Arroz negro (Rice with squid ink)

Arròs negre

Arròs negre is a typical Catalan and Valencian dish characterized by its color. Although the cultivar used for this recipe is white, the squid ink used in the recipe gives the rice its typical black color. However, the dish should not be called “black rice”, as this is the name of another cultivar of rice characterized by its natural dark color. Besides, some people call this dish paella negra (“black paella”) because the preparation is similar to that of seafood paella. However, it is traditionally not considered as such.

The basic ingredients used in the arròs negre recipe are white rice, squid ink and cuttlefish or squid. Also, to boost flavor you can add onion, garlic, green peppers and sweet paprika, as well as different types of seafood, such as crab or shrimp.

This is an easy recipe to prepare arròs negre, typically accompanied by alioli (garlic mayonnaise):

Serves 6


Arroz negro (Rice with squid ink)


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  • 3 squids, plus 2 frozen squids
  • 4-6 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 glass white wine
  • 6 tbsp squid ink
  • 2 l (about 8 cups) water/fish stock
  • 1 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups Spanish/short-grain rice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 lemon, cut in wedges (optional, to decorate)
  • 1 cup garlic mayonnaise


  1. Chop the fresh squids. Set aside.
  2. To make the black fish stock, defrost the frozen squids and dice them.
  3. In a pan, add 2-3 tablespoon of olive oil and heat.
  4. Fly lightly the defrosted squids.
  5. In 1 glass of white wine, dissolve the squid ink.
  6. Pour the mixture over the fried squids. Mix well.
  7. Add the water or fish stock and simmer until the sauce reduces to half.
  8. Blend the mixture and strain it. Set the dark stock aside.
  9. Chop the onion and garlic.
  10. In a paella pan, add 2-3 tablespoon of olive oil and heat over medium heat.
  11. Add the onion and garlic and cook until they are lightly brown.
  12. Pour the chopped fresh squids into the paella pan.
  13. Cook for a couple of minutes.
  14. Add the rice and fry it lightly, stirring continuously.
  15. Pour the black stock over the rice (3 parts of stock to 1 of rice).
  16. Add the salt and cook for 10 minutes on high heat.
  17. Then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes more, or until the rice has absorbed the liquid and is tender.
  18. Remove from the heat and sprinkle with the lemon juice. Also, you can decorate the rice with a couple of lemon wedges.
  19. Cover with a lid and let the rice rest for 5 minutes before serving.
  20. Serve with garlic mayonnaise.

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