As part of our IYKYK: Holiday Tradition Edition series, we made our way to Marielle Sales’s Noche Buena celebration. She walked us through one of her favorite recipes to enjoy at the midnight meal: arroz valenciana, a Filipino spin on paella. But of course, one dish isn’t enough for a feast like Noche Buena, so we also ordered take-out favorite Jollibee fried chicken. 

How do you celebrate the holidays? 

Ever since my parents moved to Arizona a few years ago, my siblings and I have been spending the holidays in the desert. For us, this season is the one time of the year when we all come together and celebrate with lots of food. As someone who just got into cooking in the beginning of the pandemic, I'm excited to share some new Filipino recipes I've learned with my family.

What kinds of foods make you think of the holidays? 

Growing up, my parents would always have ham in pineapple glaze and traditional Filipino desserts such as bibingka, fruit salad, or kakanin (sticky rice cakes) on the table so I associate those foods with the holidays.

What is a holiday tradition that’s unique to you / your family? 

A holiday tradition our family follows is Noche Buena, which is a midnight feast we have on Christmas Eve. Usually we would eat the foods mentioned above and order our favorite: a bucket of Jollibee fried chicken and Filipino spaghetti.

Marielle’s Arroz Valenciana (Filipino Paella)



3 tbsp. olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1/2 lb. boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
*Chorizo de bilbao or longanisa sausage, sliced diagonally
2 tbsp. tomato paste 
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. turmeric 
2 cups of jasmine rice OR 1 cup jasmine + 1 cup glutinous sticky rice (malagkit), washed
2 cups chicken broth 
1 can full-fat coconut milk 
1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips 
1/2 cup frozen peas
A handful of shrimp 
Salt & pepper to taste
3 hard boiled eggs, sliced into wedges for garnish


1. Heat olive oil on medium in your Always Pan. Add garlic and onions and saute until fragrant and translucent. Add the sausage to fry and then remove and set aside.
2. Add a little more and and cook the chicken for a few minutes until all sides are slightly browned. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Add tomato paste and stir for a few minutes until it becomes caramelized
4. Add in rice and spices (paprika, turmeric, salt, and pepper) and toss for 1 minute.
5. Pour in the coconut milk and chicken broth, mixing evenly as it comes to a low boil.  
6. Lower the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for approximately 20 minutes or until the rice absorbs all the liquid, stirring occasionally to scrape the rice off the bottom. 
7. Once the rice is absorbed, add the bell peppers, shrimp, and peas on top. Cover and let it steam until shrimp is cooked.
8. Top it off with sliced sausage and any additional toppings you desire. 
9. Let it cool for a few minutes before serving straight from the pan! 

*If you can’t find Chorizo de Bilbao or Longanisa at your local Filipino or Asian market, you can substitute for chorizo, hotdogs, or Chinese sausage.

Marielle uses the Perfect Pot in Blue Salt

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