Arroz Rojo - Mexican Red Rice

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

We're undeniably Asians and rice is a major food group on its own. And if other cuisines include rice in their culinary traditions, you can bet we are going to embrace it. This Spanish or Mexican rice, arroz rojo, is aptly named from the colour it gets from tomatoes. Some will make it a fire engine red ... yikes! while we prefer a sort of orange hue, not too tomato-ey, preferring instead to let the spices do all the talking.

Long grained rice such as jasmine or basmati are more suited to this dish. It holds up better and produces individual grains of rice, not mushy rice. You can cook it in a heavy bottomed fry pan or take a shortcut and place everything in a rice cooker after everything has been incorporated.

Use this flavourful rice to accompany fajitas, carnitas, to roll into burritos and enchiladas, and to empty the container of refried beans sitting in your fridge. Enjoy!

3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 cups basmati rice, rinsed
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 onion, chopped finely
2 tomatoes, chopped finely
4 cloves of garlic, minced
3 jalapeños, sliced
1 tbsp tomato purée
2 cups vegetable broth
1-1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
2 tbsp lime juice
Lime wedges, to serve

1. In a large sauté pan, heat the oil until it shimmers, then add the cumin seeds.
2. When it starts to sizzle, add the rice and cook until the rice turns golden, about 5-6 minutes.
3. Reduce the heat and add the onions, tomatoes, garlic, and jalapeños, then cook a further 2-3 minutes.
4. Add the tomato purée along with the broth and bring to a soft boil.

5. At this point you can reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, or transfer to a rice cooker, which is what I did.
6. When the rice is done, fluff it up with a fork, working in the cilantro and the lime juice in the process.
7. Serve with lime wedges on the side.

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