Chicken Paella

chicken paella

I was advised not to eat seafood when I was pregnant and breastfeeding because baby would be allergic to it. I still don’t figure out the reason. Isn’t it supposed to be that the more you eat that food, the easier your baby gets used to it?

Anyway, I wasn’t dare to take risk. After all I didn’t want my children to miss any chance to taste one of the best food in the world when they grow up. So, I stopped having seafood all along my pregnancies and the time I was breastfeeding. Not only myself, but my husband also had to cut it down since I’m the only cook in the house who controls our daily menu. But just because you have to sacrifice one of the best food, it doesn’t mean you can’t have another delicious alternative. So instead of having seafood paella, I made chicken paella.

chicken paella

And now it’s become one of our go-to weekday meals. It’s an one-pot simple yet very tasty dish that easily feeds a big group with vegetables, meat and rice. Feel free to add other vegetables, like peas, asparagus or peppers. Cook it with spicy chorizo would make it even more delicious!

Ingredients (serves 6):
8 chicken thighs
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
6 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper to season
1 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
2 carrots, diced
1 can diced tomato
1 cup white wine
1 cup chicken broth
2 cup balsmati rice
3 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley

Mix cumin, coriander, garlic, salt and pepper together. Rub the seasoning on the chicken pieces.
Heat oil on medium high heat in large sautee pan. Add the chicken (skin side down) and cook until browned on each side, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove from pan and set aside.
Reserve a tablespoon of chicken grease in the pan and discard the rest.
Add onion, carrots and tomatoes, and cook for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Add wine, cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat until the liquid is reduced by half.
Add broth and rice. Mix well.
Put in chicken thighs. Cook until the juice bubbles. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 20 minutes or until the rice is tender but still slightly firm.
Sprinkle chopped parsley and serve.


  1. Looks yummy and easy! To make it a little more like Paella add a touch of Saffron to the rice and smoked paprika to the chicken thighs. Spanish chorizo would be a good addition (not Mexican Chorizo) or maybe Andouille if you can’t find real Spanish Chorizo. As already said – this still really is not Paella, but these little additions should make it taste awesome.

  2. Regarding the time it takes for the rice to cook, white basmati rice will take about 20 minutes. If you use brown rice, it will take about 45 minutes. The recipe sounds delicious. Looking forward to trying it soon.

  3. Do you think that moms who live at seaside not eat a seafood for 2 years or More? Maybe modern, but traditional… I doubt :) people who eat seadood are the healthier in the world! Just enjoy it. And thanks for this beautiful recipe!

  4. Swap the cumin and coriander and itatian parsley for old bay seasoning, add ham, sausage and drop the carrots and you have the makings of a nice jambalaya

  5. Only the olive oil is the ingredient that appears within a PAELLA, this shouldnt be called anything close to that.

    1. Completely agree with Pepe. A chicken and rice dish which is not remotely Spanish let alone a Paella. Basmati rice! Cumin! Tinned tomatoes, White wine, Italian parsley… Please try an authentic well made Paella with the fantastic socarrat that is so essential. This is without doubt a nice chicken and rice dish that is easy to prepare and cook on a busy evening but unfortunately not a Paella. I do appreciate the time and effort you take to help people with new ideas however.

  6. Really nice recipe…just like a chicken pulao….Btw, I would use just 1 tsp of cumin it has a very strong taste, and 1 tbs of Coriander this is a sweet spice…tc.

      1. I made this with leftover cooked chicken and replaced the diced tomatoes with Original Ro-tel tomatoes to give it a little tang, It was AWESOME.

  7. What size ‘can of diced tomato’. There’s 8 oz, 14oz, 19oz, 28 oz, and probably others as well. And ‘balsmati’ (sic) rice? Paella = short grain rice like arborio. I do agree the chorizo would be a nice addition.

    1. I use 28oz canned diced tomato. You could use arborio rice if you want, it might take longer to cook though. Our family likes balsmati rice better. :)

    1. Hi Karen, my friend has tried to cook this in a slow cooker. At the last step, instead of cooking the rice in the pan, she put everything in a slow cooker to cook in high heat for 1.5 hours. :)

    1. Thanks, Anna! Dark meat like chicken thighs can take the long cooking process (20 minutes) with the rice. If you use chicken breast, you might want to cook it separately (I assume it takes around 5 to 8 minutes to cook a piece of chicken breast) and serve it with the rice. :)

  8. Can ‘t wait to try I ove new chicken and rice recipes . My grandchildren come to my house asking for them from the oldest to the youngest one this will be their next one. got a feeling it will be a hit. thanks for sharing

    1. Awwwww……I really hope you will enjoy the recipe, and your grandchildren will love the dish! :)

  9. I love easy and quick dinner ideas for weekdays. This one is a keeper. Thanks for sharing. :)

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