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mexican rice

  • j

My method was:

soak the rice
fry in oil
add puree of tomato, onion, garlic
add some stock, water
cook uncovered.

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.

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    1. 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.

      1. 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.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Wtg2Retire

          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.

          1. re: shanagain

            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.

            1. re: Wtg2Retire

              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.

              1. re: shanagain

                Thanks so much. Think I will try Dining Diva's amount of oil (probably will use lard) and drain, then add your seasonings at the appropriate time.

        2. 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.

          1. 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.

            1 Reply
            1. re: boogiebaby

              I make my rice this way, too, but sometimes substitute the tomato sauce for red enchilada sauce. It always comes out a nice red color with a little chili kick to it.

            2. I've done it just using Red Salsa and some chicken stock. My sister uses red Enchilada sauce and some chicken stock.

              1. You don't need to soak the rice so much as you rinse, rinse, and rinse some more until the water runs clear. Spread it out to dry.

                Whe you fry you need to use a LOT of oil, way more than you'd think. Heat the oil over medium high heat until it shimmers, Add the rice and stir until it is will coated and the excess oil pools. Stir frequently enough to keep it from sticking and burning. As the rice toasts it will take on a golden color and get kind of opaque/puffy/crackly. Once the rice reaches that stage, strain pour yhe rice in to a strainer in order to drain off the excess oil.

                Return the pot to the heat and saute any onions, garlic and/or other aromatics. Add the rice back to the pot and stir. Add the water/stock/broth and seasonings/chiles. Tomato sauce can be part of the liquids if desired. If not using tomato in the rice, squeeze the juice of half a (key) lime into the pot once the liquid has been added. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat and cover. Cook until the liquid is almost all absorbed. Remove lid, stretch a dish towel over the pot and put the lid back on. Allow to steam for another 10 minutes.

                The keys to good Mexican rice are rinsing the rice well and drying it and then sauting it in a lot of oil until it's ready for the liquids.

                13 Replies
                1. re: DiningDiva

                  I never rinse my rice. I buy Lundberg brand of brown rice (many varieties), and it needs no rinsing, and my Mexican style rice turns out great.

                  1. re: wyogal

                    Different style of rice, the hull and germ haven't been milled off as they are for white rice. Usually not much of a need to rinse brown rice since the hull is still in tact.

                  2. re: DiningDiva

                    interesting. i didn't really measure the oil. it should have been 1/3 cup oil to 1-1/2 cups rice.

                    i fried as long as i should have, but i'm thinking my rice was too wet from the soak and rinse.

                    I fried the left overs into "fried rice" and the color looked pretty good, i'm thinking the frying is the issue.

                    1. re: j8715

                      Actually, for 1 1/2 cups of rice, the amount of oil should have been closer to 2 cups! I can look up the exact proportion when I get home, but it's A LOT of oil, but the bulk of it ends up getting drained off.

                      And, yes, the rice needs to dry out before frying.

                      1. re: DiningDiva

                        2 cups rice for 1/3 cup oil? or 2 cups oil for 1 1/2 cups rice?

                        1. re: wyogal

                          2 cups of oil for 1 1/2 cups rice, but let me verify the proportions when I get home this evening.

                          1. re: DiningDiva

                            I've never heard of using that much oil to simply fry rice before cooking it. Never. Where did you get those proportions? I'd use a tablespoon. If at all. I like to toast my rice first, in a dry pan.

                            1. re: wyogal

                              As I've already said twice...let me verify the proportion on the recipe when I get home. I may be wrong but it is A LOT of oil.

                              My recipes are from Mexican chefs

                              1. re: DiningDiva

                                I'm searching recipes, and I can't find any with that amount of oil. Just interesting....

                                1. re: DiningDiva

                                  I have also seem Mexican cooks fry in a lot of oil and drain it a bit before proceeding

                                  1. re: DiningDiva

                                    Okay, I have checked my recipes at home and I was off.

                                    The oil-rice ratio in the recipe I was thinking about is actually 1/2 Cup of oil to 1 1/2 Cups of rice. That is still a lot of oil for that amount of rice. It does fry up nicely and you do drain most of the oil off when it is lightly browned and crackly. I've made this rice several times using the full amount of oil, I've also made it much more frequently with considerably less oil. It *is* much better with the full amount of oil.

                                    I also checked some of the recipes I use less frequently and the oil-rice ratio varied greatly among those as well. Anywhere from a 1/4 Cup oil to 1 Cup rice to 2 Tbls. oil to 2 Cups rice.

                                    1. re: DiningDiva

                                      Yes, that's what I thought. No big deal, I was just really curious.

                                      1. re: DiningDiva

                                        I think I will try the larger amount of oil the next time and drain.

                        2. Use Knorr "tomate y pollo" broth granules. Make broth (however much you need), add garlic powder and ground cumin to the broth, let the broth cool to room temp, or make a day ahead and refrigerate. Broth + rice in rice cooker, done.

                          9 Replies
                          1. re: mrbigshotno.1

                            I make mine in the rice cooker too, rice, tomato paste or fresh or canned, whatever I have on hand, some sauteed onions & garlic, broth and spices. really nicely flavoured and coloured! oh, and I make it with brown rice.

                            1. re: cleopatra999

                              I'm no Romney, I can't be buying a special appliance just to cook one thing. I have a pot to cook my rice in.

                              1. re: j8715

                                Obama probably can afford to get special appliances.
                                I use a rice cooker, I thought it was silly at first, too. I got it for a kid going to college. I use it now, and love it. It frees up burners on the stove, and it is very simple to use.

                                1. re: wyogal

                                  Nice political balance from the land of Dick Cheney...:)

                                  1. re: wyogal

                                    My rice cooker is probably the most used appliance in my house, and the cheapest, and has lasted the longest! best $30, hands down, cuts down on cooking time of brown rice and never any guess work, comes out perfect every time. I use it for almost all grains (kamut, wheat berries, quinoa etc.). Okay, I will get off my rice cooker high horse now.... :)

                                    1. re: cleopatra999

                                      My problem with rice cookers is that the ones I've seen cook the rice in plastic - I will not cook in plastic.

                                      1. re: sandylc

                                        I've not seen plastic. Mine is a non-stick surface, aluminum. But that probably poses a problem, too.

                                        1. re: wyogal

                                          same with mine, not plastic, assume it is aluminum. I figure if they were that bad there would be an awful lot of sick Asians out there.

                                        2. re: sandylc

                                          I've never seen a plastic rice cooker. Are you maybe talking about a microwavable rice cooker? I think everyone here is referring to the appliance with the removable metal pot that you plug into an outlet.

                              2. You need some Ancho chili powder and cumin.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: sandylc

                                  Yes, I use that too. Sometimes a bit of smoked paprika, but just a bit. Definitely cumin, though!

                                  1. re: sandylc

                                    I think this is off the mark. I don't think the rice should be heavily seasoned. it should be simple. rice, some fat, some salt and sofrito and MAYBE a bit of peas and carrots.

                                    1. re: j8715

                                      How did your rice taste? Or were you just disappointed in the color? Using a bit of spice does not mean it is "heavily seasoned." IMO.

                                  2. ok, bringing back this old chesnut. Color is a nice yellow/orange. No more rice with tomato bits on it. New method:

                                    do not soak, do not even rinse. rice is bone dry.
                                    fry in 1/3 cup oil to 1.5 cups rice until smells nutty
                                    drain excess oil (i don't have the exact amount of oil figured out)
                                    add puree of fresh tomato, onion, garlic. cook until it starts to stick.
                                    add some stock, water and a bit of peas/carrots
                                    cook uncovered.

                                    this is it. DiningDiva's comments are pretty spot on. I question the merits of rinsing the rice at all though.

                                    -The major investment of the 'rice cooker' is not needed. Those of us without romney levels of capital can still eat well cooked rice.

                                    -Annato is not needed for color.

                                    -Strong spices are still kept out. Rice is a plain side dish.

                                    Still turns out a bit too sticky. . . I'll work on this next time.

                                    1. Sorry to bump an old thread, but Mexican Rice has been a frustrating food quest for me for countless years, and this looked like it was the most recent thread on the topic.

                                      I've tried every flavoring, spice, preparation, and cooking method under the sun, but nothing came out like what restaurant after restaurant dishes up successfully day-in/day-out.

                                      Until tonight, while trying this recipe: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/...

                                      What happened was that this weekend I'd bought a new stick blender, the kind that has that sort of mini-food processor/chopper attachment to it. Long story short, I tossed in the last of the onion I had to see how it chopped, and I darned near pulverized the onion.

                                      Faced with a choice of going to the store just for one onion, or using the resultant onion mush for the 1000th Mexican Rice recipe I was about to try, I used the onion mush. (Never mind that this one is for 'Spanish Rice', LOL


                                      What a revelation. The flavor I'd been messing up all of this time was onion! Simply chopping onion finely like I would for pilaf wasn't doing the job. I'm still going to do some tweaking, as I like rice with a bit more heat to it, but I'd never realized how important it is that onion permeates the rice for it to taste right.

                                      What a head slapper that was. If I'd only known 999 batches of rice ago.