Kitchen & Pantry


Saffron is so expensive, and so hard to find, in this country that unscrupulous retailers are trying to hoodwink unwary buyers by misrepresenting the local kasubha as saffron.

The obvious question is why not just ditch saffron in any recipe that includes it among the ingredients? Because the color and aroma of the cooked dish will not come out right. So when I discovered boxes of “paellero” at The Landmark a couple of months ago, I bought one on a trial basis. I’m not a fan of powdered mixes but with the hit-and-miss supply of saffron, this was a viable alternative because the maker is a trusted brand.

A box of Carmencita’s paellero comes with five sachets, and each sachet is good for six servings.

But because I am a little paranoid about ingredients in powdered mixes, I had to check the ingredients. Garlic, salt (25%), paprika, cornmeal, colouring (F.D & C yellow No. 5), pepper, clove and saffron…

Fortunately, there was nothing there that worried me.

The paellera is pretty good. Wonderfully seasoned, richly colored and the aroma is just divine. I’ve made chicken and shrimp paella with one packet (sorry, I wasn’t able to take photos) and, tonight, a cooked a paella-style rice dish with only vegetables.

I paired the rice with herbed and breaded chicken, and we had the combo for dinner. Recipes coming up.

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