This is a simple recipe that explodes with the comforting, spicy, warm flavors of Mexico. So versatile, this can be a side or a one-dish meal with the addition of some meat.
I could eat this rice as a meal in itself. Yes, carb overload. Unfortunately, responsibility gets the best of me and I resist – or add ground beef, chicken or black beans. All are so delicious.
I loved to order spicy Mexican rice pilaf in any (really, I mean all) Mexican restaurant that we frequented. It seemed appropriate to make it at home, but I could never get the consistency just right.
After years of trial and error, just a couple of recipe tweaks took it to the next level. It is a huge source of pride when I can make something that my family insists is even better than what we ordered in a restaurant. Score!
TIPS FOR PERFECT SPICY MEXICAN RICE PILAF
- Brown the tomato paste by spreading it thin in the bottom of your skillet. Cook, stirring, until the color turn to a dark orange-red color. At this point, it is beginning to carmelize and lose any of it’s raw tomato flavor. The result will be a tomato taste that is less bitter, subtly sweet with a deeper, richer, tomato flavor. This small step makes a big difference.
- Be sure to rinse the rice in a colander under cold running water. This will wash away any coating on the rice and help to keep it fluffy.
- Also, be sure to toast the rice in oil and butter until lightly browned. By toasting the rice, not only will it lend a nuttier flavor, but the final dish will be more fluffy and dry-just like you get in your favorite Mexican restaurant.
EQUIPMENT NECESSARY TO MAKE SPICY MEXICAN RICE PILAF
This is a simple dish to prepare. Equipment needed is very basic.
- Fine mesh colander or strainer to rinse the rice
- Large, deep skillet
- Cutting board and chef’s knife
- Wooden, plastic, or metal stirring spoon
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter or ghee
- 2 cups long grain white rice, rinsed
- 1 medium onion, finely minced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 medium red bell pepper, finely minced
- 1 jalapeno, seeded, finely minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chiles, with juice
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 (15.5 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup frozen corn kernels
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Place rice in a fine mesh colander. Rinse under cold running water, turning rice in the colander with your hand. Dump rice onto paper toweling to drain completely.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter into the olive oil. When warm, add rice and begin stirring constantly, ensuring each grain of rice is coated with the oil and butter. Continue to toast the rice, stirring constantly until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
- Add onions, garlic, jalapeno, and red pepper. Stir and cook until onions begin to turn translucent.
- Spoon tomato paste into the skillet and spread over the vegetables and rice, flattening to push the paste onto the skillet surface. Allow to cook, stirring occasionally and flattening out across pan until the paste begins to take on a dark orange-red color – about 6-7 minutes.
- Stir in chicken broth, canned diced tomatoes with juice, chili powder, cumin, black beans and corn. Cover and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 12 to 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Serve warm.
- Serving Size: 1