I’ve been slowly working on organizing my week so I don’t spend all of my free time in the
kitchen. I love to cook, but like everyone, I have other responsibilities. One of the time-saving tricks I use is to cook a double-batch of a side dish that can be eaten with several other meals during the week. Easy homemade Mexican rice is a simple, yet satisfying dish on its own.
Dress up the rice with onions and peppers, and maybe add meat if you like. Or, dress it down and eat is as is. Rice dishes are a great choice for a potlucks. Not only does it taste great but the smell is really good on a cool evening.
Mexican Rice and Spanish Rice: Is there a difference?
Growing up in a Latin family in the Southwest, rice and beans are eaten at most meals. We called it Spanish rice. Since then, I’ve found that Spanish rice and Mexican rice have been used interchangeably in the United States. There is a difference though.
Mexican rice, which is what I’m making here, is made with a long-grain rice. Mexican flavors in this dish are tomato, garlic, onion, cumin, and cilantro.
The most common rice dish in Spain is Paella. It’s season with saffron, which gives it a yellow color. Seafood and sausage are added.
There are many variations of both types of rice dishes.
How do I make it?
This dish quickly comes together, so be sure to have your ingredients washed, measured and cut before starting the rice.
Step 1: Put some oil in a pan on medium heat. When it starts to shimmer, add rice.
Step 2: Stir gently and constantly while the rice is getting brown and toasted, about a minute. You should start to smell a light nutty flavor.
Step 3: Add garlic and onion. Be sure to keep stirring so your rice doesn’t burn. It should still be browning. Dark brown is still ok.
Step 4: When the rice has browned and the garlic and onions have begun to soften, add a small can of tomato sauce. Stir thoroughly. Then add the cumin, cilantro, salt, pepper, and mixed veg (optional).
Step 5: When adding the broth, keep your face away from the pan. The oil and rice are hot so there will be a loud sizzling when you pour the broth into the pan.
Step 5: Stir once, put the lid on the pan, and turn the heat down to medium low. Cook for 20 minutes. Once the 20 minutes is up, remove from the hot burner, with the lid on, and let it sit for 10 minutes. Then remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork.
What can go wrong?
My rice is mushy: This happens when the lid is taken off before the cooking is done.
My rice didn’t cook through: This can happen for a few different reasons. If you use a different kind of rice, the liquid measurements and cook times can vary from the recipe.
Another reason for rice that hasn’t been cooked through is if the cool-down process is skipped. Even when the heat is turned off and the lid is still on, the rice is still steaming. This step is important , not to be missed.
Rice: Can use other rice types but water and cooking times will vary. Look at the package instructions to confirm the cooking times.
Tomato sauce: The ‘tomato’ sauce can be low-salt, pureed tomatoes, or spice it up with a taco or enchilada sauce
Liquid: Use water if you are watching out for salt, or have a delicate tummy. Broth makes a flavorful rice. Use vegetable or mushroom broth for vegan and vegetarian meals. Chicken and beef broth can be used alternatively.
Mixed Veg (Optional): Several restaurants mix carrots and peas with the rice. Adding a bag of frozen veg, can be a way to get picky eaters to eat a few bites of vegetables.
Try putting a scoop of rice in the bottom of a bowl of soup. Add a layer of rice to your favorite nachos or prepare a Southwestern Salad.
Thank you so much for reading along. I’d love to read any comments you have on your favorite Spanish or Mexican rice meal.