Arroz a banda: traditional recipe

Meet the recipe for rice a banda, the traditional dish of Valencian and Alicante cuisine. Check its ingredients and enjoy a delicious dish.



Arroz a banda: receta tradicional

 What is arroz a banda?

 Arroz a banda is a rice dish that was invented on the Alicante coast and its popularity has spread right along the East, from Murcia to Catalonia. In Valencia, like Valencian paella, it is one of the most popular and most eaten rice dishes. Like most traditional seafood dishes, it has its origins in food that fishermen used to make, simple and humble dishes that made the most of the ingredients that surrounded them. 

They used the fish that was left over from the day and made two dishes from it: rice made with the stock and the fish served separately (a banda), which is where the name comes from.  The rice was eaten on deck and served with allioli or salmorreta (a fry or mix of tomato, garlic and parsley, which is used in almost all rice dishes from Alicante).

Now, arroz a banda is just the rice, and the stock is made with rock fish or trawler fish. These types of fish have very little meat and lots of bones, but they are full of flavour, which gives the stock an amazing flavour.  In some places in southern Alicante like Tabarca, Santa Pola, Torrevieja, Guardamar del Segura and also Ibiza, arroz a banda is known as caldero. But as in both cooking and teaching, every teacher has their own way, and in every area, and even every town, the recipe varies, although the base must be the same.

 Arroz a banda ingredients 

This is a very simple rice dish to make at home. The secret to making a dish that is full of flavour is to use good base ingredients to make the fish stock that you will cook the rice in. If you can’t find ingredients for the fumet or you are in a rush, you can also use ready-made fish stock.

Serves 4:

- Para el caldo: morralla, cola de rape, huesos de merluza…, cabezas y cáscaras de gamba, 1 puerro, media cebolla, 2 zanahorias, sal, laurel.

- Para el arroz: arroz, 1 sepia grande, gambas arroceras, 1 cebolla, 2 tomates medianos, sal, azafrán o pimentón y el caldo de pescado.

Arroz a banda: receta tradicional

Arroz a banda traditional recipe

For the stock:

1. Heat a small amount of extra virgin olive oil in a large pot and fry the thinly-sliced vegetables on a medium heat until soft.

2. When the vegetables are ready, add the prawn heads and shells to fry for a few minutes.

3. Add the fish, 2 litres of water, salt and bay leaves and increase the heat. Once it begins to boil, leave for 30 minutes, removing the foam whenever necessary.

4. Strain the stock and add salt to taste. 

For the rice:

1. Put extra virgin olive oil in a paella pan and add the diced cuttlefish. Fry over a medium heat, add the prawns, sauté with the cuttlefish and remove.

2. Add the peeled and chopped onion and tomato and leave to fry for 5 minutes, stirring continuously.

3. Add the rice and stir to mix the flavours well.  

4. Add the saffron or paprika whilst stirring.

5.  Now add the stock, which must be hot.  The proportion here should be one part rice to two and a half parts stock, but this will depend on the type of rice you are using.

6. Leave the rice to boil for 18 minutes until it is dry. Put the prawns back in for the last few minutes.

7. Leave to stand for 5 minutes and then serve. This rice dish can be served with allioli.