Mexican red rice is prepared almost everyday in some Mexican homes. When I was young, something that I would frequently hear from my mom and my aunts was that "I had to learn how to cook". They would say, “Es bueno que aprendas a cocinar, para que si algún dia te quieres casar, al menos le puedas cocinar un buen arroz a tu marido”. (You better start learning how to cook if you ever want to get marry someday, so you can at least be able to cook a good rice for your husband). I still wonder if that happens to every woman, or it’s just something that runs in my family. Anyway, I did learn to cook rice, and also got married. My husband always give me praises for my cooking, so I hope I had fulfilled my mother’s wishes!
This rice is such a favorite dish in my house that sometimes it is the main dish, accompanied with beans, avocado or topped with a fried egg as it is served in some restaurants in México.
Like in most recipes, there are several variations to this recipe. Some cooks will use lard or margarine instead of oil, others will add Chicken bullion dissolved in water as a substitute for broth. This last ingredient is very common in Mexican kitchens where it is also used to enhance the flavor of other meals.
To cook this rice, make sure to used a heavy pot at least 4 in. deep and 9 in. wide.
Ingredients for 6 servings
- 1 1/2 cups medium size grain
- 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- About 3-1/2 cups chicken broth
- 2 medium tomatoes about 1-1/2 cup chopped
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons white onion chopped
- 1 garlic clove chopped
- Salt to taste
The following items are optional:
- 1 small carrot finely chopped
- 1/2 cup peas
- 1 spring of cilantro
- 2 serrano peppers
Place the rice in a large heat-proof bowl and pour in hot water to cover. Stir once, then let stand for 5 minutes.
Transfer to a strainer over the sink,rinse under cold water, then drain again. Shake the strainer well to remove any excess water. Set aside to dry slightly. If using frozen peas, please defrost them ahead of time. For this rice I used 1 cup of peas. This is a personal choice, you can also add carrots if you like.
Heat the oil in a large, heavy pan, add the rice. it should sizzle as it touches the oil. Cook over medium heat until it starts to become a delicate golden brown. This step will take about 8 to 10 minutes. Stir occasionally to ensure that the rice does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
Carefully tip the pan and remove the excess oil using a spoon.
Meanwhile, pour the tomatoes, garlic and onion into a food processor or blender, process until smooth.
Add the tomato mixture into the rice and stir over medium high heat.
Keep cooking until all the liquid has been absorbed making sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. It takes about 5 minutes for this step.
Stir in the broth and optional vegetables (carrots, peas, serrano and cilantro) and salt to taste. Cover the pan and cook over medium heat until all the liquid has been absorbed.
Using a fork, carefully dig to the bottom of the rice to see if any moisture remains; If so, continue cooking over low heat for a few more minutes, still covered, until tender. Remove pan from heat, without uncovering it, and let it stand for 10-15 minutes, to give the rice a chance to continue steaming. Using a fork, lightly fluff up the rice and serve.
Note: Some cooks in Mexico will never stir the rice when it is cooking because it will become mushy. I am one of them.
My son loves to eat his rice with a sliced banana and I like it with avocado.