Many childhood memories come to my mind when I think about this recipe. I cannot speak on behalf of every Mexican family, but in mine, white rice was like a ‘children’s dish’ the one that everybody could eat because it had no spices, it had some sweetness to it and it would prepare you to deal better with any spices that the main course could contain.
In Mexico, rice is a versatile accompaniment to countless main courses, this is why we always ensure that it has a colour. Today, we will get started with a lazy version of the white rice, and we will progress by increasing the level of complexity in each post related to rice. I will also explain what rice-colour-style is the most appropriate for certain dishes.
A funny fact is that due to popular believe that cooking a ‘beautiful’ rice is complex, this is recognized as one of the dishes that if well executed, then people will throw compliments linked to marriage: Yes, marriage! We often use a funny and casual expression when it comes to cooking: she is ready to get married! (they say, as they enjoy a nicely prepared meal) I know this may sound disturbing for some people, but it means no offense in Mexican culture, it is actually a great compliment.
We require just a few ingredients:
- 1 cup of rice
- 2 cups of boiling water
- 1 Plantain (In Dublin, you can find this in the Asian shops, I recommend the ‘Asia Market’ in Drury Street, you will get 3 of them for about 1 or 2 euros)
- 1 Cup of oil
Simply cover and leave it to cook, in Mexico it is believed (at least in Mexico City) that ‘rice is jealous’ this means, do not get too busy while you leave the rice cooking or it will burn! but do not move it with a spoon either, this will spoil its shape and consistency, simply keep an eye in it and keep the lid always covering the rice.
While our rice is cooking, peel the plantain* and cut it in slices. In a pot pour cooking oil, just enough for frying, but I would not recommend that you use a fryer at home because the oil may not be as fresh and this will change the flavour of the chips.
*Note: The best plantains for frying, are those that are nearly black and feel soft when you touch them, you will find plantains very green, avoid them or simply wrap them in a paper bag and place them close to a warm place. After a couple of days they will mature and then they will be ready for frying.
Once that the oil is hot, throw the slices of plantain to fry.
Turn the plantains from time to time, until golden.
Once golden, remove from the oil and place on a paper towel in order to absorb the excess of oil. When your rice is ready, simply serve the rice and the plantain chips on top. White rice is generally served in coast-style food and seafood dishes.