Tomorrow is a big Mexican holiday, our Independence day. This year there will be a very big and special celebration because 2010 is a year of bicentennial celebrations. Tomorrow September 16th marks 200 years of independence from Spain. November 2010 also marks the 100th anniversary of our Revolution. Being that in 2010 Mexicans are commemorating such big events and celebrations there are huge parties and celebrations planned throughout the country and even Mexicans abroad are planning large celebrations.
Last year I gave you guys a brief explanation about our Independence Day and also shared my Enchiladas Rojas recipe, if you are interested you can find it here. I haven’t solidified my dinner plans for tomorrow but I thought I would share a must have and must know Mexican recipe. I actually can’t believe I haven’t shared this with you, Arroz ala Mexicana or Mexican rice. Such a simple and delicious recipe anyone can make but yet so many get wrong. Sorry I’m going to sound like I’m ranting a bit, but I really hate when I get served “Mexican” rice and it’s bright red, taste like tomato paste or is just white rice with a can of corn-carrot-pea and beans thrown in it and called Mexican rice, yuck! Maybe I’m spoiled because my Mom always made perfectly delicious arroz. You may remember that I never listened to my Mom when she tried to teach me how to cook but somehow I remember her special technique and the authentic recipe, I guess I was listening after all. I’m sure most of you already know that the rice is served as a side dish with many Mexican dishes, it can also be enjoyed on it’s own or in Tex-Mex cuisine it is used as a filling or topping for many recipes. What ever way you choose to enjoy Arroz ala Mexicana that is exactly it – you will really enjoy this recipe and be very proud of the authenticity and taste.
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large tomato (200 grams or 7 oz.)
1/2 tsp. salt , or to taste
pinch of ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. oregano
11/2 cups (375 ml) chicken bouillon*
1 tbsp. corn or sunflower oil
1 small can of peas and carrot mix
*For the best flavor use either powdered chicken bouillon or 1 chicken bouillon cube dissolved in water.
1. Finely dice the onion, mince the garlic and roughly chop the tomato. Dissolve the bouillon in the water and set aside. Place the 1/2 cup of the chicken bouillon, tomato, salt, pepper, oregano and 1/4 of the finely diced onion inside a blender container and pulse until completely broken down into a sauce, set aside.
2. Heat the oil over medium heat and saute the remaining 3/4 onion until translucent then add the minced garlic and saute another 2 minutes. Add the rice to the pan and fry until it starts to turn golden like in the photo, stir often to prevent burning. (Frying the rice like this will give the rice a better taste.) Next pour the sauce mix from the blender, be very careful because the sauce can splash up as it hits the hot pan. Then pour in the remaining 1 cup of bouillon and the drained can of peas and carrots, cover and simmer under low heat until the rice is soft and cooked through. You can check the rice a couple of times and if need be add a little more water or bouillon to the rice if the liquid evaporates before the rice cooks through. Allow to cool and serve on the side of any Mexican dish you like or enjoy on it’s own.
Perhaps my rice recipe will put you into a celebratory mood and you will inspire you to cook some Mexican food tomorrow to join the celebrations. Like many other countries there are ups and unfortunately downs, I know lately Mexico has been in the news for all of the wrong reasons, but it hasn’t always been like this and it will not always be like this. Not all of Mexico is engulfed by the drug violence and certainly not all Mexicans are involved in it. Mexico is a big country with very warm and welcoming people ready to help you experience the vast rainbow of colors, culture, history and huge feasts that makeup Mexico. On this bicentennial year of celebrations I wish nothing more than for a brighter future for the normal everyday people of Mexico.