Go back to
Home » My Kolkata » Food » Celebrate Spanish National Day with an Iberian spread

Spanish recipes

Celebrate Spanish National Day with an Iberian spread

The columnists shares some interesting recipes that can make your meals interesting

Durri Bhalla | Published 12.10.22, 02:54 AM
(Clockwise from top left) Gazpacho soup; Avocado Orange and Almond salad, Spanish omelette And Paella

(Clockwise from top left) Gazpacho soup; Avocado Orange and Almond salad, Spanish omelette And Paella

The National Day of Spain (Fiesta Nacional de Espana) is a national holiday in that country that falls on October 12. It commemorates the Spanish legacy worldwide, especially in Hispanic America. It is a day on which the Spanish people commemorate the country’s history, recognise and appreciate achievements. The day celebrates unity and fraternity and also Spain’s ties with the international community. It also commemorates the discovery of the Americas by Christopher Columbus for Spain on October 12, 1492. The date is also the official Spanish language day, celebrates the feasts of both ‘Our lady of the Pillar’ and the ‘Virgin of Guadalupe’, as well as being the Day of the Spanish Armed Forces. Here are a few dishes that will get you in the spirit of all things Spanish.



Gazpacho, also known as Andalusian Gazpacho, is a cold soup made of raw vegetables. It originated in the southern regions of the Iberian peninsula and then spread into other areas. It is widely had in Spain, particularly during hot summers since it is very refreshing and cool. There are many versions of this soup. Here I have given my version keeping its authencity and flavours intact.

INGREDIENTS (for four)

  • 1½kg ripe tomatoes
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 4 large cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 2 slices of stale bread with crust removed
  • 4tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4tbsp sherry vinegar (or plain vinegar)
  • 2/3 cup tomato juice (readymade)
  • 1¼ cup iced water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Ice cube to serve (optional)

#For the garnishes

  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 slices stale bread diced
  • 1 small cucumber peeled and finely diced
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper and 1 green bell pepper finely diced
  • 2 hard-boil eggs chopped (vegetarians can omit this)


  • Skin the tomatoes, then quarter them and remove the core and seeds. Save the juices.
  • Then put the pepper in a food processor and process for a few seconds.
  • Then add the tomatoes, reserved juices, garlic, bread, oil and vinegar and process.
  • Add the tomato juice and blend to combine.
  • Season the soup, then pour into a large bowl, cover with cling film and chill for at least 12 hours.

#For the garnishes

  • Heat oil in a frying pan and fry the bread cubes until golden-brown and crisp. Drain and arrange in a small dish.
  • Place each of the remaining garnishes in separate small dishes.
  • Just before serving, dilute the soup with ice-cold water. The consistency should be thick but not lumpy or too thin. If you like, stir in a few ice cubes into the soup.
  • Serve in soup bowls along with the garnishes.


This refreshing salad perfectly combines the smooth creamy avocado with oranges and almonds. It is a very popular Spanish salad.

INGREDIENTS (for four)

  • 3 oranges, peeled and sliced into thick roundels
  • 2 ripe tomatoes. Plunge into boiling water for 30 seconds only. Then refresh in cold water. Peel the skin, cut into quarters, remove the seeds and chop roughly.
  • 2 avocados, cut in half, remove the stone and carefully peel away the skin. Then cut into chunks
  • 4tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2tbsp lemon juice
  • 1tbsp fresh parsley
  • Small onion rings
  • ¼ cup slit toasted almonds
  • 10-12 black olives
  • Salt and pepper to taste.


l Mix together the lemon juice, olive oil and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

l Take half the dressing and toss avocados and tomatoes in it.

#For the assembly

  • Assemble the sliced oranges on a plate. Scatter the onion rings. Drizzle half the remaining dressing over it.
  • Spoon the avocados, tomatoes, almonds and olives on top and serve immediately.


Paella (pai-ei-uh) is a classic Spanish rice dish made with rice, saffron, vegetables, chicken and seafood cooked and served in one pot. Although paella originated in Valencia, it is recognised as the national food of Spain. There are many different varieties of Paella. The most common are chicken, seafood or mixed paella. Here I have used a combination of chicken, prawns, pork and vegetables. You can make your own combinations. That’s the beauty of a paella.


  • 300g chicken on bone with skin, cut into 2inch pieces
  • 8-10 clams (optional since it is not readily available)
  • 10 big prawns shelled and de-veined. Tail intact.
  • 200g bekti fillets cut into 2inch cubes
  • 2 chorizo sliced and fried (or 4 chicken sausages sliced diagonally into 1inch pieces)
  • 1½ cup Arborio rice (or any other short fat grain rice. Not Basmati)
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 2tsp red chilli powder
  • 1tsp dried oregano
  • Sea salt and crushed black peppercorns to taste
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions sliced finely
  • 1tbsp crushed garlic
  • ½ cup tomato puree
  • Few strands of saffron
  • 3 cups of chicken stock
  • 2 sprigs of fresh oregano
  • ¼ cup boiled green peas
  • 1tbsp lemon juice
  • Parsley for garnishing


  • Marinate the chicken with chilli powder, dried oregano, black pepper and salt.
  • Heat 1tbsp oil in a paella pan or a broad skillet. Sear the chicken on high heat till golden brown on all sides. Remove and keep aside. In the same pan fry sliced chorizo (or chicken sausage). Remove and keep aside.
  • Heat 2tbsp of oil in the same pan. Add onions and sauté till golden. Add garlic and tomato puree and mix well. Then add the rice and mix well.
  • Add 1 cup of stock. Mix well. Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes.
  • Add salt, pepper, chicken and the remaining stock and mix well. Cook for 6 minutes.
  • Then add the clams and chorizo in the pan. Mix well and cook for about 7-5 minutes on medium heat.
  • Now place the prawns, fish, peas, bell pepper and lemon juice. You can add ¼ cup water and fresh oregano and cover and cook for 8 minutes. Then put off the flame. Keep covered for 10 minutes. All the water will be absorbed.
  • Garnish with parsley and cut olives. Serve hot straight from the pan.


Spanish omelette, also known as tortilla, is a traditional dish from Spain. Celebrated as a national dish by Spaniards, it is an essential part of the Spanish cuisine. It is an omelette made with eggs and potatoes, optionally using onions too. You can create your own version too by adding mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers, etc. It would be very rare to find a tapas bar that does not offer Spanish tortilla. This dish can be served warm or cold and is often topped with mayonnaise or tomato sauce.


  • 450g small waxy potatoes peeled and cut into thin slices
  • 1 large onion cut into thin rings
  • 6 eggs
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Parsley and tomato wedges for garnishing


  • Heat 3tbsp olive oil in an 8-inch heavy frying pan.
  • Add the potatoes and onions and cook over low heat for 20 minutes till potatoes are tender. Put the flame off.
  • In a large bowl beat the eggs with salt and pepper. Put the cooked onions and potatoes into it.
  • Clean the frying pan with a kitchen paper, then heat 2tbsp oil and pour the potato egg mixture into it. Cook very gently on medium heat for 5 minutes, until set underneath. Shake the pan occasionally from side to side to prevent sticking.
  • Now place a large plate upside down over the pan, invert the omelette onto the plate and then slide it back into the pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes more until the underside of the omelette is golden-brown.
  • Place it on a plate. Cut wedges and garnish with parsley, tomato wedges, mayonnaise, tomato sauce, etc.

Note: You may add cheese, spicy diced sausages, mushrooms, bell peppers, etc.

Tomato Ricotta Mozzarella Bruschetta,  Spanish Chicken Croquette,  Stuffed mushrooms and Sangria

Tomato Ricotta Mozzarella Bruschetta, Spanish Chicken Croquette, Stuffed mushrooms and Sangria


Sangria is an easy cocktail made from an infusion of Spanish red wine and fresh fruits and juice. You can make it with any good red wine. It looks festive and it’s great for making ahead of time. Sangria is Spain’s most loved and celebrated cocktail. As can be expected, there are endless versions of this cocktail. The one I am sharing is a simple, traditional version.


Chop the fruits into small dices. You need 2 cups of fruits (apples, oranges, kiwi, pineapple, peaches etc). Add small lemon wedges. Put it in a large pitcher. Put in few slices of ginger, 1 small cinnamon stick and sprigs of mint. This will add a slight kick and depth of flavour to your Sangria.

  • Now pour the whole bottle of red wine.
  • Add ½ cup brandy/ light rum/ Triple Sec/ liqueur. Choice is yours.
  • Mix well and refrigerate and chill for at least 4 hours. The flavours will meld together.
  • Then add ½ cup juice (orange/ grapefruit/ pomegranate/ lemon).
  • Add extra flavour with 1-2 cups flavoured or club soda/ lemonade/ ginger ale. Choice is yours.
  • Sweeten it with ½ cup sugar syrup/ honey (according to taste).
  • Select a glass and fill with ice. Pour the sangria and garnish with mint leaves/ basil leaves, etc. Make sure enough pieces of fruit is put in each glass.


In Spain, the motto is eat when you drink, drink when you eat — and Tapas would seem to have been invented for just this.

Tapas are finger foods, a choice of delicious morsels to tempt the drinkers to have yet another glass of wine, maybe, and with it another tapas dish. They range from olives to nuts, cheeses, cured meats, marinated fish, shellfish and titbits on skewers. Here I have given a few of my favourites.



  • 3-4 slices of country rustic bread. Toast on a very hot griddle on both sides.
  • Now half-fry cherry tomatoes. Mix them with crushed garlic, red chilli powder and few oregano leaves. Drizzle a little olive oil and sea salt. Place in baking tray and bake for 4 minutes in the oven at 200°C. Then remove from oven.
  • Now in a bowl crush 2 balls of mozzarella and 1 large spoon of ricotta. Season with a little salt and pepper to taste and crush and make a smooth paste of the cheese.
  • Now take some sun-dried tomatoes and crush it. Add a dash of vinegar and olive oil to it.

#For the assembly

  • Rub a garlic on top of the toasted bread. Drizzle olive oil over it. Then spread the sun-dried tomato paste. Then put the cheese paste. Place some basil leaves. Then place the tomatoes over it. Drizzle a little olive oil. Serve fresh.



  • 12 button mushrooms. Remove the stem and scoop out gently to make a bigger hole.
  • 1tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 2tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 2 cups shredded cheese
  • Sea salt and crushed black pepper


Mix all the above ingredients well. Put this stuffing in the mushrooms right till the brim. Place them on parchment paper in a baking tray. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Serve hot. Also tastes good at room temperature.


  • Cook 2 chicken breasts in water with an onion, celery, peppercorns and a bay leaf.
  • Remove and shred the chicken while it’s hot.
  • Mix it in white sauce, which is slightly thick in consistency. Check for seasoning.
  • Take little bit of the mixture and form into croquette shape.
  • Dust it with flour, then dip in beaten egg and then roll in breadcrumbs.
  • Fry in hot oil till golden-brown.
  • Remove and serve with a sauce of your liking.


  • Heat 1tbsp butter in a pan. Add 1tbsp flour and saute till raw smell of flour goes. Then add 1 cup milk slowly, whisking all the time so no lumps are formed. Season with salt and pepper and a pinch of grated nutmeg.
  • For this recipe the consistency should be slightly thick or you won’t be able to make the croquette. Can add little red chilli powder for flavour. That’s optional.

Durri Bhalla is a cookery expert and author of Indian Bohra Cuisine and Inner Truth To Good Health And Weight Loss. You can find her at @DurriBhallaKitchen on Instagram, Durri’s Kitchen on Facebook and Durri Bhalla on YouTube

Last updated on 12.10.22, 11:33 AM

More from My Kolkata