Arroz a la Mexicana (also known as Arroz Mexicano or Arroz Rojo) is the tomato-flavored rice that is commonly served with just about every Mexican meal in this country, and quite frequently in Mexico as well. It is also known as Spanish Rice, though I suspect that is more of a 1950s era American misnomer.
I made an "intuitive" version of this for years, but it wasn't always up to par. So recently I studied a bunch of recipes and picked the best part of each to create this one. It is very simple, but paying attention to a few details makes it especially delicious.
I think you will find that having this basic preparation in your repertoire will round out many delicious meals, and it makes great leftovers the next day. Cold for breakfast, if you are like me.
Much like risotto or paella, the rice is fried in oil before any liquid is added. Unlike those dishes, the frying time is extended to about 7-10 minutes, allowing it brown slightly. I haven't found that it turns out so well in a rice cooker, so I prefer to do it on the stovetop.
The rice itself can be medium grain or long grain according to your preference. I like medium. It can't be a converted, par-cooked rice.
My version of this recipe calls for canned tomato puree and frozen peas, because I like to make it all year. If you are making this when either ingredient is seasonal, by all means feel free to use them fresh. For tomato, you would grate, discard the excess skin, it and then fry briefly in oil to remove excess liquid.
Some people also like carrots, but I'm not a fan.
Arroz a la Mexicana (aka Arroz Mexicano or Arroz Rojo or Spanish Rice)
Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 cups medium grain rice
- 3/4 cup finely diced white onion
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 cup tomato puree
- 2 1/4 cups boiling water
- 2 teaspoons vegetarian broth powder (Seitenbacher is my favorite brand; optional, but add 1 1/2 teaspoons salt if not using)
- 1 cup defrosted but uncooked frozen peas
- Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the oil, rice, and onion and fry for 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the rice is light brown.
- Add the garlic and stir briefly.
- Add the tomato puree, water, and broth powder or salt and stir. Reduce heat to find a light simmer, and then cover the pot.
- Cook for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let stand 10 minutes without disturbing.
- Fluff the rice with a fork, mixing in the peas at the same time.