Mexican Rice Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder (more to taste, for a spicier rice)
  • ½ teaspoon garlic salt (or ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon garlic powder)
  • ½ cup frozen peas (thawed, optional)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Instructions:

  • Rinse the Rice: In a fine-mesh strainer, rinse the rice with cold water until the water runs clear. Set aside.
  • Toast the Rice (Optional): Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the rinsed rice and cook, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes until the rice is lightly toasted and golden brown. This step adds a nutty flavor to the rice, but it’s not mandatory.
  • Sauté the Aromatics: Add the chopped onion to the pot with the oil (and toasted rice, if following that step). Sauté for 3-4 minutes, or until the onion softens and becomes translucent. Stir in the minced garlic and cook for an additional minute, until fragrant.
  • Add the Wet Ingredients: Pour in the diced tomatoes (with their juices), chicken broth, water, tomato paste, cumin, chili powder, and garlic salt. Stir to combine and bring to a boil.
  • Simmer the Rice: Reduce heat to low, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid, and simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until the rice is cooked through and all the liquid has been absorbed.
  • Fluff and Garnish: Remove the pot from heat and let it sit covered for 5 minutes. This allows the rice to steam and fluff up. Fluff the rice with a fork and stir in the thawed peas (if using) and chopped fresh cilantro. Taste and adjust seasonings with additional salt or chili powder as desired.

Tips:

  • Spicier Rice: For a spicier rice, add an additional ¼ teaspoon of chili powder, or include a chopped serrano pepper along with the onions during the sautéing step.
  • Chicken Flavor: To enhance the chicken flavor, you can substitute chicken broth for half of the water. A crumbled chicken bouillon cube dissolved in the water also works.
  • Vegetables: Feel free to add other chopped vegetables like carrots, bell peppers, or corn along with the onions for more variation.
  • Leftovers: Mexican rice reheats well and can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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