My method was:
soak the rice
fry in oil
add puree of tomato, onion, garlic
add some stock, water
it turned out white with a bit of red on it. the rice itself wasn't colored.
Do I need to fry longer? were the tomatoes too watery (i used fresh, maybe a canned would be better)? Do I need to use annato?
i hate being so close to good.
Once you've fried the rice it will no longer absorb color. The color needs to be included before or at least at the same time as cooking the rice. In your situation I'd add annatto with the oil.
Personally, I have never used fresh tomatoes when making Mexican Rice; I don't think it would give the nice red color that you get with using tomato sauce.
Here is the recipe I use:
My Mexican Rice
In cast iron Dutch oven, add about 1 T lard (bacon drippings if you have) and heat until lard becomes hot, but not smoking. Add 1 cup of long-grain rice. Brown rice until oil has been absorbed, then add chopped onions (whatever amount you want) and cook to softness. Add about 1/4-1/2 of a grated carrot. Add a can (or 1/2 can for less heat) of El Pato brand Salsa De Chile Fresco, then 2 1/2 cups water and salt to taste. Add 1 cube chicken bouillon or 1 t granulated/powdered bouillon*. Bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer about 15-20 minutes until water in gone. OLE! arroz (Note: for every cup of rice I use 2 1/2 cups of water). I don't like sticky rice - this should come out fluffy. *Or use chicken stock for liquid and omit bouillon.
El Pato is critical to mine as well, as is a bit of cumin and Mexican oregano. (Should I ever move from Texas, I'll make sure to have at least three cases each of El Pato and Morton's Chili Blend make the move with me.)
One of my friend's mom uses pimentos in her rice, and another recently told me a friend of hers stated that "Spanish rice" had to have chickpeas to be authentic, which was a new one to me.
Shanagain, how much cumin, Mexican oregano, and chili blend do you add to your rice. I would like to add those the next time; they sound good.
I have never been at a Mexican restaurant that serves Mexican rice with either pimentos or chickpeas (garbonzo beans). Those two ingredients just sound so foreign to Mexican rice - maybe be something from Spain though.
I'm kind of an eyeball cook, but if I had to guess, for 1 1/2 cup dry rice, I use about a scant 1/4 teaspoon of chili blend, a good pinch of dried Mex. oregano, crushed well as it goes into the pot (about a half tsp if you were measuring), and probably somewhere between 1/4 and 1/2 tsp. cumin. There's so much going on in there that I don't use a lot of any of those- essentially enough to color the blend. Once in a while I add turmeric for extra color, for absolutely no good reason at all.
And I thought both the pimentos and chick peas were odd additions too. I don't put carrots in mine, but might next time, or heck, maybe I'll add chickpeas and report back. I also occasionally throw a handful of frozen green peas and/or corn in during the last half of cooking, just for variety, but haven't ever had it served to me that way - I'm just a sucker for rice and peas together.
I usually make a sofrito of Onion, Tomato, Garlic, and Paprika.
Just pop it all in a food processor and puree and fry down to a thick paste. (I make a lot, it keeps well)
When it is time to make the rice Fry as typical add sofrito to your liquid and then to rice. Carry on as normal. Nice deep color and flavor.
I saute my onions and garlic for a couple minutes, then add the rice and saute until the rice is toasted a golden brown and is puffed somewhat. Then I add tomato sauce and chicken stock (or water and buillion if that's all I have). Cover and cook over low heat until done. Rice comes out a nice red color.