21 February 2008

Mexican Rice

Once my teeth stop chattering I can
carry on with this post. The last 15 minutes have been spent outdoors watching one of natures wonders a lunar eclipse. As luck would have it I was speaking with my sister whose kids were outside watching the same moon at their home in Ontario thousands of miles away across the country. How fitting that I should have had Mexican food today. The ancient Mayan culture was intertwined with the moon and the lunar calendar which they devised.

Mayan women from all over the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico and beyond made pilgrimages to the island of Cozumel to pay tribute to Ixhel, the goddess of fertility and the moon, at a temple erected in her honour at San Gervasio (located towards the northern end of the island). The Mayan people were settled on the island of Cozumel starting from 300 AD. In the post-classic period, Cozumel thrived as a trade centre and as a ceremonial site. When the first Spaniards, Juan de Grijalva and his men, made their way to Cozumel in 1518 there were at least 32 Mayan building sites on the island.

To the north of Cozumel , near Cancun is a much smaller island baptized by its Spanish discoverer, Hernández de Córdoba, the 'Island of Women' (Isla de las Mujeres) "because of the idols he found there of the goddesses of the country. The last time we were in this area we stayed 3 days on Isla de las Mujeres snorkelling at Garafon and sipping pina coladas in the hammocks at Buho's. The party boats from Cancun travel to the island several times a day, but if you can get away from all of that it is a very tranquil and peaceful island...better to make your own party!! My daughter, who was 13 at the time loved it there because she was able to drive...golf carts are the vehicle of choice.

This Mexican rice dish paired well with Ben's chicken from the last post. This recipe is different from the one I normally use because it is baked in the oven. Salsa, sliced avaocado and grated cheese would make worthy additional garnishes. Tortillas, beans and fried plantains would turn this rice dish into a meal in itself.

What I wouldn't give to be on the Mayan Riviera or at a seaside tavern in the fishing village of Manzanillo eating this with a side of margeritas :D I wonder if they could see the lunar eclipse in their part of the world tonight. I am sure it is much warmer there!!

A su salud mis amigos!!!!

**Mexican Rice**

2 cups long-grain white rice (basmati, jasmine, etc.)
¼ cup vegetable oil (olive, canola, etc.)
2 -4 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 medium fresh chile (jalapeño, serrano, etc.) or 1 medium dried chile
2 medium ripe tomatoes, cored and diced
1 medium onion (white or yellow), diced
1/2 red pepper, diced
1/2 green or yellow pepper, diced
3 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 T tomato paste
1½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon dried epazote or oregano
½ cup fresh cilantro leaves, minced
1 lime, cut into wedges

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Rinse the rice until the water runs clear; drain excess water from rice.

In a large, heavy-bottomed, ovenproof pan with a lid, heat the oil. Add the rice and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and chile and cook, stirring constantly, another 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, onion, red, green or yellow peppers, broth, tomato paste, salt, pepper, cumin, and epazote or oregano.

Cover the pan and put it in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, then stir well once; add a can of cooked beans if you wish. Bake another 15 to 20 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.

Serve hot, with the cilantro and lime as garnishes. Best Blogger Tips


  1. I absolutely love Mexican rice! I can't even tell you why I love it so much, I just know I could eat it for every meal.
    And no eclipse going on here, we're covered in clouds. But I did go outside to look. It's 6 degrees out. Brrr.

  2. Hi There,
    Just discovered your blog!

    It was a cloudy, dreary, rainy day here today so we weren't able to see the excitement in the sky :(

    Your dish looks lovely. I'll come back and visit often!

  3. Thanks for giving all that wonderful information about the Mayans.
    I've never had rice with so many ingredients and there are a few ingredients I can't find but I sounds very good.

  4. Great post Val including the history lesson! You had me in stitches about the margaritas! Fall is approaching here in Australia and I will be looking at recipes such as these for inspiration... Thanks.

  5. Your mexican rice looks wonderful. We don't make mexican too often but I feel we will be soonish enough!

  6. Val, this would go great with some seafood.

    I missed the eclipse...busy day (and night).

  7. I wouldn't mind a trip to Mexico either. Or some of this rice. It sounds really interesting.

  8. Oh, you saw the Eclipse? How lucky!! I would have loved to watch it with you in the cold!:)
    Always loved Mexican dishes, rice looks yummy.

  9. Wow Val, you are an ace in Hystory!!!
    I wouldn't mind being right there by your side sipping some piña colada too!!! :D

    There's so many ways to do a rice... this one seems just great to me. Mmmmmmmm

  10. I love history, and I love the history of my two countries (Mexico and the U.S.) a lot. And this piece of history has made me cry. Sometimes I wish I had lived in this continent before Europeans changed it forever.

    Baked Mexican rice is something I have never made before. I do have to try it. And been in the Mexican riviera or Manzanillo right night sounds good. It's 5 degrees here and the world is covered in snow. It's pretty, but I am ready for some snorkeling. :D

  11. Hi Val just does it for me Mexican food of any sort - yum.

    Lovely post and pics

    Rosie x

  12. There were too many clouds and too much haze for us to see the eclipse - I'm jealous you got to see it!

    This rice sounds like a wonderful side dish!

  13. I just love flavourful rice dishes. As a vegetarian, I eat a fair amount of rice, so it's nice to come across great recipes like this one. Thanks Val!

  14. I can never get my mexican rice to taste like I want it to. Yours sounds really good, I've bookmarked it to give it a try.

  15. That rice sounds nice and tasty. Mix in some texmex spiced ground meat and throw it in a tortilla and you have a full meal.


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