There’s a little Mexican restaurant that we frequent on a regular basis and it may seem odd, but one of the things that brings me back time and time again is their heavenly rice. I’ve spent many of my meals there contemplating why this rice is so incredible and short of chasing after the sweet little lady that prepares it, I was bound and determined to figure it out for myself.
What sets it apart are the little bits of soft cooked potato and carrot mixed in with the light and fluffy rice. I’ve come to find out that adding veggies is the traditional way of preparing Mexican rice and it makes a subtle but important difference. To attempt to mirror the rice of my dreams, I’ve stuck to just potato and carrot here but an assortment of other veggies can be added if you are so inclined. Frozen corn or peas, mushrooms, zucchini, and bell pepper are all great choices.
An authentic Mexican recipe would also most likely call for adding serrano chiles but I’m kickin’ it gringo style. Serrano’s are muy caliente and since there’s typically some heat in the other items I prepare on Mexican night, we want the rice to be mild so we can shovel it in our faces with wild abandon.
We’re just a bunch of rice shovelers.
First let’s prep the veggies. Peel and dice a carrot and a potato. I specifically like to use a Yukon gold potato in this because they’re just so darned buttery and delicious. You’ll also need about 1/2 cup diced white or yellow onion.
Heat 3 tablespoons vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1-1/2 cups long grain white rice and cook, stirring occasionally for several minutes until…
The rice is nicely toasted and just beginning to turn golden brown.
Bring the heat down a bit and add the veggies and the minced garlic.
Mix it up with a wooden spoon.
Add 1 teaspoon taco seasoning and 1/2 teaspoon salt. You can use your own taco seasoning (click HERE for my recipe) or the packaged variety will work just fine. I am conservative with the salt at this point. If it needs it, you can always add more at the end.
Cook and stir for a couple of minutes.
Add an 8 ounce can of tomato sauce.
Stir to combine it well.
In goes 3 cups of low sodium chicken broth.
Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil.
Reduce the heat to low, cover the skillet and set your timer for 20 minutes. When the timer goes off, remove the pan from the heat and let it sit, covered for 5 minutes.
Fluff it up with a fork before serving. It’s very light and oh so fluffy!
I have some crazy cilantro loving folks in this family who I swear could eat it by the handful. I like to garnish the rice with some whole sprigs for the cilantro freaks but keep it easy to avoid for those who are cilantro-phobic.
Light, fluffy, savory perfection. Absolutely the best from scratch Mexican rice I’ve had outside a restaurant.
Restaurant Style Mexican Rice
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 cups long grain white rice
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 1 large carrot diced (approximately 1/2 cup)
- 1 Yukon Gold potato diced (approximately 1 cup)
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
- 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
- Cilantro for garnish optional
- Heat oil in a skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat. Add rice and cook, stirring occasionally for 3 or 4 minutes, until lightly golden brown. Reduce heat to medium and add the onion, potato, carrot, and garlic. Season with taco seasoning and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook and stir for about 2 minutes. Add the tomato sauce; cook and stir for a minute or two and then slowly stir in the chicken broth.
- Return heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, place a lid on the skillet and simmer for 25 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes, covered. Remove cover, fluff with a fork, garnish with cilantro (optional) and serve.