Mexican Rice...without Borders!

Mexican Rice…without Borders!

Spring….south of the border!


In my previous post on Mexican Birria I mentioned Mexican rice as an accompaniment and left it at that. After all, We all have our own favorite Mexican rice recipes.

However, here at home in the land of a million rice fields I make a Mexican rice using brown Thai Fragrant Rice (khao Hom Mali) with a mix of chilies, corn, herbs and kaffir lime leaves. All quite compatible if you are willing to veer from what is considered authentic Mexican in the pursuit of utilizing local ingredients…no fusion intended!

In actuality, the fragrant pandanus flavor of the nutty brown Kho Hom Mali rice, with the addition of a couple kaffir lime leaves, the sweetness of corn, the heat of chilies, and the flower of herbs, creates an aroma from the heavens while cooking. So while not quite traditional Mexican, it does produce a stellar aromatic rice dish that celebrates the confluence of Latin American and Asian taste affinities.

The result, Mexican rice without borders!

Very easy to make, everything popped into a rice steamer, and a quick finish in the oven.

Mexican Rice without Borders!  Serves 6

  • 1 ½ cup brown Thai fragrant rice
  • 2 fresh corn on the cob
  • 6 fresh or frozen kaffir lime leaves (available in Asian markets)
  • 1 large red shallot, peeled and minced
  • 2 fresh coriander roots, whole
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • water or stock
  • 2-3 jalapeno chilies, seeded and finely diced
  • ½ cup grated fresh mozzarella (or mild pepper cheese)
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • fresh coriander leaves for garnish (optional)

Rinse the rice under running water until the water runs nearly clear. Place the rice in an electric rice steamer bowl. Cut the corn off the cobs into the steamer bowl and scrape the cobs with the back of a paring knife to extract the milk. Add the kaffir lime leaves, shallots, coriander roots, salt, and stir until combined. Add enough water or stock to ¾ of an inch above the rice.

Place the lid on the steamer and cook until the steamer clicks off automatically. Remove the steamer bowl, with lid on, and set aside for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile prepare the jalapenos and grate the cheese and set aside.

Pre-heat the oven to 375F/180C.  Lightly butter a casserole dish large enough to hold the cooked rice. 

Remove the lid from the steamer bowl and fluff the rice with a wooden spoon, removing the kaffir lime leaves and coriander roots. Add the jalapenos, half of the grated cheese, and season with pepper to taste. Mix until well combined and transfer the mixture to the prepared casserole dish and top with the remaining cheese. At this point the casserole can be baked or refrigerated for later use. When ready to bake, add 2 tablespoon of water or stock around the edges of the casserole.

Put the casserole in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until well heated and the cheese has melted.

Serving: Serve hot from the casserole dish with cilantro leaves as a garnish at the table.


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