Mexican cuisine is one among my favourite International cuisines. My first introduction to Mexican food was during my first visit to the US several years ago and that was when I developed an instant liking towards it. On a subsequent visit to the US while on conference, I gorged on Mexican (more of Tex-Mex) morning, noon and night! I think one of the many reasons I like Mexican food is their generous use of beans. While on the subject of beans, my love affair with this legume family has been a long standing one. Chickpeas, kidney beans, black beans, black-eyed beans, broad beans, lima beans, cannellini beans, edamame....you name it, I love it! If I had my way, I would add beans to everything ☺ That being said, Mexican food for me is not just about the beans. The use of vibrant ingredients like corn, chili peppers, tomatoes, avocados, the aromatic spices and fresh herbs makes this cuisine all the more appetizing.
Have I previously complained about the Mexican food in Singapore? I'm quite certain I have! Among the Mexican restaurants that I've been to, I consider Margarita's to be one of the better ones. At home, we only whip up simple Mexican dishes like salsa, guacamole, burritos and quesadillas. Okay, if I were being completely honest, I shouldn't say 'we' because it is my hubby who is solely responsible for anything Mexican that comes out of our kitchen. When craving anything outside of the aforementioned limited spectrum of dishes, we have no other choice but to head over to a Mexican restaurant.
A while ago, I wanted to make a Mexican-inspired rice so I began scouring the internet for ideas. I saw more than a dozen recipes but none of them caught my fancy. I decided to make my own version by throwing ingredients that I felt tied in with the Mexican theme. Please don't look for authenticity in this recipe because it took shape inside my non-Mexican head (but let me assure you that it does taste good!). Most of the ingredients for this Mexican fried rice were stashed away in my fridge but I did have to make a trip to the grocery store for some of the not-so-common ones. I've realized that sourcing for fresh jalapeños in Singapore is quite a painful task. The only time we have found them was at Tanglin Market Place and Jason's Market. Since those places are not readily accessible from where I live, I don't get that many opportunities to come back home with fresh jalapeños. For this recipe, I ended up buying canned fire-roasted diced green chillies from the Mexican aisle of my regular grocery store which turned out to be unexpectedly good. Anyway, the rice turned out exactly the way I envisioned it to look and taste like.
Before I start getting any more chatty, here is the recipe. If you are in a mood for Mexican, go for it! Don't fret if you end up with left-overs. Get out some tortillas, whip up a simple guacamole (or easier, use store-bought), top up with some more beans if desired, throw in a handful of grated cheese, add a dollop of sour cream and you have a delicious burrito ready for supper the next day ☺
Preparation Time: 40 min
Recipe level: Easy
2 cups long grain white rice (I used basmati rice)
4 cups vegetable stock or any stock of your choice
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 cup chopped colored bell peppers/capsicum
1/2 cup sweet corn kernels
200 gm (7 ounces) canned plum tomatoes
300 gm (~10 ounces) cooked black beans
2-3 tbsp canned diced green chillies or 3 medium jalapeños, chopped
2 tsp taco seasoning
1 tsp red chill powder, Optional
1 large bunch spring onion greens, chopped
1 tsp sugar
Salt to taste
1/3 cup canola oil
1. Wash the rice under running water until the water runs clear. It is important to remove all the starch so the grains of rice remain separate.
2. Cook the rice in 4 cups of stock on a medium-low flame till done. This should take around 10-15 min. Once done, fluff the grains of rice with a fork and keep aside to cool completely. Alternatively, a better option would be to use leftover rice.
4. Once the onions turn translucent, add the chopped chillies and chopped bell peppers and sauté for a few mins.
5. Roughly chop the plum tomatoes and add along with some of their juice. Also add in the sweet corn kernels and black beans. Fry for a few minutes until some of the liquid is absorbed.
6. Now add the taco seasoning, red chill powder (if desired), salt and sugar. Mix well and simmer for a few mins.
7. Leave the heat on low and add in the cooled rice and spring onions. Gently mix until all the ingredients are well incorporated. Take care not to over mix or else you will end up breaking up the rice.
Befor I bid adieu to you guys, I wanted to let you know that I am submitting this post for the following event:
- Instead of vegetable stock, you can use any stock/broth of your choice. If you don't have homemade or store bought stock, you can use bullion cubes to make the stock.
- If you don't have canned plum tomatoes, you can substitute with 2 ripe red blanched tomatoes, roughly chopped along with their juice
- If you don't get your hands on black beans, you can substitute with red kidney beans
- If you don't find store bought taco seasoning, you can make your own. For recipe, please refer here