White Rice with Corn and Poblano Strips

Although rice (Oryza sp.) was first brought to Mexico from Spain, the great adaptability of the plant made it a standard crop in Mexican parcels, and a traditional ingredient in Mexican kitchens.  I have talked about corn, a true Mexican crop, both in past posts and in my “Word of the Day” section.  As for the peppers, Poblano means “from Puebla”, which is the Mexican state where the famous Cinco de Mayo battle took place, but it is also recognized for having one of the finest cuisines in Mexico.  There are so many delicious dishes using those dark-green and shiny peppers, that they are now cultivated all around the world; the Government and the farming community of Puebla are trying to obtain a Protected Designation of Origin (like Champagne, etc.) for the true Poblano pepper [1].   The following recipe is for a classic dish everywhere in Mexico, and includes all three ingredients.  Many recipes call for raw Poblano peppers, added to the rice during cooking time, but I much prefer to roast them separately and add as a topping at the end.  The flavour and aroma added this way is well worth the extra step (in the ingredient list, I include a link to my detailed instructions on how to roast and prepare Poblanos.)

Printable Recipe – White Rice with corn and Poblano Strips

White Rice with Corn and Poblano Strips

Ingredients:

2 cups dry long grain rice
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. vegetable oil
2 pieces white onion
1 clove garlic, peeled and cut in half
4 cups water, plus warm water for soaking
1 tsp salt, or to taste
1 cup corn kernels (fresh off-the-cob, frozen, or drained from can)
2 Poblano peppers, roasted, seeded, peeled and cut into strips

(how to prep Poblanos, click here)

Directions:

Place rice in a container, and pour warm water over to cover; let rest for 10 minutes.  Rinse thoroughly and drain in a colander.  In a large pot, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat, then add rice:

 

Stir and coat rice with the oil, until it becomes translucent; add onions and garlic, and sauté for another 3 minutes until fragrant.  Add four cups of water, and salt to taste:

 

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat.  Place a wooden spoon at the edge of the pot, and top with lid, to cover the rice while leaving a narrow opening between the pot and the lid.  Let simmer undisturbed until bubbles start to produce holes on the surface of the rice, about 20 minutes:

 

Add corn, scattered on top (do not mix).  Turn off the heat, but leave pot on burner; remove spoon and cover pot completely with lid.  Let rest for 10 minutes, or until the rice absorbs the remaining liquid.  Meanwhile, sauté the Poblano strips in one teaspoon of oil over low heat:

 

When rice has dried, remove onions and garlic from the pot and discard; fluff rice with a fork, mixing with the corn kernels.  Serve with Poblano strips on top (photo at the top of the post), or on the side, for those who prefer their rice without peppers:

Mexican white rice with corn and poblano strips My Slice of Mexico

This rice is very versatile, served as a course on its own, or as a side for stews, steak, grilled chicken or fish; it also makes a delicious vegetarian meal when paired with black beans.  For a different flavour, omit corn and peppers, or substitute with chopped carrots and peas.

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