I love Mexican food – probably because it has a lot in common with Indian food. In both cuisines there is a lot of use of onions, garlic, tomatoes, cumin, coriander and of course various kinds of chilies. I got particularly addicted to Mexican food a couple of summers ago when my son’s best friend from high school stayed with us for the whole summer. This young man is from Mexico and his parents run a couple of restaurants in Mexico, so he grew up around food and that too really good food. I call him my Mexican son and while stayed at our place, he taught me a thing or two about Mexican cooking (he from the province of Michoacan and he told me that his recipes reflect that). The one thing that I really wanted to learn from him but didn’t manage to during his stay was how to make Mexican style tomato infused rice (this is my favorite thing to eat at any genuine Mexican or Tex-mex place). He has promised to get me his family’s traditional recipe but in the meantime, I looked through Mexican cookbooks and even some websites and came up with my own version of Mexican rice. On days when I am going vegetarian (Meatless Mondays or any other day) I now make Mexican rice with refried beans. Although today is Monday, just to switch up the recipe a bit, I decided to add some shrimp to the rice and boy, did this work wonders for the rice!!! This Mexican Shrimp and Rice came out really good and is definitely a keeper.
1. 2 cups of long grain rice
2. 3/4 lbs of large peeled and de-veined uncooked shrimp
3. One medium sized red onion
4. 34- cloves of garlic
5. 1 cup of tomato sauce (homemade or jarred – I used homemade)
6. 1.5 tablespoons of coriander seeds
7. 2 teaspoons of taco seasoning (make your own or use store bought one)
8. 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
9. Salt to taste
10. 1 green chili (less if you don’t like it spicy)
11. Salt to taste
12. 1 cup of chicken stock
13. 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (or any cooking oil, I prefer olive oil)
1. Peel and finely dice the onion
2. In a heavy bottom pot, pour the olive oil and start heating it on low heat.
3. Add the onions to the hot oil and stir
7. When the onions look a little translucent (takes about 3-4 minutes on low to medium heat), add the shrimp and stir. Do not cook the shrimp all the way through because they have to cook with the rice. I used extra large shrimp (15-18 per lb) but if you are using smaller shrimp that will take less time to cook, please add the rice to the pot first and also the liquid (tomato sauce and chicken stock) and when the rice is half way done, then add the shrimp. This ensures that the shrimp does not get over-cooked.
11. Add the salt, taco seasoning to the pot. Stir everything together. If you are using store-bought Taco seasoning, add less salt because it already has salt in it.
12. Cover the pot with a lid and cook the rice over low heat.
13. The rice should be cooked in about 10 minutes but please check at intervals of 2-3 minutes and if it looks like the rice is sticking to the bottom of the pan, add a little bit of water and stir everything. Different varieties of rice need varying amounts of water/liquid to cook completely and so I gave an approximate amount of liquid here – you may have to adjust it a little bit according to the kind of rice of rice you use.
14. Garnish the Shrimp and Rice with some fresh cilantro and a slice of fresh lemon
15. I served the Shrimp and Rice with a side of re-fried beans and some pico de gallo. It was magnificent!!!