Learn all the tricks and tips to make your own Arroz a la Mexicana

When talking about culture, gastronomy, traditions, and costumes, Mexico has it all. This colorful and vibrant country is filled with people proud of their cultural heritage and they make sure everyone everywhere knows why.

One of the most attractive features of Mexican culture is definitely its food. Mexican cuisine is an exhibition of the cultural blending of the Spanish, African and Prehispanic American culinary traditions that took place when colonizers from Spain brought their ingredients and cooking techniques to this Caribbean country.

Rice: an essential part of the Mexicans' diet

Of all the ingredients that came with the conquest, one that Mexicans learned to live and create a whole bunch of new dishes with is rice. For hundreds of years, rice has been one of the most consumed cereals in the country, right behind corn, Mexicans’ favorite.

Using their own cooking techniques and borrowing some others from other cultures, people in Mexico have come up with so many rice-based dishes, all of them equally tasty and delicious. You can find rice recipes with everything! From a bowl of slightly seasoned white rice to much more elaborate dishes with all kinds of exotic ingredients.

Ways to make rice in Mexico

Mexican culture is diverse and you can notice that in the different ways they can come up with to prepare the same ingredient. Such is the case of rice, which can be found dry or watery, and even from green, white, red, black, or yellow, all with a delicious flavor that makes your mouth water just thinking of it.

Here are five Mexican ways to prepare this cereal.

  • Tumbada rice is a brothy and slightly red preparation, accompanied by seafood such as shrimp, octopus, clam, oyster, and crab.
  • Green rice gets its color from the broth in which it is prepared, made with epazote, cilantro, coriander, lettuce, and spinach. This recipe is homemade, so it can change depending on the family that makes it.
  • Morisqueta, this stew is made with white rice cooked in water, whose texture resembles steamed rice. It is usually served with beans, pork, chorizo, tomato, and onion, although it can also be an accompaniment to soups, broths, and stews.
  • Arroz con Leche is a kind of rice cooked in milk with sugar, cinnamon, and raisins, it can be thick or light, but never dry. In certain areas of Mexico, cinnamon is replaced by lemon or orange peel.
  • Black Rice: the typical color of this preparation comes from the cooking broth of black beans. It is seasoned with fried or fresh epazote and salt. It can be a main dish or an accompaniment to another stew.
  • Lastly, a Mexican favorite, Arroz a la Mexicana. It is called this way because it is one of the most popular ways of making it in the country; although it is also known as red rice. It is fried and seasoned with ground tomato and can include peas, carrots, jalapeño or serrano peppers, potatoes, corn kernels, and zucchini. In certain parts of southern Mexico such as Tabasco and Chiapas, it may include achiote.

Tips to make the traditional Arroz Rojo

Even if this is not your first time preparing a Mexican recipe, you might struggle with a few situations when cooking your red rice if you haven’t checked the following tips:

  • Understanding the water/rice ratio can be tricky, it shouldn’t have too much liquid and it is very important to take the other ingredients into account, as in the case of the tomatoes, since these must be blended to take a liquid form.
  • Should you use water or broth? Well, using broth is always recommended for this recipe, but if you’re short of ingredients or don’t want to buy a whole box of broth just to use a little bit and leave too much leftover, you can always use water and add some extra seasoning.
  • When it comes to choosing the type of rice, you should use the one you feel the most comfortable with, whether it is medium grain rice, long grain, or a specific rice brand you like. However, if it happens to be white long-grain rice, that’s even better!

If you make sure to pay attention to those little details, then all you need to do is to choose the right recipe and carefully follow each of the steps, like the ones in this quick and simple Mexican rice recipe.

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