Paprika, teaspoon hot paprika, tablespoon toasted cumin seeds and a tablespoon coriander seeds. Sweat off moisture and add a healthy splash of good Spanish/red sherry vinegar.

  2. Fish stock

    Roast snapper frames or similar white fleshed fish and prawn shells in the oven for 30 mins at 180°C. Dice 1 celery, 4 large juicing carrots, add all onion and garlic ends and the trimmings from the capsicum. Fry in a stock pot, then add 6L water and roasted frames and shells. Reduce stock to 3.5L+/- and strain off.

  3. Paella - cook time roughly 45 mins. Have Sofrito and heated fish stock ready to go.

Ideally use a large 55cm paella pan. Get this nice and hot and add 100mL olive oil until it starts to smoke.

Add 1kg bomba rice. Fry for 2 mins then add Sofrito, combine by stirring until well mixed.

Drop the flames to low and add 1L hot fish stock. Stir to release from the paella pan then cover to start absorption for 10 mins. No further stirring required! This is so you get your classic Spanish paella socarrat – crunchy caramelisation on the bottom.

Uncover and add 6 diced quality chorizo sausages and 6 diced chicken thighs and push into the Bomba rice to ensure the flavours amalgamate. Add 1L stock and cover for a further 10 mins.

Uncover and add 1kg diced pink ling, 20 shelled King prawns and 1kg *steamed mussels with another 1L of stock and cover for a further 10 mins.

*To steam mussels - get a pot hot and add 1kg debearded and cleaned Mussels with a half glass of Fino sherry or vermouth. Put a lid on and agitate by shaking the pot around. After 5 mins they should have opened.

Uncover and turn flame back up to medium heat. Add a healthy sprinkle of toasted cumin and coriander seeds with flaky seasalt.

Add a good splash of quality olive oil over everything and finish with continental parsley, fresh coriander and wedges of lemons & limes. Enjoy!