Learn a different version of the classic Mexican brown rice

Mexican brown rice in a dish
Photo by Katherine Ann Hartlef Villers
This is a collaborative post

Rice is one of those poorly valued ingredients. People are so used to having it in their pantry and eating it in their daily meals that they tend to forget this grain is a superfood.

Sometimes, rice does not have the deserved rating, since people constantly look for new ways of having healthier and inexpensive meals.

Rice is not only affordable but versatile and full of health benefits. It is part of the diet of hundreds of millions of people throughout the globe. Just in Latin America, rice is the fourth most consumed grain.

This is evident in the countless based rice dishes you can enjoy in every corner and every house. Moreover, some regions of this continent are recognized for rice meals like Mexico and its red rice.

Rice in Mexico

This humble ingredient was introduced to Mexico by the Spanish settlers in the sixteenth century. From then on, rice became an important crop in this land and a common component in daily meals.

This versatile ingredient was successfully combined with varied indigenous components resulting in the traditional Mexican preparations.

To name a few:

  • Morisqueta con Chorizo (rice with chorizo).
  • Horchata (rice beverage).
  • Arroz a la Tumbada (seafood and rice).
  • Arroz verde (green rice).
  • Arroz rojo (Mexican red rice).
rice dish in a pan with prawns, lemon wedges and 3 forks
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

The most popular Mexican rice-based dish

Among all Mexican rice preparations, maybe the most popular is red rice. Outside Mexico, this typical dish is known by the names Spanish rice or Mexican rice. But it contains the same ingredients as in Mexico: onion, garlic, broth, tomato sauce or paste, and finishing touches of cilantro.

Mexican brown rice is the common accompaniment for carnitas, tacos, carne asada, and picadillo. It is also a full meal when other ingredients like beans are added.

This simple dish has several homemade variations. Each Mexican family has its version of this delightful dish, including nutritious options, healthier ingredients, and different cooking techniques.

Making a nutritious Red rice

Rice in general has several benefits for maintaining good health. This grain is full of minerals, vitamins, proteins, and energy the body needs to work correctly.

Although white rice includes various health benefits, brown rice has even more nutritional value.

While white rice is a refined grain with the bran and germ removed (the most nutritious parts), brown rice is a whole grain. This means it has the nutritious germ and the fibrous bran with more healthy advantages.

White long-grain rice is the common type used in most Mexican meals. Using this rice guarantees you are getting all nutrients that help to keep some diseases at bay. But, if you want to cook a healthier meal, using brown rice instead of white, is a good alternative.

Photo by Łukasz Rawa on Unsplash

Cooking with brown rice

You can easily substitute white for brown rice in red rice recipes. But before you do it, you must know that brown rice tends to take longer to cook, and its texture is chewier.

Apart from these little differences, cooking Mexican brown rice takes the same steps and process as regular white rice.

Another aspect to consider when cooking healthier dishes is the cooking technique. Mexicans usually make their traditional rice on the stovetop. Some people use instant pots, rice cookers, and pressure cookers. The result is always the same: flavoursome and delicious Mexican rice.

For preparing more nutritious variations, you may try this recipe and make it in the oven to enjoy all its health benefits.

Baked Mexican brown rice

Ingredients (4 servings):

  • 1 1⁄2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.
  • ½ cup of diced onion.
  • 3 sliced cloves of garlic.
  • 3 chopped jalapeño peppers.
  • 2 cups of long-grain brown rice.
  • 2 ½ cups of chicken broth.
  • 1 cup of crushed tomato.
  • 1 teaspoon of chili powder.
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons of salt.
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin.
  • Fresh cilantro for garnish.

Preparation:

  1. First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In an oven-safe baking tray, add vegetable oil and let it warm in the oven for 2 minutes.
  3. Add onion, cloves of garlic, and jalapeños peppers. Try to cover vegetables with vegetable oil. Cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Incorporate rice and stir. Cook for 5 more minutes.
  5. Pour chicken broth, tomatoes, chili powder, salt, and cumin. Combine all components.
  6. Cover the baking tray with foil.
  7. Bake for 1 hour or until rice is tender (check that all the liquid has been absorbed).
  8. Take it out of the oven, and let it rest for a while.
  9. Serve with fresh cilantro on the top.

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