Most times I will prepare white rice in the rice cooker because I love how it perfectly steams the “sticky rice.” Plus, that’s how my mom makes it and that’s how she taught me to prepare it. I also like instant rice in a bag because you just follow the directions and microwave it. Presto, it’s done. Sometimes I’m afraid that I’m the typical “follow the directions” rice kind of girl, but then I have this wonderful Spanish rice dish that comes from my mother in law. It’s fancier because you make it over the stove-top. Not that making rice on the stove-top is like rocket science, but it’s one of those kitchen anxieties that I have. Rice can be a sticky situation for myself, because I tend to prepare “sticky rice” too sticky for my husband’s liking.
This recipe is easy as 1, 2, 3 and make sure to use the same measuring cup to measure your rice, and water. (Use the tomato can to measure out the water and it also rinses out the extra bits of tomato sauce left.) You only need a couple of ingredients added in and the end result is a perfect accompaniment to a variety of Spanish dishes, chicken or anything in general. The key to cooking this rice and keeping it from becoming mushy is, once you add the liquid do not stir it for any reason. Cover it and let it cook until it is done. The key ingredient is Bijol seasoning, a product from Cuba, that gives the faint yellow coloring. It’s basically a poor man’s saffron, a mixture of corn flour, annatto, ground cumin, and coloring. It adds that extra special flavor for this yummy rice dish. Enjoy!
Adapted from M.I.L
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups uncooked long-grain rice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small white onion, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 - 8 ounce can tomato sauce
4 cups water or chicken broth
1 heaping teaspoon Bijol seasoning (or use annatto/saffron)
1 small handful fresh cilantro, chopped finely
Heat extra-virgin olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and add garlic and onions. Sauté until soft and tender, and add rice. While rice is cooking, add the salt, bijol seasoning and cumin and mix until fully combined.
Stir in tomato sauce and water/chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes.
Uncover rice, and fluff with a fork. Taste for seasonings, and garnish with chopped cilantro.
Review: Delicioso! This is one of the easiest and tastiest rice dishes that you can prepare. If you have trouble locating bijol seasoning, you can opt to not use it all. I have found this in the Spanish aisle in my supermarket or you can use the cheap saffron – don’t use the expensive good stuff on this. You just need a touch of flavor for this dish.