All about socarrat: the tastiest part of your paella

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Ever since Samin Nosrat appeared on the culinary scene, everyone knows what tahdig is: the crispy crust of Persian rice at the bottom of the pan. Such a crust is serious business: in Iran, the quality of your tahdig determines how well you can cook as a cook (do you still dare?). But what you may not have known is that the Spaniards also have such a sacred crust: soccarat!

The bottom of the pan, where the rice forms a crunchy golden layer of ultimate crunchy decadence: that’s what we look forward to the most. For such a crust you need (bomba) rice and fat, and those two ingredients are just part of a good paella .

What is it and how does socarrat arise?

In Spain, they call the caramelized layer of rice at the bottom of the pan socarrat. So if you thought a good paella was all about fluffy rice, that hint of saffron , a little sofrito and meat and seafood,  think again:  the star attraction is the socarrat.

You need quite a bit of guts for socarrat, because you have to let the paella cook very slowly, without stirring the rice. This ensures that the rice absorbs the cooking liquid little by little and the grains keep their shape. Only then will a crust form on the bottom. The socarrat can be made in two ways.

Make your own socarrat

Socarrat method one

When the rice is almost cooked, remove the pan with the paella from the heat and let the rice absorb the remaining cooking liquid. If you’re using a heavy-bottomed pan, there will still be enough residual heat to caramelize the bottom of the rice to a nice crust, while the rice continues to cook on top. This will prevent the bottom from burning.

Socarrat method two

This method is a little riskier as the socar rat is more likely to burn, so keep an eye out! For the tasty crust, turn up the heat at the very end of the cooking process and listen. The rice will crackle. Let it cook for 30 seconds to a minute, then remove the paella from the heat.

After all the tumult of cooking, just like us humans, a paella benefits from a moment of rest before reserving it. A minute or 10 should be enough. This ensures that rice stiffens a bit and the rice absorbs all the flavors.

Source: Culy by
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