What is Mexican rice?
Mexican rice, also known as Spanish rice or arroz rojo, is a vibrant and flavorful dish that is a staple in Mexican cuisine. It consists of rice cooked in a seasoned tomato-based broth with ingredients like onions, tomatoes, and spices. This dish is known for its aromatic fragrance, rich taste, and ability to complement a variety of flavors. It can be customized with vegetables and protein additions like chicken or beans, making it versatile and adaptable to individual preferences. Mexican rice is a beloved side dish or satisfying main course that adds a burst of color and flavor to meals.
Mexican rice has a long-standing tradition in Mexican cooking, although its exact origins are unclear. It is often served alongside popular Mexican dishes like enchiladas and tacos. The dish is affordable and budget-friendly, making it a popular choice for home cooks and families. With its simplicity and the ability to incorporate different ingredients, Mexican rice offers a delicious and satisfying option that brings a taste of Mexico to the table.
Do you have a diet restriction?
This Mexican rice recipe is:
- Gluten Free
- Dairy Free
- Nut Free
- Low Fat
- Syn Free
- Low Fodmap
- Low GI
All slimming world related info is gathered from various internet sources. Syn values may be incorrect or outdated. If you see one is wrong, please let me know so I can update the information!
What makes this mexican rice recipe budget friendly?
In my ongoing series of budget recipes, I strive to offer healthy and nutritious options to those facing financial constraints. By utilizing ingredients from the ASDA Just Essentials range, such as long grain rice and mixed frozen vegetables, we bring you a satisfying meal that costs a mere 28p per portion. Additionally, we provide the option to enhance this recipe by incorporating chicken for an extra 80p per portion or beans for 62p per portion, allowing for flexibility based on individual preferences and dietary needs. With just a handful of affordable ingredients, we’ll show you how to transform simple components into a flavorful, filling dish that won’t strain your wallet.
Step 1: Onions!
Dice and fry the onion in a large saucepan with a well-fitting lid until soft and transparent. This process usually takes around 5 minutes, allowing the onion to release its sweet aroma and impart a delicate flavor to the rice. Heat the saucepan over medium heat, add a splash of cooking oil (optional: If you follow an oil-free diet you can omit this as normal) and toss in the diced onion. Stir occasionally to ensure even cooking and prevent the onion from browning too quickly. As the onion softens, its natural sugars caramelize, adding a subtle sweetness to the overall dish.
Step 2: Spices!
Add in the mild or hot chili powder (according to your preference) and continue frying for another minute. This step allows the spices to bloom and infuse their distinct taste into the dish, enhancing the overall flavor profile. Sprinkle the chili powder over the onion in the saucepan and stir it in thoroughly. The heat of the pan activates the spices, unlocking their aromatic compounds and intensifying their flavors. Whether you opt for mild or hot chili powder, this step adds a characteristic warmth and depth to the Mexican rice.
Step 3: Tomatoes!
Incorporate the tin of chopped tomatoes and cover the saucepan with the lid. Allow the mixture to cook for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until the tomatoes have thickened, creating a rich, flavorful base for the rice. Pour the tin of chopped tomatoes into the saucepan, ensuring that you include all the juices. Stir well to combine the tomatoes with the onion and spices. Cover the saucepan with the lid, trapping the steam and allowing the tomatoes to break down and thicken. The heat slowly reduces the liquid, intensifying the flavors and creating a luscious tomato base for the rice.
Step 4: Cook the rice
Add in the long grain rice, mixed vegetables, vegetable stock cubes, and water. Stir all the ingredients well before replacing the lid. Cooking the rice over medium heat for approximately 10 minutes will ensure that the grains become soft and absorb the flavors of the aromatic ingredients, while any excess water evaporates. Pour the long grain rice into the saucepan, followed by the mixed vegetables. Crumble the vegetable stock cubes over the rice and vegetables, distributing the flavors evenly. Add water, ensuring that it covers the rice by about an inch. Stir the mixture thoroughly to combine all the ingredients and dissolve the stock cubes. Place the lid back on the saucepan to retain the steam and moisture. Allow the rice to simmer gently for around 10 minutes, or until the rice is tender and has absorbed the liquid, while still retaining a slight bite.
Step 5: Optional extras
If you choose to include chicken or beans in your Mexican rice, it’s best to cook them separately and add them in at the end. This step ensures that the protein components are cooked to perfection while preserving their individual textures and flavors. Cook the chicken or beans according to your preference—grill, bake, or pan-fry the chicken until fully cooked, or warm up the beans on the stovetop or in the microwave. Once the rice is ready, incorporate the cooked chicken or beans into the saucepan and gently fold them into the rice mixture. This way, they will infuse the rice with their flavors without becoming overcooked or mushy, adding an extra element of taste and texture to your Mexican rice.
Mexican rice is a versatile dish that can be enjoyed as a satisfying main course or as a side dish to complement your favorite Mexican-inspired meal. Serve it alongside succulent grilled chicken, tender braised beef, or flavorful grilled vegetables for a complete and well-balanced dinner. For an extra burst of freshness, garnish with chopped cilantro and squeeze a bit of lime juice over the rice before serving. Don’t forget to pair it with a side of creamy guacamole, tangy salsa, or cooling sour cream to enhance the overall experience.
Can I substitute long grain rice for other rices?
You can use any type of rice you have to hand for this recipe although shorter grains like sushi rice and arborio rice will give a more risotte-esque feel. The rice suggested is based purely on the low cost of 55p per kg.
Can I use fresh vegetables instead of frozen?
Of course! As above, the ASDA Jusr Essentials frozen vegetables suggested are just the cheapest option at 85p per kg.
Can I make this recipe ahead of time?
Yes, you can prepare Mexican rice in advance and reheat it when ready to serve. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. Reheat gently on the stovetop or in the microwave, adding a splash of water if needed. I love to make a big batch of this rice and add it to my lunches throughout the week.
With its enticing flavors, vibrant colors, and budget-friendly nature, Mexican rice is a true crowd-pleaser that brings a taste of Mexico to your table without straining your finances. By utilizing affordable ingredients from the ASDA Just Essentials range, this recipe allows you to enjoy a hearty and satisfying meal while keeping costs down. So why not give it a try? Gather your ingredients, follow the simple steps, and savor the delightful flavors of this Mexican-inspired rice dish that’s as easy on your taste buds as it is on your wallet.
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