Whenever I am making a more complete Mexican-style meal, I like to include Mexican rice. I choose to keep the rice simple because I like it to compliment the meal rather than competing for attention. It’s nice to have a taste break from spicier dishes.
Generally I use long grain white rice, onion, garlic, salt, chicken broth, and a tomato product–this time I used tomato paste; although I have used tomatoes in the past. Depending on my mood, I may add any combination of other ingredients: a little chili powder, cumin, or cilantro. All of these are added “to taste”. Some people like vegetables such as peas, corn, or carrots in their rice, but I prefer the rice without the vegetables. Like I said, this is a simple Mexican-style rice.
An important step in making Mexican rice is to brown the raw rice kernels in oil or melted lard. I have to confess that I really like the wonderful taste of lard in the rice, but I most often use canola oil instead of the lard. Every now and then, when I am really craving the lard flavor, I give in to the craving and use a couple of tablespoons of lard to brown the rice. It is so hard to be good all of the time.
Washing the rice prior to cooking will keep the rice from being sticky. I have a hard time making myself wash the rice simply because I know that I am washing away vitamins and minerals. So, the rice I make is somewhat sticky, but still tastes great. To wash or not to wash, that’s entirely up to your personal preference. For photographic purposes, I chose to wash the rice in these photos.