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Last Updated on July 12, 2022

Mexican cuisine has a long story of flavors and aromas. Corn, beans, and chilies are found in almost every dish people in this country make. But what about rice? We know rice is not typical of this country, and history seems to indicate that it was brought during the time of Spanish invasions. Originally Mexican or not, rice has become widely popular in this Central-American cuisine, so much so that one of the most popular dishes carries its name. 

Mexican cuisine has a long story of flavors and aromas. Corn, beans, and chilies are found in almost every dish people in this country make. But what about rice? We know rice is not typical of this country, and history seems to indicate that it was brought during the time of Spanish invasions. Originally Mexican or not, rice has become widely popular in this Central-American cuisine, so much so that one of the most popular dishes carries its name. 

Let’s talk about Spanish Rice… Or is it Mexican?

This may be quite confusing, but Mexican rice or Spanish rice refers to the same dish. You may even hear about this as Mexican brown rice, a popular dish in Northern Mexico. Now, let’s focus on what really matters: what is this dish about? 

Along Mexico, you’ll find different ways of serving rice. To the North, rice is typically cooked with chicken broth and tomato sauce, this is the traditional Mexican rice. On the contrary, in the South, plain white rice is more commonly found. 

In the case of Mexican brown rice, this dish is made in a northern way and the main ingredient, other than rice, is the chicken broth in which it is cooked.

Did you ask for a fun fact? Nobody in Mexico calls this neither Spanish nor Mexican rice, but simply Arroz Rojo, which is “red rice” in Spanish.

Mexican brown rice

As said before, this northern side dish will not only include rice but some of the most typical ingredients in Mexican cuisine. Rice, beans, and chicken broth among other ingredients will make it to the recipe. As for the “brown” part of the name, the name finds its origin in the fact that you’ll have to brown the rice as a first step. You may be tempted to skip this step, but don’t, it doesn’t take that much and it really makes a difference. After that, add some more ingredients to season it, and you will have a perfect and healthy dish to complement your main course.

Let’s get to the recipe already:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of chopped onions.
  • 1 tbsp of tomato paste.
  • 1 clove of garlic.
  • 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil.
  • 1 ½ or 2 cups of rice.
  • 15 oz. of black beans, rinsed and drained.
  • 2 cups of chicken broth.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Preparation:

  1. Start by putting together a cup of chopped onions, a tablespoon of tomato paste, and a clove of garlic, and take the ingredients to a mixer or a blender. Grind the ingredients and set the mix aside.
  2. Put a skillet on a medium heat and pour two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Take the rice and rinse it until it’s browned. This shouldn’t take longer than a minute.
  3. Pour the previous mix into the skillet together with the rice and stir until it is absorbed by the rice, which will get slightly red due to the tomato paste. It’s important to stir continuously because this can and will easily burn. 
  4. Add the chicken broth, the key ingredient to this dish, and stir until you bring the mix to a boil. Once it boils, take the heat to the lowest point and place the lid over the skillet. Let it cook for about 15 or 20 minutes.
  5. Once the rice is cooked, add the beans, previously rinsed and drained, and gently move the rice around with a fork. If necessary, cover the skillet with the lid again and let it cook for a few more minutes.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve this side dish with almost any meal you prepare.

Popularity is not the only good thing about this dish. Mexican brown rice can be stored as leftovers in an airtight container, reheated either in a microwave or a skillet, and even frozen for up to three months. 

It’s easy to cook, healthy, all vegan and it’s a flavor-packed side dish that could easily be served as the main dish of that special dinner you have ahead of you. Give this recipe a go, Mexico was never so close and never so tasty and it’s already waiting for you!

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