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Types of Original Rice For Paella

Types of Original Rice for paella

There are three basic types of rice grain: Short grain (Japonica), long grain (Indica), and medium grain (hybrid). Long grain and brown rice account for a very small percentage of the rice grown in Spain. Traditional varieties grown and eaten in Spain have been the short grain, almost round varieties, which are very suitable for the classic Spanish rice-based dishes, such as paella. The traditional varieties of rice from Spain are:

This are the types of original rice for paella
    • Bomba – also called Valencia Rice, is a short grain, almost round rice, with a pearly color. It absorbs three times its volume in water as opposed to the average rice grain, which absorbs only twice its volume. This means it absorbs more flavor, and does not stick together. For these reasons, bomba rice is highly prized by cooks. Another difference with the bomba variety is in the way it expands during the cooking process. Instead of cracking open along with length of the grain, it breaks open crosswise and as it cooks, and it expands like an accordion until it reaches three times the length of the raw grain try our recipe Valencian paella.
    • Senia and Bahia – short grain rice varieties, similar to bomba that also absorb more than the average amount of liquid, and retain a creamy texture after cooking. They are the two most widely grown varieties of rice grown in Spain.
    • Calasparra – short grain rice grown in the area around town of Calasparra, Murcia. Rice grown in the DO of Calasparra is called Calasparra, however both Balilla X Sollana and Bomba varieties are cultivated there.


    • Albufera – A rather recent addition to the different types of rice, it is a mixture of bomba and senia rice, enjoying both of their benefits, greatly absorbing the flavor as well as being more lasting when it is made to rest after finishing cooking.
    • Marisma –This rice is considered as one of the most high quality and is known for its delicate flavor and smooth texture, as well as for the ability to absorb the flavors of the ingredients with which we must cook, added to all this, this variety is very healthy since it is low in fat and cholesterol, it is a good source of carbohydrates and fiber. It also has essential vitamins like iron and zinc.

In the following video you can see the types of original rice for paella and we give you a more lively explanation of the different kinds of rice and the differences within them:

You can find further information about the different types of rice in our blog.

Other Varieties of Types of Original Rice for Paella

Rice varieties like Bomba, Calasparra, or other high quality, short or medium grain rice are readily available for purchase in Spain. However, if you are in the USA, purchasing these varieties can be difficult, since they are only available via the internet, and at gourmet and ethnic grocery stores. So, use a medium or short grain rice. One alternative that produces wonderful results in Spanish rice dishes is Calrose rice. The Calrose variety is a short grain rice, developed by the Rice Experiment Station at the University of California, Davis from the japonica variety. It was released to growers in 1948, and has been growing in popularity ever since. In fact, it is now widely grown in the Pacific Rim and Australia. Calrose is readily available in supermarkets in the USA, and can be substituted for the Spanish varieties.
Now you know and enjoy the types of Original Rice for Paella