Saturday, February 7, 2009

Arroz Rojo Mexicano (Mexican Red Rice)

I'm re-posting this I had this in my blog before but it had no pictures

Mexican rice in Mexico is known as "Arroz Rojo" (literally red rice) or "Sopa de Arroz" (soup of rice, it doesn't make sense and I have no idea how other name for it came to be since this isn't a soup in any way)

Mexican rice. Pretty common, most people know what it is. This is my mom's recipe and it is better than any other Mexican cooks rice.

Some people say it's bland that's probably because they don't know how to make it or had it from a bad cook.

Most home cooks add some chopped carrots and peas. For a beautiful color and a nice sweet bite here and there.

Those are optional but I think it makes a big difference and is nice presentation
It's CRITICAL not to skimp on the sodium here.

-1 1/2 cup rice (rinsed well and drained of most water remove as much water as possible you'll see why later even put it through a fine strainer)
-water(depends on the brand of rice you use regular long-grain white rice use 1 1/2 cups per 1 cup trust me, do the math for the 1/2 cup in this recipe I think it's like for the 1/2 cup it's 3/4's water?)
-1/2 of chopped onion minced
-2 garlic clove minced
-1 8oz can tomato sauce (or 2 large ripe tomatoes finely chopped)
-2/3 cup chopped squared carrots (optional)
-2/3 cup sweet peas (optional)
-2 teaspoonfuls chicken bouillon
-1 teaspoon ground cumin
-salt to taste (the water should be salty like the ocean)
-2 bay leaves (optional)
-Cooking oil
-1/2 a bunch of cilantro leaves minced to garnish (optional)

(1)Before you start bring water to a boil in a separate pot then turn it off.

(2)Heat a GENEROUS (notice the emphasis on generous) amount of cooking oil heat it on medium low. (don't worry, after teh rice is toasted we are going to drain most of the excess oil)

(3)Add the rice and toast it until a strong golden brown. Stir constantly it may take 5 minutes or longer but if you don't stir it wont brown evenly and clump up BE PATIENT

(4)Add the onion and sautee until translucent then add garlic until fragrant.

(5)Stir in tomato sauce stir well, then add water.

(6)Add the bouillon and cumin and carrots and peas.

(7)Bring to a boil and add bay leaves cover to cook for about 30 minutes on low.

(8)Open to check if cooked, taste it. Check if theres any water left on the bottom. At this point add cilantro over the top.

(9)Turn of heat and cover for 5 minutes to let it fully poof more.

(10)DON'T FLUFF WITH A FORK! (for this dish my mom just thinks you shouldn't like I guess in Mexican culture if you fluff the whole pan of Mexican Rice shouldn't be fluffed because she say's it looks "manociado" which would translate to "touched to much" like messy leftovers? I don't know it's her idea) the reason in the picture a huge chunk is missing is because my little sister had taken a big plate before I was able to take a picture.

(11)Your done, this can be used as a side for anything, good with some grilled meats, refried beans, hot sauces or pico de gallo, etc.

If you where interested in teh Mexican Red Rice you may be interested in the:

Mexican "Green Rice"

Papas Con Chorizo (Mexican Potatoes and Sausage)

The Mexican version of Potatoes and Sausage, this uses a raw pork sausage called "Chorizo Mexicano" (to Mexicans it's just known as "Chorizo") I'm not sure what it's seasoned with.

Potatoes are cubed, fried until golden, drained, and tossed in a flavorful sautee of garlic, onion, chili pepper, tomato, crumbled cooked Mexican chorizo, salt and pepper. Very simple.

This recipe can also be made with Mexican pork longaniza which is simply called "Longaniza de Puerco" it's a type of sausage that is fresh, and can be removed from casing and crumbled I am not sure what it is seasoned with but I believe it has dried "Chile California" maybe cumin, allspice, pepper, etc. not so sure.


The difference between Mexican Chorizo and the Longaniza is that Mexican pork Chorizo is more pale, and very very fresh, it also has a higher fat content in comparison to the longaniza. (I'm speaking from what I have observed)

Mexican Chorizo get's a bad reputation for being "overly" greasy, but I must say it really depends what brand you buy, and where you buy it, the one I buy is from "Vallarta" (a chain of of stores that sells mostly Latin, Central, and South American products, it cater's mostly to Mexicans) at that store I can find the chorizo fresh, it's not branded I don't know if they make it on site but they have these huge ropes they cut off of when you ask for Chorizo at the deli & creamerie within the store.

A lot of the pre-packaged brands are kinda gross to me, they are toooo greasy, runny, fall apart easily etc. and overly salted, and have a weird almost rediculously artificial red color, if you are using a pre-packaged one that is like that, be sure that when you fry it in the oil to drain some of the fat.
-6 regular brown potatoes (peeled and cut into cubes)
-2-3 medium sized Mexican Chorizos about 1 lbs. (casing removed, crumbled)

-1 onion finely chopped
-1 green chili pepper such as Jalapeño or Serrano peppers minced
-6 cloves of garlic finely minced (preferably through a garlic press)
-2 medium round tomatoes or 3 roma tomatoes finely chopped
-salt to taste
-ground black pepper to taste
-1/2 a bunch or more of finely minced or chopped cilantro leaves (cleaned)
-cooking oil (something with a high smoking point, a neutral flavored oil, I use canola for deep-frying, and high heat cooking)

(1)Heat oil on medium high heat, let it heat for like 5 minutes. Make sure to enough oil to pan-fry the cubed potatoes, add the potatoes, and let them fry for about 15-20 minutes until golden, stirring and folding every 5-8 or more minutes, just check it occasionally.

(2)While that's cooking (the potatoes) take the casing off the chorizo, add to a pan on medium high heat, and crumble and let brown, depending on the chorizo you may need or not need to add a little oil. Let it brown and cook through (remember this is a raw sausage it neeeds to be cooked unless you wanna risk food poisoning)

(3)So meanwhile the potatoes are frying, and the chorizo is cooking down, take advantage and chop up the onions, garlic, chili pepper, and tomatoes.

(4)When the chorizo is browning add the onions and chili pepper and let them cook until they are translucent about 5 minutes or more, add garlic sautee like 1-2 minutes until fragrant, add salt and pepper and cook down another minute.

(5)While you where sauteeing the potatoes should've been done, remove them, set them on a plate or whatever with paper towels and lightly salt them.

(6)Add the cubed fried potatoes to the sautee, mix well and cook for a little bit not long just enough to incorporate everything, taste for salt.

(7)Turn off heat and garnish with cilantro.

*You can serve this as a side with whatever you want, it can replace the meat and vegetable dishes in a meal since it has potatoes and sausage, serving this with a meat dish would be to heavy. (of course I am no authority in anything, these are just suggestions you don't need to listen to me)

*You can serve it with tortillas, a hot sauce if desired,seasoned refried beans or boiled beans and that's it. It can even be used as a filling for tacos.

*If having for breakfast, you can have it with eggs prepared however you want or over-easy. You can even make it for breakfast and add beaten eggs to it to make a potato, sausage, egg type scramble

*When I had this I just had it with Mexican rice, and I like to put some unsalted Mexican cream on my Mexican rice, you can use regular sour cream if unsalted Mexican cream is not available.