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Cooking with Surplus…Paul’s Paprika Seafood Rice

31 January 2020

Paul rustles up a smoky seafood delight!

“We decide on the morning what we are going to cook with what we have and do our best to use everything! Start the day with nothing and end with nothing.”

Paul Mitchell, South Norwood Community Kitchen

In this week's cooking with surplus post we’re joined by Paul Mitchell of South Norwood Community Kitchen who offer a free three course lunch for anyone who wants to come along.

“We decide on the morning what we are going to cook with what we have and do our best to use everything! Start the day with nothing and end with nothing. Where there is a useful surplus we might freeze it, or fruit and veggies get given away to those who need them.”

After the project’s initial success South Norwood Community Kitchen are moving to their own space. The free lunch will continue but they will also be running a pay as you feel cafe.

Paul says one of the best ways to use up surplus is by cooking soup.

“A bit like having children we often find that straight up veg isn’t the most popular, but blitzed seasoned and presented nicely, we get through all the veg not used elsewhere and more importantly shoehorn tonnes of nutrients into the meal.”

Paul tries to cook up his seafood rice whenever he gets fish from FareShare. It’s a brilliant way to combine a rich source of protein with dry surplus. South Norwood get a lot of rice, not only from FareShare but also from donations, so this recipe was driven by finding a way to use it up in a creative and nutritious way.

Paul's top tip: The ingredients are indicative only, and this can be adapted in so many ways, so Paul recommends using what you have and adjusting to taste.


300g rice
1-2 tsp smoked paprika
1tbsp oil
1 or 2 white/red onions
2 peppers
2 garlic cloves
400g seafood - we used prawns and mussels
2 limes
1 spring onions
Pinch of chilli flakes (however spicy you like it!)


  1. Start by cooking the rice to taste, a little al dente is best in our opinion.
  2. Depending on quantity, either take a frying pan or a large flat cooking surface - we use a large oven tray across two hobs - and heat a good glug of oil with diced onions And diced peppers. Fry for a bit then add garlic and more smoked paprika than you think. Keep it stirred making sure the spices don’t burn.
  3. Juice the limes, keep the skins.
  4. Chuck in the rice and give a good move around so that the paprika oil gives everything a good coating. Taste and add more spices and salt to taste. If it starts to burn or dry out, add some water to ease it. Add the lime skins.
  5. When it’s all looking lovely, add the seafood and keep stirring until prawns are cooked/heated through depending on whether you’re using per-cooked seafood or not. Add lime juice and any extra seasoning as you like.
  6. Serve with chopped spring onions and chilli flakes on top, removing the lime skins.