Fluffy, beautifully seasoned Mexican Red Rice! With a whisper of coriander / cilantro fragrance and delicate tomato flavour, this Mexican rice staple is so tasty you can eat it plain.
Never be disappointed by gluggy, mushy, bland Mexican Rice again!
Red Mexican Rice – an essential Mexican side!
2 years ago today, I was in Oaxaca, arguably the food capital of Mexico and an ideal place to watch the festivities of Day of the Dead, an annual multi-day holiday during which family and friends gather to pray and celebrate the life of those who have passed. It’s colourful, it’s joyous, there’s a seemingly endless stream of parades that weave through the streets.
It’s a bustle of energy, cemeteries come alive with parties once the sun sets, the town squares are packed with stalls and restaurants serve special festive foods.
So today, in honour of this annual Mexican holiday, I’m sharing an essential Mexican staple – Arroz Rojo. Mexican Red Rice. 🙂
Fluffy, perfectly seasoned Mexican Red Rice
A good Mexican red rice should be fluffy and tasty enough to eat plain. Honestly, try some straight out of the pot and tell me if you agree.
But to be sensible and round out a meal, I like to use it on a loaded Mexican plate of goodness, just like what you get at Mexican restaurants (particularly in the States). Like piling on Pork Carnitas, steamed corn, and a Pico de Gallo. Few wedges of lime, sprinkle of fresh coriander / cilantro and dig in.
Or use it to stuff into Burritos. Now, I must confess in the burritos pictured below, I just used plain rice! The beef in these burritos stained the rice red. 🙂 (PS These are freezer friendly, they are brilliant standby meals).
If you’ve ever been disappointed by a Mexican Red Rice recipe before, chances are that the liquid to rice ratio was off (anything more than 2 cups = soggy, mushy rice), it lacked seasoning because it wasn’t cooked in broth or it used too much tomato paste / puree which makes the liquid too thick so the rice doesn’t cook evenly = soggy gluggy mess.
It’s not hard. It’s just about getting the ratios right.
Real deal Arroz Rojo is made with pureed fresh tomatoes, sometimes with tomato bouillon cube (I haven’t seen that here). One day I’ll share that with you, but it does require more effort, and super ripe, intensely tomatoey tomatoes to have the same effect as using a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste.
Truly great tomatoes are hard to come by in ordinary grocery stores. Tomato paste is far easier – and it does the job great. 🙂
Serve this Mexican Red Rice with all things Mexican!! – Nagi x
Mexican Rice recipe
Watch how to make it
Mexican Red Rice
- 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves , minced
- 1/2 small white onion , finely chopped
- 1 cup long grain white rice , uncooked (Note 1)
- 1 3/4 cups / 435 ml chicken or vegetable broth (Note 2)
- 2 1/2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 serrano or jalapeno pepper , whole (optional)
- 1 sprig coriander / cilantro
- Finely chopped coriander / cilantro leaves
- Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic, stir briefly, then add onion. Cook for 4 - 5 minutes until translucent (not browned / golden).
- Add rice, broth, salt and tomato paste. Stir until tomato paste is dissolved.
- Plonk in jalapeno and coriander. Cover, bring to simmer, then lower heat to low so the water is simmering gently.
- Cook for 15 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed (tilt pot to check).
- Remove from heat, leave lid on and rest for 10 minutes (KEY STEP). The residual liquid on the surface of the rice will get absorbed and rice will go from sticky to fluffy.
- Fluff with fork then serve! (Optional: garnish with extra coriander)
LIFE OF DOZER
This is Geoff, the homeless man who I take hot meals to who you’ve been hearing about for years. His car is his home, and he has special permission from the Council to stay at the dog park. He tells the worst jokes (?), he seems to know everyone – and their dogs – by name and we always joke that he has the best backyard in the northern beaches: barrel gun views over the beautiful Pittwater waterway.
He’s a valuable member of our community, and looks after the dog park so well for us. Bayview would not be the same without him and his little companion, Cleo.
And there’s Dozer, begging for some of the hot meal I just gave Geoff. Shame on you. Shame on you!