Did you know that one of my very first jobs was at Taco Del Mar? It was back when I was 15 and although it was short-lived, I learned a lot about Mexican food — er, more like Tex-Mex food. And I discovered my love for burrito bowls. And the most important component of a burrito? The Mexican rice.
If you’re not familiar, Taco Del Mar is a burrito and taco joint. I loved their burritos (oh, how my taste buds have matured since then!) but what really stood out for me was the rice. In general, I love Mexican rice. It was fluffy, tomato-y and just perfect. Now, I won’t go into how they actually made it because it is really unhealthy and disgusting (the ungodly amounts of canola oil!!!). Rather, I will show you how to make my own version of Mexican rice.
Now, I do have two recipes that I fall back on when it comes to Mexican rice: one that is made with salsa and the other made with tomato sauces and other spices. For this recipe, I’ll be going down the salsa route since there has been a salsa explosion in my fridge. Perhaps I’ll do the tomato sauce route on another post when it’s burrito night but who knows!
Just some tips to share: use a non-stick pan! Seriously. It will save you from a headache of rice stick to the pan and you having to frustratingly scrub it off. Also, use jarred salsa aka salsa that is in a jar. Do not use fresh salsa. I repeat: DO NOT USE FRESH SALSA. As much as I completely love and prefer fresh salsa when consuming it, it simply will not work in this case as you will need all the liquids you can get from all those crushed and liquefied tomatoes in the jar. Trust me on this one!
What you’ll need:
– 1 tbsp vegetable oil
– 1/2 large onion, diced
– 1 1/2 cups brown rice
– 1 1/2 cups homemade stock
– 1 1/2 cups salsa (any kind, as long as it’s from a jar)
– 2 tsps ground cumin
– 1 tsp cayenne pepper
– Freshly ground pepper, as needed
– Pinch kosher salt
– 1 1/2 cups fresh cilantro, chopped
What you’ll need to do:
1. In a non-stick pan, heat the oil until hot over medium high heat. Add the onions and sweat it out. Cook for 2 minutes.
2. Add the rice to the pan and make sure that every grain of rice is coated in oil. Stir around for 1 minute or until the rice is nicely toasted (it should smell fragrant).
3. Add the stock, salsa, cumin and spices. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Cover and let it cook for 20-25 minutes or until the rice is cooked. Fluff with a fork.
4. Remove from heat and fold in the fresh cilantro. Serve in burritos (enough to fill 8 10″ burritos or 4-6 servings worth).