Completely admit I have been glued to the news lately. I am at once in awe and completely concerned for the Egyptian people as they relentlessly hold their protests and demand freedom. Similarly proud and astounded by journalists around the world who risk their lives to transmit the truth to us. This entire series of events, all of it, is mesmerizing and—I can only hope and pray—successful.
But at the cost of the emotional and mental hold this critical event has on me, I at times spend less time concentrating on anything else. Food included. So it is always a pleasure when a series of easy steps leads to a joyful dance for the tastebuds. Case in point: my version of Mexican rice.
I won’t dare claim authenticity of flavor for this dish, but hey I liked it, the husband liked it and, complementing it with some lovely chicken and peppers fajita-style, it worked super well for us. And it will for you too! Perhaps. One can only hope. Ingredients
- 1 cup rice
- 1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- ½ yellow onion, diced
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 1 ½ tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp cumin powder
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- 2 tbsp chopped japalenos
- Ground black pepper
In a large skillet or deep frying pan, lightly fry the onions and rice until the rice browns up and the onions are somewhat translucent. Add the garlic and fry a bit more, letting the aroma caress your nose haha. Once that’s accomplished, add the can of tomatoes. Now I added it liquid and all, and since it had sodium in it, I refrained from adding any more salt until the end, just for some taste. You can drain it if you like, it might even be better as far as the next step is concerned: adding water. I completely winged it to be honest, using the now empty tomato can to add water, first one full can and then about a quarter. That looked about right… Yeah, it’s adventurous times in Alya’s kitchen! Living on the wild side folks.
Anyhoo, add all the spices and jalapenos, bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer… Evidently I guessed right with the water because the rice turned out to a perfect consistency, not mushy but just soft enough to melt in your mouth! And that’s all. Talk about easy!
Like I mentioned earlier, I served this with chicken and peppers. The chicken was the same kind I used for the Mandarin Chicken Salad, prepared similarly, just a different marinade: crushed garlic, lots of lemon juice, olive oil, salt, cumin and red pepper.
I sliced onions and sweet bell peppers (the small kind you can buy in a package), not super thin, just nice healthy slices , for a healthy dish hehe. Anyhoo, in a small frying pan, I added some oil and on medium started to soften all the onions and peppers. Once they got to a consistency I like to bite into, I added some black pepper, red chili flakes, and about a tsp of honey, and then turned the heat up so they could get a slight smoky crunch. Only cooked it this way for 2-3 minutes tops, and then bam! Veggies done. The chicken I again sliced up once cooked, and finally tossed that into the veggies so they could meld their flavors together, squeezing some extra lemon on top.
Fancy shmancy dishes that take so little effort! Just gotta love it, no? Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures of the chicken but you can imagine how tangy and citrusy it was with the lemon tang enhancing the spices, while the slight honey touch both added a contrast of sweetness and a beautiful glistening to the veggies. And coupled with the zesty rice?? Priceless.
Ah, good times.