VANILLA LATTE is a blog dedicated to food & travel with occasional random stuff thrown in. It is managed and written by me, Maggie Ha.

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Mexican Rice 3Nov09

MmmMmm Mexican Rice

I used to think Mexican rice was this completely magical and impossible dish. Every family has a slightly different recipe and I seem to keep mixing the wrong ingredients in all the different recipes I’ve collected over the years. I just couldn’t perfect it. Sometimes I put too much spice, sometimes it’s too much broth and sometimes it’s not enough water. Really it took me a while to get it right and I cook Mexican food a lot! More so than any other cuisine, even Chinese actually. So after years of experimenting, here is my version of Mexican rice. It’s incredibly simple and incredibly delicious.

I found out where I was going wrong all these years. I kept trying to make a mix of Mexican rice and Spanish rice… two totally different dishes. Mexican rice, as I have known it growing up, has always been a tomato based rice that is pretty mild in taste compared to Spanish rice. It’s buttery and flavorful alone, but the key is how well it pairs with beans and the rest of your Mexican meal. I generally cook enough Mexican food to feed the block so this rice recipe makes a whole pot. Hope you like it!

4 tablespoons of butter
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 cups of long grain rice
1 – 28 oz can of whole peeled tomatoes
1/4 cup of  water
2 very generous pinches of sea salt
fresh ground pepper
pinch of cayenne

Step 1: Sweat baby sweat!
Melt about 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium pot (You’ll need a pot with lid!) over medium heat. Toss in the onions and garlic and let them sweat until a little translucent. Now add in another 2 tablespoons of butter and pour in the 2 cups of rice. Stirring frequently, cook the rice in the butter and onions until it is starting to brown a little. Make sure it doesn’t burn! That should be about 8 – 10 minutes. The rice will look an opaque white with a little bit light brown pieces here and there.

Step 2: Tomatoes!
Once the rice has been added and cooked, it’s time to add the can of tomatoes. Pour in all the juices from the can and using your hands, slowly crush the whole peeled tomatoes into the pot as well. Careful, this can get messy! Pour in about 1/4 cup of water (use a little more or less depending on how much juice your tomatoes made), add in the sea salt, fresh ground pepper and pinch of cayenne. Stir to make sure everything is mixed well. Bring that to a simmer and use a spoon to break down the tomatoes more if they are still too big.

Step 3: Cover and walk away!
Once it starts simmering, turn the heat down to very low, cover and let that cook for about 15-20 minutes. After about 15 minutes, uncover, mix and see if the rice is cooked through. The middle might be perfect but the top might still be a bit crunch… if that’s the case, mix it all up, turn off the heat and cover for about 10 minutes. Uncover, fluff with a fork and serve!

Mexican rice goes with anything and it’s perfect by itself too. Try it with carne asada! Or with enchiladas. Serve with chili or even have it plain with a little dollop of sour cream and guacamole! I’m getting hungry just thinking about it. It’s just about lunch time, I think I’ll put some rice IN a quesadilla for lunch. Mmmmm! Hope you like it!

Again, apologies for the poor photography!

MmmMmm Mexican Rice



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Ground Support

My local favorite is currently Ground Support in SOHO. I go there almost every day for a smooth creamy soy cappuccino or if it’s hot out an iced soy latte. When I’m not in a hurry to run out, I try to take a few extra minutes to enjoy the coffee in the shop… you know, chat with the staff, catch up on some calls and best of all… people watch. Always some interesting characters in NYC!

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