Korean Inspired Paella

Korean Inspired Paella

Korean Inspired Paella

An abundant showstopper to serve for a feast, this dish combines the crispy rice technique and smoky aroma of Spanish paella with the sweet spice of Korea’s kimchi fried rice. Short grain rice cooked in vermillion saffron-infused gochujang broth layers in flavor, while a medley of seafood (you can substitute whatever combination you like) steams on top. 



  • 1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, diced
  • 1 teaspoon + 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 cups chicken or seafood stock
  • 3 tablespoons gochujang
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads (optional)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup drained napa cabbage kimchi, finely chopped, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 cup canned diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 1/4 cups short-grain rice (such as bomba, arborio, or sushi rice)
  • 1/2 cup shelled edamame
  • 1/2 pound extra jumbo (16-20), jumbo (21-25), or extra large (26-30) shrimp, deveined
  • 1/2 pound cleaned mussels or littleneck clams
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallion
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • Lemon wedges, for serving
  • Kewpie mayonnaise (optional), for serving


  • Season chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, garlic powder, and 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger. Set aside.
  • In a small saucepan, combine stock and gochujang. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat. If using, add saffron threads, cover, and set aside.
  • Heat a large pan over medium heat and add 1 teaspoon olive oil. Add chicken and cook until browned but not fully cooked through. Remove chicken and set aside.
  • Increase heat to medium-high and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Once hot, add onion, red pepper, and garlic. Sauté until vegetables are softened and onions begin to brown, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in chopped kimchi, diced tomatoes, and the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of smoked paprika. Cook for another 4 minutes, stirring often. Season with additional salt.
  • Add wine and simmer until almost all liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes.
  • Return chicken to the pan, adding any accumulated juices. Stir in rice, ensuring it's well-coated with the other ingredients.
  • Slowly pour in the gochujang broth, gently shaking the pan to distribute ingredients evenly. Avoid stirring the rice after this step. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook uncovered for 10 minutes, adding more stock or water if necessary.
  • Scatter edamame over the rice. Arrange shrimp and mussels or clams on top, gently pushing them into the rice. Cook uncovered for an additional 6 minutes.
  • Gently flip the shrimp and continue cooking for another 6 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed and the bottom layer of rice begins to brown. Check the rice's bottom layer for doneness, adjusting heat as needed.
  • Remove from heat and cover for 10 minutes to finish cooking the seafood.
  • Uncover, drizzle with toasted sesame oil, and garnish with chopped parsley and scallion. Serve immediately with lemon wedges and a swirl of Kewpie mayonnaise. Accompany with additional kimchi if desired.

Recipe Notes:

  • A pound of your favorite seafood mix (plus chicken thighs) is ideal for this recipe. Options include shrimp, mussels, squid, clams, and crab legs for an eye-catching presentation.
  • Head-on shrimp enhances the dish's visual appeal without significantly altering the flavor or preparation.

Enjoy your fusion feast of Kimchi-Saffron Seafood Paella!