Mexican Style Rice

close bright mex rice 2.jpgLast year I learned to make Mexican style rice from a cookbook called “The Vegtetarian Table; Mexico” by Victoria Wise.  Since then I have adapted it and this summer I managed to freeze a few batches of the tomato puree that goes into to make it easier to make on a whim.  It’s easy to adapt this to your own tastes by omitting the cilantro, for example, or making it spicier. 

One of the main things I changed with this recipe is the method for cooking the rice.  I tried it Wise’s way a few times but I dislike the results when rinsing the rice first so I simply make my rice the way I’ve been making rice for twenty years now except for the one step of adding the puree to the rice before the water.

This Mexican style rice is very clean tasting, unmuddled by too much oil, salt, or any lard, yet it has full flavor and is satisfying to eat with just a little chimichurri sauce.

mex rice plain 2.jpgThis picture was taken before adding the cilantro- it’s very good this way too but I can’t get enough cilantro so I prefer adding it in.  Plus-green is pretty!

Mexican Style Rice

Ingredients:

2 med sized tomatoes
1/2 yellow onion
1 jalapeno pepper (can use a whole pickled one if you don’t have fresh)
1 garlic clove
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup long grain Basmati rice
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups water or broth
1 bunch cilantro, minced

Method:

In a food processor puree the tomatoes, onion, pepper, garlic, and salt until completely smooth.

In a medium sauce pan heat up the olive oil on medium high heat and add the rice to it.  Stir the rice continually for a few minutes until you see the grains turning a little white (don’t let them brown!), then add the puree and keep stirring so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.  When most of the liquid is absorbed into the rice, add the water. 

Turn the heat up to high until the water reaches a boil then turn it down to a simmer (low heat), cover, and let it cook for 20 minutes. 

Remove the lid and if all the liquid has been absorbed* remove from the heat.  Add the minced cilantro and fluff the rice with a fork.

mex rice first view 2.jpg

More recipe notes:  I always make rice with plain water but if you like you can use vegetable, chicken, or beef broth.  This is an all season recipe if you use canned tomatoes in the winter and spring.  If you preserve your own whole tomatoes and have medium sized ones then simply substitute those for the fresh.  Most tomatoes that are canned whole are roma tomatoes which are smallish, so if you’re using commercially canned tomatoes use four of them instead of just two.  I don’t buy fresh hot peppers in the winter or spring so I usually use pickled jalapenos in place of them which I really enjoy for their slight tang. 

This recipe is gluten free
This recipe is vegan

*When I cook rice with plain water the cooking time is always exactly 20 minutes but because of the slightly variable nature of the size of tomatoes and onions I have found that occasionally this recipe needs a little extra time to cook off all the liquid.  Mexican rice is supposed to be moist but there shouldn’t be any water in the bottom of the pan.
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