An Introduction to Cooking Rice

If you have ever eaten at a Mexican restaurant, you have probably had a version of Mexican rice. This tomato and spice flavored rice has become a permanent fixture in Mexican cuisine. It was not always so, however. Rice did not grow in Mexico originally. It was introduced to Mexico from the Philippines. The Spanish found that rice grew very well around Veracruz and the rest is history.

Mexican Rice Customs
Rice is traditionally served at midday in Mexico. It is usually served with beans or fish. The rice and beans you get in restaurants are not how they are served in Mexico. Learning more about traditional Mexican food will really open your eyes. Mexican cuisine uses rice in many ways beyond the savory rice discussed here. They also use it in cakes, desserts and horchata, a tasty drink.
Rice is often prepared in pilaf style in Mexico. Rice is browned first and then simmered in broth. Additional flavor is added from onions, chilies, and carrots that cook with the rice. Some regions in Mexico favor a creamier rice that resembles risotto.

Equipment for Cooking Mexican Rice
A cazuela is a clay vessel that was traditionally used to cook rice. It gives the rice an earthy flavor. Rice is soaked first, drained, and then fried until it is brown. Broth or other liquid is added so the rice can simmer until it is done.
Mexican rice should be fluffy. To make your rice turn out fluffy, rinse the uncooked rice in a colander until the water is no longer cloudy. Rinsing gets rid of excess starch that makes rice sticky. You can also soak your rice ahead of time. This helps lower your cooking time and helps the rice absorb more flavor from the broth and vegetables that are cooked with it. In Mexico, a long grain rice is the preferred variety, but medium grained rice works well too.

What to do With Leftovers
When you have leftover rice, just freeze it. Take a sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil and spread the rice out in a thin sheet. Seal up the foil and place it in the freezer. When you want to use it again, just pop it in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit to reheat it. You do not need to thaw it first.

When you choose a Mexican rice recipe, follow the directions carefully for the best results. You may be adding ingredients like olive oil, carrots, parsley, and chilies. They will add a lot of flavor to your finished meal. Serve up your rice with a simply prepared fish or other entre.

Taking the time to learn how to prepare Mexican rice will add a lot more authenticity to your Mexican cooking. With some practice, you will be able to make a nice Mexican rice without even thinking twice. Your family will love the richness of the flavor. It is a nice change from pasta or potatoes.

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