Spicy Paella with Chile, Lime, and Cilantro

3 January 2009

From MyRecipes.com. Check out the original recipe – I modified it so much that the original may give you other ideas that better suit your family’s needs.

Spicy Paella with Chile, Lime, and Cilantro


8 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups paella and 3 shrimp)


Herb Blend:

  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced


  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1-1.5 kg chicken
  • 2 tablespoons red chilli pepper powder
  • 3-4 green chillies, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled & minced
  • 2 1/2 cups finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 cups finely chopped onion
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 32 oz / 1 liter chicken broth, kept warm
  • 1 cup canned diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 teaspoon hot paprika
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups uncooked short-grain rice
  • lime wedges


Herb blend

  1. Combine cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, and 2 garlic cloves; set aside.


  1. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in large paella pan or skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add chicken, garlic, seasonings, saute until done.
  3. Add shrimp; sauté 2 minutes.
  4. Add bell pepper and onion, and sauté 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add zucchini; sauté 5 minutes.
  6. Add tomatoes, paprika, salt, and 3 garlic cloves; cook 5 minutes, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.
  7. Add rice; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in broth, herb blend, sausages, and corn; cook 20 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking.
  8. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand 10 minutes.

I know – from personal experience, of course 🙂 – that long ingredient lists can lead to a person thinking that a recipe is much more complicated than it really is. That’s a deception. Yeah, pointing out the obvious to everyone else, but, you know, sometimes we need these things pointed out. The point?

Don’t let the long ingredient list intimidate you. This really is quite a simple recipe. Really. And with the flavours, it’s one well worth making and experimenting with.

The original recipe included shrimp, andouille sausage, corn, zucchini, none of which we had. I substituted chicken parts for the shrimp and sausage, and added mushrooms and eggplant for vegetables. I also hopped up the garlic, tripling or quadrupling it, along with the red chilli powder (instead of paprika), and added black pepper and red chilli pepper flakes. Also, I didn’t think 1/4 teaspoon of salt for that entire dish was anywhere even remotely reasonable, so upped it to a tablespoon, which was just right for our taste. I also increased the amount of rice to better-suit Fahim’s typical Sri Lankan rice consumption.

Also, my chicken broth consisted of hot water and chicken bouillon cubes, but at that, the dish didn’t suffer the lack of a real broth.

Sadly, our pot’s bottom is thin enough that it burns pretty fast. Have to keep it on a very very low simmer and it still scorches. I need to see if I can get a thicker-bottom pot, especially since I’m enjoying the paella experimentations so much. And, honestly, so is Fahim. 🙂

The lime and cilantro with the other seasonings makes this dish beautiful. I was impressed with the flavour, and Fahim also said he enjoyed it very much. Since he never uses words like “excellent”, this is as high of praise from him as I’ll get. 😀

More than that, he’s encouraging me to make it again. Yep, this one’s a solid winner in this household. 😀

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About LMAshton

Howdy and welcome to my site! I'm Laurie and I'll be your, er, hostess today. :)

I'm a Canadian expat currently living in Singapore. I'm married to a Sri Lankan and lived in Sri Lanka for nearly a decade. We also lived in New Zealand for half a year.

I cook Sri Lankan curries, sambols, and mallungs. I bake bread using wild yeast (sourdough that isn't sour). I bake on the stove. I experiment with Indian / Malaysian / Indonesian / Thai / whatever cuisines interest me. And I experiment wildly.

Life is an adventure. Join me! :)

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