Easy Mexican rice?
April 12, 2010 7:21 PM   Subscribe

Is there a recipe for good, easy Mexican rice? Good here equals strong tomato flavor, peas and carrots (I'm not interested in strict authenticity). Bonus points if I can just dump the ingredients in my rice cooker and be done with it.

My favorites have had enough tomato (more?) sauce so that the rice is almost creamy.

In terms of priorities, easy is most important. The effort it takes to make a main dish, and beans, and rice, is just too much for me to do it very often. So if there's something simple, that will go a long way to making sure I actually use it.

Note: I've seen this question, but it's asking for almost exactly the opposite of what I'm looking for. That poster is willing to do a lot of work for something more authentic, with little tomato and no vegetable, and with a more fluffy texture.
posted by kingjoeshmoe to Food & Drink (17 answers total) 41 users marked this as a favorite
This is how I do mine:

Olive oil, lots of garlic, lots of cumin and oregano (a teaspoon or so), a finely chopped onion and a capsicum/bell pepper if you like. Sautee until soft (but not brown). Chuck in a cup of rice and a can of tomatoes or some chopped up fresh tomatoes. Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring well. Chuck in 500ml of Stock (I use vege, but anything would do) stir, cover, and leave on medium heat until the liquid has all gone. Put in beans/lentils/chickpeas at this point, too if you want. Serve with Sour Cream and cheese and black pepper.
posted by Sebmojo at 7:35 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

3 c. dry rice
1 cube tomato bouillion
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. each garlic and onion powder
Handful of frozen corn
Handful of frozen peas
6 c. water

Rice cooker, go.
posted by julie_of_the_jungle at 7:35 PM on April 12, 2010 [4 favorites]

Oh, and cumin, how did I leave that out? Also, tomato bouillon*.
posted by julie_of_the_jungle at 7:36 PM on April 12, 2010

you want easy? perhaps sacreligious? rice, frozen veggies (whatever you want), and salsa - use the salsa and water from the veggies to account for some of the water in your rice maker. experiment with different salsas, but i prefer just straight up pace for this job and then i add seasonings.

if you want "dress it up" after it has cooked in the rice cooker, add some oil to a skillet and let it spend a minute in there to brown up a bit.
posted by nadawi at 7:39 PM on April 12, 2010

don't forget the saffron! ...also, check out the mexican food aisle at the store...i seem to recall flavor packs of rice seasoning...
posted by sexyrobot at 7:45 PM on April 12, 2010

Gah! I know you said it doesn't have to be exactly authentic, but let's at least get you close.
First, you will need to toast the rice in a little bit of oil. When you can start to see the grain in the rice, it's time to add liquid. That means water, tomato (whole tomatoes, tomato puree, or yes, even Knorr tomato/chicken bullion), some garlic powder, some black pepper, and cumin (just a touch! don't murder it). This is also the time to season with a little salt and add any veggies you want. In the long version of this recipe, the garlic, cumin, pepper, and tomato are ground into a paste in a mortar and pestle, but you'll be fine subbing out powdered.
Do you like cilantro? I do, so I usually float a couple of stalks in the liquid to perfume the rice then fish them out later.
Bear in mind that since the rice is already toasted, you will need a little less water than you usually use. I wish I had proportions for you, but I've been eye-balling it so long, I really don't know them.
posted by Gilbert at 8:24 PM on April 12, 2010

What I do is cook rice plain in my cooker, then sautee an onion and a serrano, diced, in olive oil, add fresh salsa, store-bought, and then maybe some fresh cilantro and call it good.

It's very tasty, and easy.
posted by Danf at 8:59 PM on April 12, 2010

Can I piggy-back a dumb question onto this? Well, I will: do you start with already-cooked rice?
posted by k. at 9:02 PM on April 12, 2010

My mom's second gen Mexican-American coworker made it by sauteeing the rice in a little oil, then subbing in a can of El Pato spicy tomato sauce (in the ethnic/Mexican food aisle of any big supermarket) for part of the water. Sometimes she added peas just before putting the lid on to cook.

You said easy, right?
posted by cali at 10:55 PM on April 12, 2010

Would this work with kidney beans?
posted by turgid dahlia at 1:44 AM on April 13, 2010

This recipe for Cuban beans and rice is easy, tomato-y and delicious.
posted by millions of peaches at 3:12 AM on April 13, 2010

hey k.

you start with dry uncoooked rice. the you are trying to impart some of the flavour of the tomatoes and things into the rice itself so definately do not start with cooked rice.
posted by mary8nne at 4:53 AM on April 13, 2010

I just dump a can of diced "Mexican" tomatoes into the rice cooker with a the rice, a little less water than I usually use, frozen veggies, and some chili powder. I also let it cook around halfway and then give it a mighty mixing to prevent all the veggies from ending up on top. For creamier rice, I'll use a medium to short grain rice instead of my standard long grain rice.
posted by advicepig at 6:54 AM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

Thanks all. Marking as best answer the two I'm going to try.
posted by kingjoeshmoe at 8:21 AM on April 13, 2010

this is only tangential, but Roger Ebert is quite a big proselytizer of the idea that you can cook pretty much anything in a rice cooker. Rumor had it that there was a cookbook (well really, it would be a rulebook) in the works, but who knows. i think that rumor came out before he lost his ability to eat.
The article about The Pot.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 8:36 AM on April 13, 2010

I just tried an experiment inspired by this thread:

2 c. brown rice (I'm sure you could use white rice too)
4 c. water
1 can of "diced tomatoes with onion, celery, and bell pepper" (almost all tomatoes with little bits of the other stuff)
1/2 chicken bouillon cube

Cook just like plain rice.

I have no idea if this resembles "authentic" Mexican rice, but it was amazingly delicious for being almost as simple as plain rice.
posted by k. at 4:06 PM on April 15, 2010

And an update. This weekend I made something pretty close to k., using 1 cup rice, adding in 1 small can of diced tomato with onion and jalapeno, a small cube's worth of tomato bouillion, a little cumin, and frozen peas and carrots, tossed into rice cooker. I was very pleased with the result. Exactly what I was looking for. Thanks all!
posted by kingjoeshmoe at 6:30 PM on May 26, 2010

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