Recipe: Mexican Rice

Rice is a staple on almost every continent on Earth. Only corn and wheat produce larger crops. As near as we can tell, rice has been a part of human cuisine from the very beginning. It can grow almost anywhere, even on mountain sides. It grows best in places with low labor costs and lots of rain, both of which are needed for good cultivation.

There are hundreds of varieties of rice, and even some that are not really rice but types of grass seed. Rice is usually divided into three basic types defined by the length of the grains. In addition, there is the division between the common white rice we all know and brown rice, often touted for its nutritional benefits. The only difference is that brown rice has not had the outer hull removed. White rice is more popular because it is easier and faster to cook and lasts longer. This is the same reason wheat flour is usually white rather than whole. The germ part of the grain spoils after just a few months.

Long grain white rice is what of us think of when we think of rice. It is popular because the starches inside the grain tend to remain intact, allowing the rice to remain separate and fluffy rather than sticky and mushy. Cooking rice is relatively easy, but it does take practice to get it right. That makes instant and parboiled rice more popular by beginning chefs. While parboiling actually improves the nutritional content of the rice without affecting the flavor, instant rices usually have no flavor and a bad texture because they are fully cooked and then dried.

Cooking rice in oil before boiling or steaming will reduce the cooking time and makes it less sticky. That’s the method used in this recipe for Mexican Rice. It’s not the same as Spanish rice and makes a great side dish for more than just Mexican dishes. This is an authentic version.

Mexican Rice

Prep Time: 5 Min.,  Cook Time: 25 Min., Ready In: 30 Min., Makes 6 servings.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup long grain white rice
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 fresh jalapeno pepper, chopped
  • 1 tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cube chicken bouillon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic, halved

Directions

  1. In a medium sauce pan, cook rice in oil over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Pour in chicken broth, and bring to a boil. Stir in onion, green pepper, jalapeno, and diced tomato. Season with bouillon cube, salt and pepper, cumin, cilantro, and garlic. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook for 20 minutes.

Nutritional Information Per Serving

Calories: 154, Total Fat: 2.7g., Cholesterol: < 1mg.

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