Chorizo in paella? 10 other classic dishes you’ve been cooking all wrong

niçoise salad, bánh mì,  tacos, caesar salad
10 dishes you’ve been cooking all wrong

Jamie Oliver’s unorthodox and “insulting” paella recipe, shared yesterday on Twitter, has enraged Spaniards.

“Good Spanish food doesn’t get much better than paella,” the innocuous-seeming tweet read. “My version combines chicken thighs & chorizo.” It included a link to a web page hosting the full recipe.

The backlash was immediate, and included comments such as “come to Valencia to try the real paella and stop making rice and whatever. Your dish is everything but paella.”

But Oliver’s paella isn’t the only dish to suffer this fate. From Caesar salad to hummus, which other regularly butchered recipes provoke a furious response from traditionalists?

Spaghetti bolognese

Spaghetti bolognese

It’s a staple for millions of diners around the world, but Italians claim the recipe has become so corrupted, it no longer resembles the original dish.

According to experts, most people get the very basics of the recipe wrong. Instead of using spaghetti we should actually be using tagliatelle. Massimo Bottura, a bolognese “virtuouso” said: “Along with lasagne, spaghetti bolognese is the most abused Italian dish. There are some crazy versions out there.”

Caesar salad

Caesar salad

Chicken is a fairly common ingredient in most Caesar salads these days, but the original recipe, thought to have been created by restaurateur Caesar Cardini in the 1920s, only consisted of romaine lettuce, croutons, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, olive oil, egg, Worcestershire sauce, anchovies, garlic and black pepper – chicken not included.

Cardini’s daughter, Rosa, said her father invented the simple dish after a Fourth of July rush depleted their supplies so he had to “make do with what he had”.



Earlier this year there was outrage in Italy about France’s “awful” reinvention of the classic pasta carbonara. A video – which showed pasta being boiled in the same saucepan as lardons before onions, crème fraîche and a raw egg were added – went viral in Italy with thousands of people sharing it, accompanied by comments such as “stick to the frog legs” and “you’ve already got the Mona Lisa, leave the carbonara alone”.

The Italian recipe for the dish is made with spaghetti, bacon, eggs, Pecorino cheese and freshly ground pepper, and they say the French version gets everything – from the ingredients to the method – wrong.

Niçoise salad

Niçoise salad

The debate over what constitutes a true niçoise salad is a confusing one, with many experts arguing over which ingredients are essential to the dish and which ones are just add-ons. Some believe it should contain green beans and potatoes while others are adamant that its simply a salad composed of tomatoes, onions and anchovies.

The Daily Meal reports: “We asked a local for help with the genuine article and here’s what she said: “I am French, I live in Nice, so I can assure you salade niçoise does not contain green beans, potatoes, or any other ‘cooked’ vegetables.

“If you want a real salade niçoise, you must use these, and only these, ingredients: tomatoes, cucumbers, artichokes, green peppers, onions, basil, garlic, hard-cooked eggs, anchovies, black olives, olive oil, salt, and pepper, of course.

French toast

french toast

We tend to make a lot of mistakes when it comes to French toast. If your toast is coming out soggy the chances are you’re using the wrong kind of bread.

Your standard Hovis loaf won’t cut it if you want that authentic French toast taste. Visit your local bakery and cut your own slices making sure each piece is thick enough to really soak in the milk and eggs without disintegrating. Or better yet (and if you have the time), why not make your own?


Jamie Oliver Tacos

If you were to go to Mexico and order a taco, it’s very likely that what you’d receive would be very different to the kind of tacos you come across in the UK.

In Mexico a taco is a corn or wheat tortilla, prepared with a variety of fillings including beef, pork, chicken, seafood, vegetables and cheese. Traditional tacos are typically hard shelled and contain extras like guacamole or sour cream.

Bánh mì

Banh mi

Sticking some glazed meat and a few vegetables inside supermarket French bread is not Bánh mì, it’s a glorified baguette. To make true Bánh mì, you need to use a certain type of bread.

According to redditor Kikuness, “The French bread will be made with a mixture that includes rice flour – this gives the bread a light, squishy texture. The meal, as a whole, shows where the two cultures (French and Vietnamese) mix. There are different types of Bánh mì, but at least get the ‘Bánh’ part right by using the correct bread.”

This baguette is stuffed with “herbs and pickled vegetables and the paté spread alongside the various meats.”

Greek salad

Greek salad

While lettuce features prominently in many American-style Greek salads, it’s nowhere to be found in the authentic dish.

A true Greek salad contains tomato, cucumber, a slab of feta (not crumbled), onion, oregano, olives and olive oil instead of dressing. If you make it with lettuce, it stops being a Greek salad and is instead known as a marouli salad.

Jollof rice

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter


Ola Kupsy @OlaKupsy

Throwback to when Jamie Oliver called this jollof rice


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A repeat offender, Jamie Oliver once again found himself under fire in 2014 for his interpretation of the West African dish, Jollof rice.

The one-pot rice dish traditionally consists of blended tomatoes, onions, spices and chilli peppers, while Oliver’s recipe included other ingredients many took offence to such as “600 grams of cherry tomatoes on the vine”. Nigerian food blogger, Lohi, said the traditional ingredients are the base for the dish while “Jamie’s recipe called for whole vegetables!”


Deliciously Ella's hummus

Though hummus recipes tend to be relatively simple, there’s a good chance the recipe you use is missing out a vital piece of information: what type of chickpea to use.

Not all chickpeas are created equal and there are several different types you need to watch out for. Managing editor at Yahoo Jo Piazza says there are “the large, Spanish-style, the much more petite and shapely Bulgarian chickpea, and finally the chickpea that is just right — the Hadas chickpea, an Israeli chickpea that has a size in between the Bulgarian and the Spanish versions and is a bit darker.”

If you want to remain true to the original recipe, use the Israeli chickpea for your dip.