Paella Negra

July 2, 2019

Although Paella Negra is an Italian/Spanish dish, it is very similar to our Adobong Pusit sans the vinegar. I first tasted this dish in the now defunct restaurant “Barcelona” in SM Mega Mall on EDSA. Although I am not a fan of Adobong Pusit (stewed squid in ink), I swooned over the Paella Negra and couldn’t get enough of it and had to make my own version. It took me some time to discover that the secret was nutmeg. You can make two other dishes with the basic recipe of the Paella Negra. Instead of rice, cook your favorite pasta and use the sauce plus the seafood. For another version of Adobong Pusit sans the vinegar, you can use the basic sauce and just place the pusit (squid).

Paella Negra (Rice Casserole in Squid Ink)

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By Marianne de Leon Serves: 6-8
Prep Time: 1 hour Cooking Time: 3 hours Total Time: 4 hours

Paella Negra is an Italian/Spanish celebration dish of seafood and rice cooked in squid ink to give it that characteristic black color.


  • 1 kilo small fresh squid - remove tentacles and skin; save the tiny ink sac (it looks like tiny, silver bags); clean inside of squid from any particles that are not part of the squid (tiny shrimps or fish), leave the fat of the squid intact (looks like tiny gelatine); slice into 1/2-inch rings. In a medium sized frying pan, over low heat, pour 1/4 cup of olive oil and sauté the squid in batches (about a handful at a time) till the squid turns slightly white and then set aside.
  • 1 kilo Manila clams (halaan) or mussels (tahong) - to clean the Manila clams, soak for about 2 hours in salted water (1/4 cup salt) dissolved in 3 cups water, so the clams can spit out the sand. The halaan must only be in enough water so that the top of the shell is still exposed to the atmosphere. Then rinse the halaan in running water and drain. In a sauce pan place 2 cups of water and bring to a boil and place the halaan in pot and simmer till the shells open then remove from fire. With the mussels, remove the beard before doing the same as halaan. With either shell fish, remove the meat from the shell and set aside. Strain the liquid, measure and set aside.
  • 500 grams prawns - place prawns in sauce pan, no water, and cook over low fire till they look like pink question marks; remove from fire; cool, peel and set aside; do not over cook.
  • 1 tablespoon squid or octopus ink - in the Philippines you can buy either one or two of the large squids and get their ink; in other countries, squid ink is available in bottles or sachets
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
  • 2 cups finely chopped onions
  • 3 3/4 cups Japanese rice or Jasmine rice - rinse only once and drain; set aside
  • 6 cups liquid (include the liquid from the clams with broth)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated black pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt to start and adjust to your taste
  • fresh lemon wedges to serve
  • Ali-Oli Sauce:
  • 2 cups Japanese mayonnaise (or good quality mayonnaise)
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco (hot sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt



Using a Dutch oven, over low fire, pour in the olive oil and let heat for about 2 minutes.


Put in the garlic and onions and sauté till the onions are translucent.


Add in the squid/octopus ink and sauté for 5 minutes.


Pour in 3 cups of the broth mixture and simmer for another 5 minutes.


Using either a handheld blender or a blender, smooth out the liquid. If using a blender, pour blender in pitcher of blender and smoothen.


Return liquid to Dutch oven and add the other 3 cups of broth.


Season with nutmeg, black pepper, and salt and simmer for another 5 minutes.


Add the rice and simmer for 5 minutes. Place cover.


Heat oven to 300ºF or 160ºC . Bake rice mixture in oven for 30 minutes.


Remove mixture from oven and add the squid and prawns into rice mixture and fluff. Return cover.


Return mixture in oven and continue baking for another 15 minutes or till rice is fully cooked.


Place the clams on top of rice and cover for five minutes and then serve.


Ali-oli Sauce:


In a small saucepan over low heat, saute garlic in olive oil till very light golden tan.


Remove from fire.


Add the Tabasco.


In a blender, pour in the mayonnaise, garlic mixture, lemon juice, and salt.


Turn on blender on slow spurts and blend well.


Adjust taste and serve with the Paella Negra.


The way to eat the Paella Negra is to place a bit of Ali-Oli sauce and a squeeze of lemon on a spoonful of the rice mixture.

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