Spanish rice

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Spanish rice is a perfect complement to many Mexican dishes. This fluffy long-profit rice is browned with a little fist oil and then cooked in a tomato-flavored broth with tomato, onion, and garlic. Finish the rice with some freshly chopped coriander and serve with your favorite enchiladas, tacos, and burritos.

Try this Spanish rice with our beef enchiladas or pork carnitas.

Spanish rice, also known as Mexican rice

SPANISH RICE

Spanish rice is also known as Mexican rice and is not actually a Spanish recipe at all. Spanish rice-based dishes, like paella, actually feature saffron rice and not tomato-based. Tomato-based rice is a Mexican way of cooking rice.

My enchiladas always feel so empty with no Spanish rice on the side. It really is a perfect complement to enchiladas with tomato sauce, fajitas, tacos and much more. You can even take your burritos to a higher level and use this tomato rice instead of the normal white rice.

This rice is also very easy to prepare, much easier than many people suppose. I have had my friend like me for a recipe and in the second one that I say "brown rice first before adding the broth and water", they review and say that it is too much work. But, it really isn't! The entire process of making this rice will take approximately 40 minutes and most of it is just letting the rice cook.

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Fry the rice first before boiling it

Why do I need to fry rice before boiling?

So, to answer several of my friends who ask me this question and in anticipation of many of my readers, I will answer it now.

There are two main reasons to fry rice first, and that is the taste and texture. Browning the rice first in a pan with a little oil will help keep the rice as individual grains and not become mushy. Frying it first will help prevent the rice from sticking while simmering.

As the rice browns, you will begin to notice a nutty aroma, which will translate into how the rice will taste. This will add another layer of flavor to the entire dish.

Add liquid and remaining ingredients to rice once it begins to brown

Why was my Spanish rice soft?

Another reason that many people avoid making this rice dish is because it can become mushy. It happened to me in the past, before I knew how to prevent it. I have made all the mistakes people make when cooking Spanish rice.

Make sure that take the extra step of browning the rice in a frying pan before cooking it in liquid. Preheat the pan and oil first, then add the rice and mix to coat all the grains with oil. Then fry it over medium heat until it begins to brown. (After it starts to brown, it will start adding other ingredients.)

One thing that I noticed works better too is do not move the rice from one pan to another. I make sure to use a large deep skillet to fry the rice and then add the liquid directly to the same skillet. Make sure you have a lid that fits that pan because the pan will need to be covered with a lid.

Don't disturb the rice once you add the liquid! This is a big one. Do not stir or open the lid until the rice has absorbed all the liquid. After adding the liquid and spices, stir 1 time to mix, cover the pan with the lid, lower the heat and do not touch until the liquid is absorbed. That will take about 20 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat, remove the lid and you can fluff it up with a fork and serve.

Grind the cooked rice and add the coriander

ADDITIONAL FLAVORS ADD TO SPANISH RICE

Make your Spanish rice with a spicy kick by adding a little diced jalapeƱo peppers with onion and tomato. The spice level can be adjusted with older or younger jalapeƱos. Older jalapeƱos are much hotter than younger ones. You can also leave jalapeƱo seeds for more spices.

You also can add corn and black beans when adding onions and tomatoes. Adding corn and beans will be great if you make a bowl of chicken and Spanish rice. Simply add the cooked chicken over the rice and serve with sour cream and guacamole.

Try adding other vegetables like chopped peppers at the same time as onions and tomatoes as well.

Squeeze some fresh lime juice to cooked rice when mixed with coriander to add beautiful citrus flavors.

Spanish rice

HOW TO HEAT THE SPANISH RICE

The worst part of having leftover rice in the refrigerator is that it dries because it loses a lot of moisture. So when reheating the rice it is important to add back some moisture.

Reheat rice in the microwave

You can reheat the rice in the microwave quickly and easily. Place the leftover rice in a bowl and add a couple tablespoons of chicken stock or water to the rice. The amount of water will depend on the amount of rice you are reheating.

Cover the bowl with a microwave lid or you can place another bowl upside down on top of the rice bowl. Reheat it for about a minute. The exact time will vary depending on the amount of rice.

Reheat rice in a pan

You can also reheat the rice in a saucepan or small skillet. Add a little oil to the pan if necessary (you probably won't need any oil if you use a non-stick pan).

Add leftover rice and a couple tablespoons of water and mix. The amount of water will depend on the amount of rice you are reheating. Cover the pan with a lid and allow it to heat over medium-low heat.

Spanish rice is a perfect complement to many Mexican dishes.

SOME MORE RECIPES TO TRY

Mexican Street Corn Salad

Vegetables with cheese Enchiladas

Crock Pot Salsa Chicken

Red beans and rice

Slow Cooker Charro Beans

Mexican street corn

Spanish rice is an excellent tomato-based rice. Also called Mexican rice

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Garrison Course

Mexican Kitchen

Keyword Mexican rice, rice, Spanish rice, arroz con tomate

Preparation time 5 minutes

Cook time 30 minutes

Total time 35 minutes

Servings 6

Calories 235 kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked long grain rice
  • 2 tablespoons of canola oil
  • 1/2 cup diced yellow or red onion
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 3 pressed garlic cloves
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander

Instructions

  1. Preheat the pan and oil first, then add the rice and mix to coat all the grains with oil.

  2. Fry the rice over medium heat until it begins to brown. Stir occasionally.

  3. When the rice begins to turn brown, add the onion, tomato, and garlic. Stir and cook for a couple of minutes more.

  4. Raise the heat to medium-high and add water, chicken stock, tomato sauce, cumin, and salt. Slowly stir to mix and simmer.

  5. As soon as it starts to simmer, cover the pan with a lid and turn the heat down to low.

  6. Let the rice cook. Do not stir or open the lid until the rice has absorbed all the liquid. This will take about 20 minutes.

  7. Once the rice has absorbed the liquid, remove the pan from the heat and remove the lid. Grind the rice with a fork and add the coriander.

Recipe Notes

Spanish rice (also called Mexican rice)

Originally published in Latin Recipes on September 15, 2011. Updated on April 30, 2019.

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