Monday, February 6, 2012

Mexican Rice

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I almost called this post "Mexican Rice. FINALLY!" because it is a recipe that took me forever to get right. For years (no joke) I tried recipes I found in books and online, and I even tried coming up with my own recipe, but there was always something wrong with the finished rice: it was smooshy, or not cooked enough, or not enough get the idea.

I was finally saved by a recipe in an issue of Cook's Country, not by the ingredient list, but by part of the process. I tried the recipe as it was written (hoping that maybe it would be the one) and had some of the same problems as always: the rice wasn't cooked all the way through and I thought the flavor was kind of bland. But part of the process was a total "Ah-hah!" moment for me. The recipe called for a can of tomatoes, processed in the food processor until smooth, to be used as part of the liquid. Genius! So I took my latest version of my recipe (from over a year ago, since I'd all but given up on ever developing a good recipe) and adapted it to use the pureed tomatoes. It took me several tries, but I finally have an amazing, rice-cooked-all-the-way, loaded-with-flavor, perfect-as-a-side-dish Mexican rice.

Now, about soaking the rice. Remember how I tried to find a way to get regular white rice to cook right without having to soak it first, and I finally gave in because it was the only way to get consistent, amazing results? Click here if you forgot about all that craziness. I know it's a pain, but it really is the only way my rice turns out.

Mexican Rice
printable recipe

1 1/2 cups long grain white rice
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes with green chiles (in tomato puree)
1 small onion, diced
1 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro

1. Put the rice in a fine mesh strainer and rinse until the water runs clear. Put the rice in a medium pot, cover with cold water by one inch, and soak for 20 minutes. Drain the rice well using the strainer and return to the pot.

2. Put the canned tomatoes in a food processor fitted with a metal blade and process until smooth. Add the tomato puree, onion, chicken broth, cumin, oregano, and salt to the rice.

3. Bring the rice mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to low, cover, and simmer 25-30 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed. Remove from the heat and let sit 5-10 minutes. Fluff gently with chopsticks (my favorite rice tool) or two forks, and gently stir in cilantro.

Makes about 4 cups rice.


  1. going to try your recipe, I too have had a difficult time trying to find a good recipe. I never tried soaking the rice. I have a Sony Rice Cooker but that seems to over cook the rices I have tried. Do you have a specific rice you use?

    1. I've tried several rice cookers over the years and none of them really worked well :( A pot with a heavy bottom (for even heating) works best for me. For a basic white rice and for this recipe I use a regular long-grain rice, usually a store brand because it costs less. Thanks for your comment, and good luck! I'd love to know how it works out for you :)

  2. Thanks for doing your homework, so that we can all benefit:) Looks tasty!


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