Gratinated Mexican rice

One of my favorite dishes growing up which mom would pull together for dinner parties was her rendition of Spanish rice.   Back in those days exotic ingredients were hard to come by and she made do with what was available.   I’ve had her recipe with me for 15 odd years and have never attempted to make it once but Saturday night was an opportunity to try it out.  We had invited some friends over for dinner and decided to go with a Mexican theme.   I have taken mom’s recipe as a base and made a few tweaks before rechristening it gratinated Mexican rice!   The dish was a hit with our guests and hope you enjoy making it.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 2 1/2 cups cooked rice (long grain or even Basmati)
  • 1 large onion sliced
  • 1 green pepper sliced thinly
  • 1 stick of celery sliced
  • 1 carrot chopped into tiny pieces
  • 4-5 baby corn chopped into bite size pieces
  • Handful of green beans trimmed and chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • Handful of fresh coriander chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp chipotle chili paste
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Salt to taste

For the garnish

  • 1 tomato sliced
  • 1 red pepper sliced
  • 3-4 tbsp pickled jalapenos
  • 2 sprigs of green onion chopped
  • 50 gms of mature cheddar cheese

How much will I make?

Serves 6

How do I make it?

First par boil the carrot, beans and baby corn.  Then heat a wok/kadai, add oil first before sauteing the garlic for a minute.   Add the sliced onions, green pepper and celery and cook till the onions start turning golden brown.   Add the chipotle paste, sprinkle cumin powder and chopped tomatoes and continue cooking till fat begins to leave the mixture.   Stir in the par boiled vegetables, adjust the seasoning and cook for another 5 minutes.   Switch off the heat and garnish with fresh chopped coriander.  Once the cooked rice has cooled stir in the masala and prepare the dish to be grilled.

Assembling the dish 

Transfer the mixed rice into a large rectangular oven proof dish.   Sprinkle the cheddar cheese evenly over the top.   Arrange the red pepper, tomato and jalapenos on top of the cheese.  Sprinkle the chopped spring onion and grill under a pre heated oven at 220 degrees Centigrade till the cheese melts, bubbles and turns golden brown.   Serve with a fresh tomato salsa or mango salsa as we did (1 large ripe mango cubed, 1 red chilli de-seeded and finely chopped, juice of half a lime and salt/pepper to taste).

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