Ptitim Paella


First, some credits:

  • An Israeli blog, non-vegan, called “Ptitim”, yes yes, just like the main ingredient of this dish. The blog is known for simplicity, awesome photos and crazy fusion of tastes and ingredients. I have seen the Ptitim Paella there for the first time.
  • I also used the Paella recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi, a successful Israeli chef, working in London and spreading the word of the awesome Israeli kitchen.


My Paella is a mix of these two recipes plus some creativity from my side. It is a simple dish to make, doesn’t take a long time, perfect for the winter and basically allows you to use whatever you have in the fridge. But leave those pros aside, because the main reason to make this dish is that it’s REALLY delicious!

But first thing first… Ptitim… what is it?!

Right after Israel was founded there were rough years of austerity, from 1949 till 1959. Post-war, still struggling, large amount of new immigrants from all over the world, no stable industry, and hard agriculture times – there was almost no food and there was no rice! Ben Gurion, the first prime minister of Israel, asked the Israeli food company, OSEM, to create some kind of an alternative to rice, and OSEM came up with Ptitim (literally, flakes) – oven roasted wheat flour flakes!

Ptitim became a staple of the Israeli cuisine: kids love it, students live on it (with Ketchup… my dinner almost every evening on my first semester at the university) and parents adore the simplicity of making it. It is VERY cheap (500 gr. cost around 7 Shekels, 1.5 EUR / 2 USD) and in recent years it became popular all over the world, known as Israeli Couscous / Israeli Pasta – being served in fancy restaurants or starring in gourmet recipes.

Ptitim come in different shapes: rice, pearls, stars, hearts and rings. There are tri-color Ptitim, Whole Wheat Ptitim and Ptitim with Onions.

I get Ptitim supply every time I visit Israel and every time someone comes for a visit – as dry food it can be stored for a long time.


And a few words on Paella – the queen of the Spanish cuisine:

I have never eaten real Paella so I cannot really compare my vegan version to anything, but it doesn’t matter – mine was super tasty and looked awesome and since I used the traditional Paella spices – Saffron and smoked Paprika, I guess it is as close as possible.

Ingredients – for two hungry people:

  • 2 small onions – chopped
  • 3-4 garlic cloves – finely chopped
  • A quarter of a chili – chopped


  • 1 big carrot – finely chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper – chopped to medium stripes
  • 2-3 big tomatoes – finely chopped – I also used a few cherry tomatoes
  • A jar of Artichokes hearts – drained and halved


  • 6-7 white champignons – cut into quarters
  • A few Shiitake mushrooms – I have them in dry form – I took a handful, soaked in boiled water and drained (they are under the white mushrooms in the photo…)


  • A cup of uncooked Ptitim – I used the rings shape this time


  • 1/4 -to 1/2 half a teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper or more, or less! – Depends  how much you like it hot!
  • A teaspoon of Turmeric
  • Some salt and pepper – I used smoked Danish pyramids salt and some freshly ground pepper
  • Very important: a heaped teaspoon of smoked paprika – I used de la vera
  • A few Saffron strands – I am always “afraid” using my Saffron but if not using it in the most famous saffron dish then when?



In the biggest pan you have:

  • Fry onion, garlic and some chili in olive oil for 1-2 minutes – medium heat


  • Add bell pepper – stir well
  • Cook for 1 minutes
  • Add carrot – stir well
  • Cook for 1 minute
  • Add mushrooms – stir well
  • Cook for 1 minute
  • Add artichokes – stir well
  • Cook for 1-2 minutes


  • Add tomatoes and spices – stir well


  • Add one cup uncooked Ptitim – stir well
  • Cook for 1-2 minutes


  • Add 1.5 cups of boiled water – stir well for the last time – make sure the Ptitim are covered with water or touching the watery sauce


  • Cook, untouched, for 15-20 minutes – on a meduim heat
  • Add some water if needed


  • Serve hot with some freshly chopped parsley
  • Enjoy!



And a summary:



And one last thing! I created a REALLY good 80’s music mix on Groove Shark – feel free to come and listen 🙂 

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  1. I would love to try this – do you use sweet or spicy Pimenton de la Vera?
    Got 2 bags of Ptitim with me from Israel but one bag was destroyed during the flight – maybe i should store it in the hand lugagge next time 🙁

    • Hey Miri!
      I use the sweet paprika as the pepper is already quiet spicy – but it’s up to you!
      I am sorry you lost one bag of Ptitim 🙁

  2. Thank you 🙂
    Yeah, bad luck. But it is enough for a few dishes left and i tried it today (unfortunately i did not get the smoked pepper) – it was delicious! Thanks for the recipe 🙂 I did not get the ring form but stars 😀

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