Every Mexican family has their own version of “Mom’s Rice”. On most days, the rice was prepared with a freshly blended tomato sauce, onions, 1 whole serrano pepper and minimal spices. I really don’t remember a day when it was not perfect. Well, at least in my eyes it was always perfect.
This Monday morning after Easter, I woke up with Mom on my mind. This happens after every major holiday. The memories of my childhood come flooding back in. And with the constant reminders on social media, it’s hard to escape the feelings of nostalgia. I have mentioned before that out of all of my Mom’s recipes, her Mexican-style rice recipe, holds a special place in my heart.
There are a few variations to her recipe. It was always prepared with a white long grain rice. She never measured any ingredients, which still amazes me. Most times she would add frozen peas or carrots if available. In a pinch she would use a splash of canned tomato sauce instead of freshly blended. While I was visiting my Tia(aunt) in Monterrey, she prepared her version of red rice by adding a cube of caldo de pollo con tomate (chicken/tomato flavored bouillon). It’s a combination of chicken and tomato bouillon and gives the rice a lighter red color. It has a distinct flavor, that I have to admit I have grown to like. Although I must say that the best recipes are the ones prepared with homemade broth when available. Read through the whole post for extra tips and troubleshooting, lol! It’s good to know, especially when preparing rice from fresh ingredients for the first time. This is my version of Mexican Rice.
The pictures rice above, I only used fresh blended tomatoes, no sauce or tomato bouillon. It yields a lighter colored rice.
If you prefer a rice richer in red color, you could add a splash of tomato sauce when you add the freshly blended tomatoes.
Add more flavor, texture and color with a mix of vegetables like carrots, peas and corn!
Simple Mexican-Style Rice(Arroz Mexicano)
- 3 tbsps Avocado or Olive oil
- 1/4 of a white onion left in large pieces
- 1 serrano pepper left whole but sometimes I slice it open
- 1 cup of long-grain rice
- 2 cups water or low sodium chicken broth
- 2 1/2 teaspoons tomato/chicken bouillon granules
- 4 oz roma tomatoes(1 small) roughly chopped
- 1 clove of garlic
- Pinch of Mexican oregano optional
- Salt to taste
- Small handful of cilantro optional
- 1 cup of frozen peas and carrots mixed defrosted optional
- In a skillet at medium heat, add the oil, onion and serrano pepper. Once oil onion and serrano beome aromatic, pour in the rice. Cook, stirring often, until the rice becomes toasted, lightly brown and aromatic.
- While the rice toast, on another burner, add the water(or broth) and bouillon. Heat on medium and stir just to dissolve the bouillon. Do not let it boil.
- To the blender, add the tomato, garlic and oregano(if adding). Blend until smooth. Once the rice is toasted, add the blended tomato sauce from blender. Gently stir to combine and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the sauce reduces and becomes thick.
- Carefully pour in the warm broth reserved on the back burner. Gently even out the rice in the skillet. Taste for salt. Cover and lower the heat to low. Set timer for 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, uncover the rice and add the peas and carrots in an even layer on top. Cover and cook for 5 more minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes.
- At this time, you can remove the large pieces of onion and cilantro. Fluff the rice with a fork stirring from the outer edges in to combine everything. Keep covered until ready to serve.