Updated: Oct 4, 2020
Mexico is a country that I've been longing to visit for quite some time to explore the bold tastes and flavors not forgeting the flamboyant people and culture. Mexican food is such a staple in my house that I'm fairly sure my son can survive off tacos alone! One of my kids' favorite staple dinners is a Mexican-style bowl, which includes rice, chicken fajitas, guacamole, tomato salsa, black beans, tortillas, sour cream and Tex-Mex cheese. Not only is it extremely satisfying to eat, but I love seeing all the beautiful colours come together in a bowl!
Since this dish contains a lot of different components, I decided it would be better to break it down into a 2 part post. This week, I will show you guys how to make the star of the show, the Mexican rice, so stay tuned next week to see the entire bowl come together.
What you will need:
Rice: I've opted for Basmati but you can use any long-grained rice. I always wash my rice 3-4 times, after which I leave the it to soak in water for at least 20-30 minutes to let the rice bloom before draining and cooking it.
Chicken broth: You can either make your own or use store-bought. My ratio for cooking rice is 1:2 (1 cup rice to 2 cups water) but since I am adding canned diced tomatoes in the juice, I've reduced it to 1:1.5 (1 cup of rice to 1.5 cups broth). Similar to cooking pilaf, Mexican rice is prepared by first browning/frying the rice and then adding the chicken broth to cook it. Since I'm always trying to add more vegetables to our diet, I added a couple of vegetables. For a vegetarian version, replace the chicken broth with vegetable broth for cooking.
Garlic: I've used freshly minced garlic but you can also substitute with garlic salt.
Spices: Cumin and cayenne pepper/chilli powder are key to getting the authentic Mexican flavour. While the Spanish flavour their rice with saffron, Mexicans commonly use cumin.
Suggested vegetables: White onion, bell peppers (red, yellow and green), corn (frozen or canned), carrots.
Salt: Since the stock will contain some salt already, it is better to taste the stock first and add salt as needed.
To serve (optional): Green onion, cilantro and lime.
Prep time: 20 minutes, excluding soaking rice (30 mins)
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Long-grained rice: 3 cups
Garlic: 4 pods, minced finely
White/red onion: 1, chopped finely
Cumin powder: 1 Tsp
Cayenne pepper/chilli powder: 1/2 Tsp
Chicken broth: 4 1/2 cups (if using a bullion cube, boil the cube with water)
Diced tomatoes in juice: 1 can or 1 bottle (240 ml)
Carrot: 1 medium sized, cut into small cubes
Bell peppers : half of each a red, yellow and green pepper, cut into cubes
Corn kernels: frozen or canned, 1 cup
Green onions: 1 stalk, chopped fine
Cilantro: 1 Tbsp, chopped fine
Wash the rice 3-4 times and let it soak in water for 20-30 minutes. Drain the water and let the rice dry.
While the rice is soaking, cut the vegetables and bring a pan with a heavy bottom and lid to heat. Add 1-2 spoons of canola or sunflower oil and throw in the chopped onions and garlic. Cook about 2-3 minutes.
Add the carrot, stir, and add cumin and cayenne/chilli powder, cooking for a few seconds while ensuring not to burn it. Tip in the rice and gently stir it around until all the grains are coated with the oil and spices, taking care not to break the rice. After about 2 minutes, add the tomatoes in the juice, and mix well.
When everything is combined, pour in the chicken broth and bring it to a boil. Check for seasoning and add half to one teaspoon of salt depending on taste. Turn the heat down to low, close the lid, and let it cook on a low flame for 10-12 minutes.
Halfway through the cooking time, open the lid and add the bell peppers and corn. Gently mix to ensure nothing is sticking to the bottom.
Continue cooking for the remaining 5-6 minutes and then turn off the heat. Don't lift the lid yet, but let the steam continue cooking the rice for a few more minutes.
To serve, add the chopped green onions, cilantro, and a lime wedge. Enjoy on its own or stay tuned for part 2 to see how to construct the bowl!