Bursting with fabulous flavor, this Easy Mexican Rice is the perfect side to any Mexican entree and is loved by young and old alike!
Scott and I had the most delightful experience last week. A very special friend from years ago came to visit and we had a wonderful 3-day reunion here in the mountains of North Carolina. We hadn't seen our dear friend, Dulce, for 36 years, although we never lost the affection we had for her and her sweet family when they lived across the street from us all those years ago in Raleigh, NC. When we first met, Dulce (originally from Mexico City) and I discovered quickly our mutual love of cooking and she taught me so much about her native cuisine. In addition to catching up after years of being apart, we cooked up a storm this past week. It would be hard to choose a favorite dish but this Mexican Rice is right up there near the top!
A case study
Dulce is one of those master cooks that never has to measure anything, so I had to watch carefully and take into account the amounts of ingredients. I wrote everything down after we made her Mexican Rice and have been testing the recipe numerous times over the past few days. That's not been a problem because this recipe is so delicious I have enjoyed it for breakfast, lunch and dinner!
No fancy ingredients
It's almost shocking how simple this Mexican Rice is to make and yet, how the flavor explodes with each bite. The everyday ingredient list is short; tomato, white onion, garlic, chicken broth, salt, pepper rice and a splash of oil. The fabulous result is way more than the sum of the ingredients!
How to make this Mexican Rice
If you've got 30 minutes you can have a batch of this delicious rice on the table. And much of that 30 minutes is hands-off time, time where the rice simply does its thing so you can do yours! This is how it works:
- Give the rice a good rinse. I like to do this by simply running cold water over the rice in a fine-mesh strainer. I rub the rice a bit with my hand while the water's running to rinse off any extra starch. If you don't have a fine-mesh strainer, you can place the rice in a medium-size bowl and rinse it 3-4 times until the water is fairly clear then drain it really well. The purpose for rinsing the rice is to remove the starch from the outside of each grain. This ensures fluffy rice with separate grains and no sogginess.
- Allow the rice to drain for a few minutes while you prepare the super-easy "sauce". Simply combine tomato (fresh), a piece of onion, two cloves of garlic and ¾ cup of chicken broth in a blender container. Blend until nice and smooth then set aside.
- Heat a splash of oil in a medium-size pot then add the drained rice. Cook for several minutes, stirring occasionally until the rice takes on a pale golden hue.
- Add the blended sauce and cook for 5 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed by the rice. At this point, add another cup of chicken broth, return to a boil, cover the pot and cook for 10 minutes.
- Remove the pot from the heat and set it aside for another 10 minutes to finish cooking on its own. That's it! Get ready to enjoy perfect Mexican Rice! Fluff with a fork before serving and enjoy!
Besides serving this Mexican Rice as is, there are lots of adaptions you can make. Here are a few ideas:
- Add one finely chopped jalapeno pepper before or after cooking.
- Chop up a handful of fresh cilantro and stir it into the rice before serving for fresh flavor and a beautiful presentation.
- Black beans are a delicious addition to Mexican Rice.
- Finely chopped bell pepper is a variety of colors adds lots of flavor and is really pretty for serving.
- An extra tomato, diced fine, is delicious. Just drain well before adding the diced tomato to the rice.
- Half of a white onion, diced small, adds a nice crunch to this Mexican Rice.
- Tiny frozen peas, thawed and drained are a delicious and pretty addition.
- In the late spring and summer months when beautiful, sweet corn is available, add a handful of barely cooked kernels for lots of sweet crunch, fabulous flavor and an enticing presentation.
Dulce's name actually means "sweet" in Spanish and the name fits her perfectly. I think Mexican Rice will become a sweet spot in your recipe arsenal (it already is in mine!) as it goes well with Mexican entrees and makes a delicious side for grilled chicken, pork, salmon, steak... let's just say it goes well with just about anything! And don't be surprised if you find yourself sneaking a bowlful for breakfast, lunch or a snack!
Café Tips for making this Easy Mexican Rice
- I like to use basmati rice for this recipe. Basmati is an aromatic, long, slender grained rice with delicious flavor. You can find basmati rice in most larger grocery stores in the same area as the regular rice. Trader Joe's also carries it at a very reasonable price. If you don't have basmati or can't find it, regular long-grain rice will also work as will jasmine rice.
- This recipe calls for white onion. White onions are often used in Mexican cuisine but don't fret if you don't have or can't find a white onion. A sweet or yellow onion will also do the trick.
- A blender is the only piece of equipment that you'll need for this Mexican Rice recipe. If you don't have a blender, it's a super useful kitchen workhorse. A simple model will work just fine or you can go with a fancier version with lots of other functions.
- Although I generally steer away from regular grocery store tomatoes during the off-season, they are fine for this recipe. Look for the reddest tomatoes you can find and ones that aren't too hard. Plum tomatoes and cherry tomatoes will also work just fine for this Mexican Rice.
- This rice can be made early in the day and stored in the refrigerator. You can either warm it in the microwave at 50% power for 2-4 minutes (stir halfway through) or warm it up the stovetop over low heat. If I'm heating the rice on the stovetop, I like to add a tablespoon or two of water before warming.
Thought for the day:
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- 1 ¼ cups basmati rice
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 10-12 medium cherry tomatoes or one medium tomato
- ¼ medium white onion peeled
- 2 large cloves garlic peeled
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
- 3 tablespoons neutral flavored oil ie - canola, grapeseed, avocado, sunflower, safflower or vegetable
- ¾ cup chicken broth
Place the rice in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse under cold water for 1 minute, rubbing the rice with your fingers while the water runs. If you don’t have a fine-mesh strainer, you can put the rice in a large bowl and rinse 3-4 times, again rubbing the rice with your fingers until the water is clear. Drain the rice well and set aside. (If you don’t have a fine-mesh strainer, drain off as much water as you can then tip the bowl slightly on it’s side and place a folded paper towel in the bowl to absorb any excess water.)
Place the chicken broth, tomato (or cherry tomatoes), onion, garlic, salt and pepper into the container of a blender or food processor. Blend on high speed until nice and smooth 20-60 seconds, depending on the strength of your blender or processor. Set aside.
In a medium-large pot, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the well-drained rice and cook, stirring occasionally until the rice turns a light golden color.
Stand back a bit and add the blender mixture to the pot (it will sputter as you pour it in). Bring the mixture to a low boil and cook, stirring occasionally until most of the liquid has been absorbed, 4-6 minutes (if you tip the pot to the side it will look like a thick sauce).
Add the additional ¾ of chicken broth and stir. Increase the heat and cook until the rice is bubbling all around the edges. Cover tightly, turn the heat to the lowest setting and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and allow it to sit, covered for at least 10 minutes (and up to 20). Fluff with a fork and serve.
This rice can be made in the morning (or even a day or two in advance) and stored in the refrigerator. Rewarm at 50% power for 2-4 minutes in the microwave. If you prefer to warm it on the stovetop, use a medium size pot and add 1-2 tablespoons of water. Stir well and rewarm over very low heat until reaching the desired temp.
See Café Tips above in the post for more detailed instructions and tips to ensure success.
If you prefer to use Metric measurements there is a button in each of our recipes, right above the word “Instructions”. Just click that button to toggle to grams, milliliters, etc. If you ever come across one of our recipes that doesn’t have the Metric conversion (some of the older recipes may not), feel free to leave a comment and I will add it.