Sunday, August 15, 2010

Spanish Rice / Mexican Rice

Did you know that Spanish rice and Mexican rice are one and the same? It is from Mexico not from Spain. In fact according to  Wikipedia, it is an unknown dish in Spain. I didn't know about this until I looked for its explanation.
One of the main steps to follow in cooking this dish is to brown the rice. It gives rice a nice nutty flavor. I remember one of my neighbor in India making something she called 'Akki Usili' or 'Rice Usili' for which she used to toast the rice and then cook. We really liked this rice. Nice way to use up abundant supply of tomatoes this time of the year.
Long grain rice - 1 cup
Oil - 3 TBSP divided use
Red Onion - chopped fine about 1 cup (or 1 medium onion)
Tomatoes - 2 medium chopped fine or use about 1/2 cup of tomato paste/puree
Green bell pepper - 1 chopped into small chunks
Jalapeno peppers - 2  chopped fine or to taste (remove seeds if you cannot handle heat)
Garlic - 2 pods crushed
Salt - to taste
Green Onions - 2 - 3 chopped (both white and green part)
Cilantro - chopped about 1/3 cup
Cayanne pepper or red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp (optional)
Water - 2 cups (You could use vegetable  broth in its place)
In a skillet, take 1 TBSP of oil and toast the rice in it till golden brown. Keep stirring since it can burn easily. Set aside. To the same skillet, add 2 TBSP of oil. When hot, add garlic, jalapeno peppers. Saute for a minute. Add chopped onions, some salt and let it wilt. When onions are half cooked, add chopped bell peppers. Mix well and let them cook for a couple of minutes. Now add the tomatoes. Let the tomatoes cook and reduce a bit. When almost all the water from the tomatoes is gone, add cayanne pepper if using. Stir in the rice and pour water. Let it come to a boil. Lower the flame and cover with a lid and let it cook.

When rice is cooked and there is no more water in the pan, add green onions, cilantro and mix well. Check for the seasonings and adjust if needed. Cover with the lid and let it stand in very low heat for a minute or two. Turn off the heat. Serve warm or at room temperature.

This is actually served as a side dish, but being an Indian, anything that has rice and vegetables is a main dish for me. Non vegetarians can use their choice of broth to cook the rice. Even though this dish traditionally does not have other vegetables, I see no harm in adding some green peas or some fresh corn to this.

Make sure you are using required amount of water to cook the rice. My rice needed two parts water/liquid for one part of rice. If you are using different kind of rice which needs more or less water, adjust accordingly.

Updated: You could add 1/2 tsp of cumin powder and squeeze juice of half a lime for a variation. Add some cooked black beans and corn for a hearty meal.

Happy Cooking!!
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  1. I am going to save this one as I love Mexican rice and this looks beautiful and thanks for the background info on it.

  2. rice looks really tempting ...thanks for sharing the information...


  3. I love this rice....even I make it in a similar way...looks yummy

  4. looks wonderful n colorful...the process is the same as we follow for pulao in indian cooking frying rice til golden brown...and i hve the same set of floral plates...same pinch...haha


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