Spicy Rice

by Lori on May 5, 2010

I spent the day working in my garden.  What I thought would be a quick project turned into a huge ordeal.  Isn’t that always the case?  But I did mention a Spicy Rice recipe in yesterday’s post, so let’s get to it.

You will need a medium-sized onion (use half if all you have is a soft-ball-sized one like mine), a couple cloves of garlic, a can of El Pato tomato sauce (commonly referred to as “Duck Sauce” in our house and at the fire station, from which this recipe hails) and some chicken stock or chicken broth, which didn’t make it into this shot.

In a 3 quart pot with a fitted lid, put a couple tablespoons of Canola oil, and turn the heat to medium high.  Chop the onion while the oil heats up.  I go with a medium or fine chop, especially if kids are eating it.  Add it to the pot, reduce the heat down to medium, and saute until the onions are translucent without browning too much.

While the onions cook, finely chop or press the garlic cloves.  Add the garlic into the pot and allow it to cook just until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.

Add the rice and stir everything together making sure the rice is well coated with oil.  Let the rice cook for a few minutes to brown a little.  The onions and garlic will take on some color here, which is fine, just be careful not to let them burn and become bitter.

While the rice is browning, pour 4 tablespoons of the tomato sauce into a large measuring cup.  Now let me tell you, this tomato sauce has some serious kick.  I keep it to 4 tablespoons otherwise my kids won’t eat it.  (If you like spicy food, feel free to increase the amount.  If you’re doubling or tripling the amount rice to water ratio, please note that you may not need to increase the hot tomato sauce in equal proportion.)  You’re going to need a total of 4 cups of liquid including the tomato sauce you just put in the measuring cup, however much that may be.  Fill to the 2 cup mark with chicken stock or broth and fill to the 4 cup mark with water.  Why not use all chicken stock?  For some reason when I don’t cut the liquid with water the rice comes out way too gooey for my taste.  Maybe it’s me or maybe some onions give off too much liquid.  I have just had more success with adding some water to the liquid.

Pour tomato sauce, stock and water into rice mixture and stir well.  Increase heat to high.  Taste for seasonings.  Depending on your stock/broth and it’s sodium content, you may or may not need to add any additional salt.  I use low sodium chicken stock and added 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt.  I also added a few grinds of black pepper.  Taste again.  If you’re okay with it, bring it up to a boil, then reduce heat to low/simmer, cover the pot, and set your timer for 20 minutes.  Do not peek under the lid until 20 minutes is up.

After 20 minutes, check your rice and fluff it up.  I always make the rice first and let it sit with a paper towel or two under the lid while I prepare the rest of the meal (or 10-15 minutes, whichever comes first).  The rice is usually a little sticky when it’s first done.  Putting the towels under the lid allows the steam to be absorbed.

Feel free to add chopped vegetables on top for a more authentic look.  I like a sprinkling of cheese over mine.  The rice will be soft and smooth initially and then you’ll get hit with the spicy kick, which is not overwhelming.  I always get compliments on this rice when I make it for dinner guests.

Spicy Rice

This is a basic rice ratio of 2 parts liquid to 1 part rice.  You can increase to your heart’s content.  I freeze the leftovers in Ziploc freezer bags.

2 tablespoons canola oil
2 cups white rice
1 medium yellow or white onion
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
4 tablespoons El Pato tomato sauce, or to taste if you’d like it spicier
Chicken stock or broth
Salt and pepper to taste

Place canola oil into 3 quart pot with fitted lid.  Set temperature to medium high and add chopped onions.  Cook onions for 5-6 minutes until translucent but not browned.  Add minced garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes.  Add rice, stirring to coat with oil and incorporate onions and garlic.  Toast rice mixture for about 4 minutes stirring occasionally so as not to burn the onions and garlic.

In a large measuring cup, pour 4 tablespoons El Pato tomato sauce.  Add chicken stock or broth and fill to the 2 cup mark.  Fill to the 4 cup mark with water.  Mix.  Pour into the pot and stir well.  Increase the heat and bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer.  Cook for 20 minutes and do not remove the lid until the time is up.

Fluff rice with a fork or spoon.  Place paper towels between lid and pot and let sit for 10-15 minutes to absorb the steam.

Note: When I tried to make this rice with regular tomato sauce, the outcome wasn’t the same.  I think regular tomato sauce is thicker or heavier and resulted in a very mushy, gooey rice.

What to do with the leftover sauce?  You can freeze it in ice cube trays.  Or you can make my favorite beans by adding a couple tablespoons of tomato sauce to your beans along with some cheese, garlic powder and salt.  Yum.  I buy canned organic pinto beans, drain some (not all) of the liquid, place the beans in a pot with the aforementioned ingredients, heat and mash.

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