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Feb 2, 2005 12:52 PM

What are the core ingredients in Mexican rice?

  • n

I occassionally get a craving for that orange long-grained rice that comes with Mexican food as a side (arroz con frijoles, anyone?), but don't always want to buy a package of the spice powder.

What are the essential ingredients? I assume the color comes from chili powder, but what kind (chipotle, blend, cayenne?).

Does anyone have a simple recipe?

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  1. Actually, the color comes from tomatoes... Here's how I do it...

    I boil some Tomatoes with Chiles and Garlic and then puree...

    I take long grain rice and fry it in the pan until it gets golden

    I then take the puree and a bit of water and a few more whole chiles and cilantro and set the rice to simmer covered.

    I check on occassion, NEVER stirring, but more like digging to make sure there is still plenty of water.

    There are SEVERAL recipes and techiniques... some folks use Tomato Sauce (El Pato brand) and some folks finish in the Oven (I think the Cooks Illustrated version was done that way...) Obviously, i LOVE a lot of flavor a spice in mine (Hence the chilies)

    There was a post below on Mexican food with a link to a webpage with recipes as well as photos of the preparation... that may also help you out too!

    Enjoy your rice! :D


    1. j
      Jim Washburn

      I make mine with chicken broth and a little rehydrated chile pulp, which I almost always keep on hand--usually New Mexico reds or anchos. No tomato.


      1. In my Mexican-American family, it's tomatoes. Never red chili or green chili of any kind. And, never, never, peas and carrots like so many Mexican restaurants add.

        Brown about 1 cup of rice in oil. Add a small can of tomato sauce plus the same amount of water. Add to this some diced onion, garlic salt (really) or garlic powder and regular salt if you use the powder. It should be boiling at this point. Turn down way low and cover. It'll take about 15 to 20 minutes to absorbe the liquid. If you like it like my dad, soupy, add more liquid at the beginning. If you like it on the dry side, the measurments above are fine.

        1 Reply
        1. re: SandraV

          Hear hear... this sounds like our family recipe too.
          And the recipe the other side of the family uses too.

          If you'd looking for a shortcut... the Knorr chicken with tomato bullion cubes will work in a pinch.

          (It'll taste just like many restaurants with this, in fact!)

        2. I always make mine with chicken broth and tomato sauce adding the salsa at the table if one wants chile flavor. My one difference is I fry the rice in lard. I want the real Mexican taste that I grew up with and this was always the way mom and my grandma did it. The tomato sauce merely adds color.