Mexican Yellow Rice

Being Asian, I love all kinds of rice... and when eating a Mexican inspired dinner, I tend to prepare Mexican rice as part of the menu. This recipe allowed me to use an ingredient I don't work with very often, achiote. I'm most familiar with achiote seeds, which is added to water or broth when cooking to impart a beautiful color (similar to saffron.) The recipe below calls for achiote powder or paste, which is much easier to work with, since achiote seeds tend to stain hands and fingers if you're not careful.

Mexican Yellow Rice
recipe slightly adapted from Recipezaar

1 cup long grain white rice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons ground achiote powder
1 small white onion, finely minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 jalapeno, finely minced (optional)
fresh cilantro leaves or sliced green onions for garnish

Place the rice in a heat-proof bowl and pour enough boiling water to cover. Let rice stand 20 minutes. Drain, then rinse under cool water. Drain again.

Heat the oil in a saucepan on medium heat. Add the achiote powder and cook for about 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add the minced onion and garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes or until the onion is translucent.

Stir in the rice, toss to coat and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. (The rice will want to stick to the bottom of the pan, so scrape it up using a metal spatula.).

Pour in the broth, mix well and bring rice to a boil.
Lower the heat, cover the pan and simmer 25-30 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.

Just before serving, add the minced jalapeno if using, season to taste with salt. Transfer the rice to a serving dish and garnish with fresh cilantro leaves or stir in the sliced green onions.

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