Recipe: Arroz negro

08 June 2023
Recipe: Arroz negro

Recipe from the new cookbook Paella by Omar Allibhoy

This black-coloured rice dish is literally the sea on a plate. Cooked with prawns, squid and its own ink, it makes the perfect special occasion dish. In my family we eat this dish on 6 January, when we celebrate the gifts brought to Jesus by the three wise men. I have particularly fond memories of this dish; it was always my aunty Tata who cooked – but of course I always got into the kitchen to give her a hand.

Serves 4


  • 2 litres shellfish stock
  • 0.4g saffron
  • 120ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 dried ñora peppers
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1kg cuttlefish, cleaned and cut into small strips
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • 5 sachets of squid ink
  • 440g Spanish paella rice
  • 1kg red prawns, shells removed (heads left on)
  • Salt, to taste


Heat the shellfish stock in a saucepan over a low heat and crumble in the saffron. Keep warm over the lowest setting.

Place a paella pan over a low heat, pour in the olive oil and fry the ñora peppers for two minutes. Remove the peppers from the oil and blend to a paste with the tomatoes using a blender or food processor; set aside for later.

Increase the heat to high and add the cuttlefish. Sauté for about five minutes, or until golden in colour. Season with salt. Add the garlic, closely followed by the paprika, the squid ink and the tomato and ñora pepper paste. Cook for about two minutes until the oil starts to separate from the tomato paste. Add the rice and stir for a couple of minutes, ensuring the rice gets coated with the oil.

Carefully add the hot stock to the pan and give it a good stir to distribute the rice evenly. Taste the stock and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Cook over a high heat for the first 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking for another five minutes, without stirring. Place the prawns around the paella and shake the pan to flatten the rice. Let it cook for a final two minutes, then allow to rest off the heat for five minutes before eating.

Paella by Omar Allibhoy (Quadrille, £18)

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