Red rice is a popular side dish with beef, pork and chicken, while seafood is usually accompanied by white rice. However, there is no hard and fast rule. The secret to the color and flavor of Mexican arroz rojo is toasting the rice in hot oil until it is golden.
- 1/4 cup oil
- 1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped
- 2 – 3 plum tomatoes
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 3 1/4 cups water or chicken stock
- 1 cup frozen peas, carrots, corn or a mixture of all of these (optional)
- Salt to taste
Clean rice, removing any stones or bad grains, place in a bowl and cover with hot water. Set aside until cooled to room temperature, approximately 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, core tomato, cut into large chunks and place in a blender or food processor along with the garlic, blend until smooth and set aside.
Rinse the rice under cold water until the water runs clear, then drain well.
Heat the oil in a 2 qt saucepan, add the rice stirring to coat each grain, then add the onion. Sauté the rice and onion until the rice is golden and the onion soft, about 5 minutes. Drain any excess oil, add the tomato mixture and cook for a further 5 minutes or until the tomato mixture is absorbed. Add water or stock and adjust seasonings.
Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered until almost all the liquid has been absorbed, then add the frozen peas, lower the flame, cover and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to sit, covered, for 20 minutes.
Fluff with a fork before serving.
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