Vegetarian Paella with Tofu and Hard-boiled Egg


The paella is cooked over the flames shortly after the fire is lit. The idea is to use the heat from the flames to fry the onions, peppers and tomatoes before adding the rice and the stock and then cooking over a more constant heat once the fire has died down a bit.

We lit the fire at 13:00 and the paella was ready at 14:00.

One of the secrets to making a good paella is to get a beautiful layer of the caramelised socarrat on the bottom of the pan. You can see how much liquid is left and by cooking the paella for a final 10 minutes on a gentle flame when there is not much liquid left, you should get the socarrat of your dreams.

Vegetarian Paella


  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 large red pepper, roughly chopped
  • 1 green pepper, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • saffron
  • 1 block firm tofu
  • 4 tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • frozen artichoke pieces or baby artichokes
  • 60g paella rice per person
  • a couple of handfuls of cooked butter beans
  • a couple of handfuls of flat green beans, topped and tailed and cut into 2cm pieces
  • 3 vegetable stock cubes
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, thinly sliced
  • water
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil


  1. The day before, pound together the crushed garlic, saffron and a pinch of salt in a pestle and mortar.
  2. Add the water and transfer to a small jar with a lid. Leave overnight, shaking hard every once in a while.
  3. An hour or so before you are ready to cook the paella, cut the tofu into cubes and marinate in a bowl with a good splash of soy sauce, some Tabasco and a drizzle of olive oil
  4. To cook the paella, heat some olive oil in a paella pan on an open fire.
  5. Add the onion, red and green pepper, season with salt and fry until soft.
  6. Add the chopped tomatoes and continue to fry.
  7. Sprinkle in the rice and stir well.
  8. Add a litre of water and the vegetable stock .
  9. Add the green beans and butter beans and stir well.
  10. Cover with a large lid and continue to cook over the fire for about 15 minutes, checking every 5 minutes to see that there is enough water.
  11. Arrange the tofu cubes on the top and pour over the marinade.
  12. Check the stock for seasoning, adding more salt if necessary.
  13. After about 30 minutes, check to see if the rice is cooked. Cook for longer if it needs more time, sprinkling water over the top if it looks as though all the water has evaporated.
  14. When the paella is almost done, arrange the sliced egg on the top. 
  15. Remove the lid and leave for another 5-10 minutes to caramelize the bottom of the pan for the socarrat.

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