In the days of old Mexico, rice dishes were actually considered a type of “dry soup” or sopa seca. It was an alternative to the standard liquid version of soup, as we know soup today. However, the wealthy people would serve both versions of los sopas at their parties and events, both as part of the lavish food displays that were presented to their guests, rather than only offering one or the other. The phrase a la Mexicana, when used to describe Mexican dishes, means foods that were prepared with onions and tomatoes. Arroz a la Mexicana is rice that has been made with both onions and tomatoes, as well as other ingredients, and is a staple that can be found in any Mexican household or restaurant. As with any popular foods, there are many different versions.
I served my arroz a la Mexicana along side my mole enchiladas or enmoladas. Dining Mexican Style. I love rice dishes of all kinds, and serve a lot of variations of rice all the time.
Arroz a la Mexicana
2 cups long-grain white rice
3 tomatoes, pureed
1 jalapeno, chopped fine
1/2 cup corn
1 cup green beans, cut small
1/3 onion, chopped fine
2 TBSP garlic
4 cups chicken stock or water
1 tsp each fresh parsley and cilantro, chopped fine
salt & pepper to taste
Tobasco sauce to taste
olive oil for cooking
Soak the rice in warm water for about 5 minutes. Add the olive oil to a hot skillet, then add the rice, onions, garlic, jalapeno, and green beans. Cook until the onions are translucent. You can add any kind of vegetables, and as many vegetables as you like. Peas and carrots are often used as well.
Puree the tomatoes in a food processor, then add to the rice and vegetable mixture. Incorporate well into the rice.
Add the liquid, salt & pepper and parsley and cilantro mixture and mix together well. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let the mixture simmer for about 20 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is cooked. I used chicken broth because it gives the rice a richer flavor, but you can use vegetable broth or water which will make the dish vegetarian or vegan, if you prefer. This is perfect side dish for whatever you are serving, whether it is a Mexican dish or not.