Mexican rice is served with many Tex-Mex dishes, although rice is not native to Mexico. Some recipes include tomato paste with the rice, while other include chiles and onions. The term “Mexican rice” is cited in print from about 1900.
Mexican Rice Recipes
The Mexican rice (as in rice and beans) served in Mexican restaurants in the U.S. is not representative of the traditional dishes of Mexico. Read on to learn about the variations and heritage of this humble grain.
History Of Rice In Mexico
Rice is not a New World food. Rice was introduced to Mexican via the Philippines, then transported to Acapulco in the famous ship Nao de China (Diana Kennedy, Art of Mexican Cooking).
The Spaniards later found the lush tropical climate of Veracruz region of Mexico to be a perfect growing ground for rice. From there it grew to culinary prominence.
Many Uses of Rice In Mexican Cooking
Rice is traditionally served as the second course of the midday meal. It may be served turned out of a mold to be eaten with beans or with fish. The serving of “rice and beans” next to each other on a dinner plate is not at all typical in Mexico.
Rice is not only reserved as a savory dish but it is also used in desserts, cakes, vegetable puddings, tamales, atoles and even the well known rice drink, horchata.
Type Of Rice
The rice most commonly used in Mexico is a long-grain with a fleck of the germ left on. When cooked the rice expands to 4 x’s its volume. The long grain rice found in the U.S. is really not the same. Both Rick Bayless and Zarela Martinez recommend using a medium-grained white rice for best results.
Wikipedia: Mexican Rice
Mexican rice (Español: arroz mexicano), is white rice roasted in a skillet until light brown, then steamed with spices, beef or chicken bullion, also adding carrots, canned tomatoes, and with or without peas. It is used not only as a side dish alongside entrees, but as a major ingredient in burritos.
1 cup of rice
1 1/2 cup water
1 can of tomato sauce
1/3tea spoon lemon pepper
3 tablespoons oil
In medium size cooking pan, heat oil, brown rice, add seasonings. Then add tomato sauce and water. Cook for about 20 to 25 minutes.
1 1/2 c. long grain rice
2 tbsp. butter
3 c. broth
2-3 oz. chopped green chilies (in Mexican food section)
4 oz. cubed Cheddar cheese
In a large covered skillet, saute uncooked rice in butter until rice turns slightly brown. Add broth and chilies. Stir. Cover. Cook until rice is almost done. Stir. Add cheese cubes to top of rice (do not stir). Cover. Cook until rice is done and cheese is melted. Serve with tacos or other Mexican dish.
5 March 1909, Decatur (IL) Review, pg. 5:
A Mexican Rice Dish.
The Mexicans have a queer way of cooking rice. They soak a cupful until it is tender, then try it a few minutes in hot fat, fill the dish with water and let it boil, just reversing the usual process in regard to frying and boiling. Afterward they season the rice with chili peppers and tomatoes chopped together.
25 January 1910, Decatur (IL) Daily Review, pg. 6, col. 7:
Wash and drain half a cup of rice. Put a heaping tablespoonful of butter in a skillet. When hot add a small leek or white onion and fry the mixture until it is golden brown. Almost fill the skillet with vegetable stock and cook twenty minutes, or until the rice is perfectly dry. Serve with tomato sauce.
2 October 1917, Janesville (WI) Daily Gazette, pg. 2, col. 3:
Cook 3/4 cup rice in water until tender. Heat an iron frying pan very hot, add 2 tablespoons butter or other fat, and when melted, add rice, and cook until rice is slightly browned, stirring lightly with a fork. Put in a hot serving dish, pour over it one cup hot tomato sauce, and sprinkle with one-half cup grated cheese, lifting rice with fork, that sauce and cheese may coat each kernel.