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Side Dish Recipe

Mom’s Rice

Josef Centano

Mom’s Rice

Josef Centano

My mom’s rice was requested at all family gatherings. The key to mak­ing Mexican red rice is to toast the grains briefly first, so they won’t stick together and will puff up during cooking. That first sauté also gives the rice a slightly nutty flavor. My mom’s secret ingredient is tomato-vegetable juice, which gives it loads of flavor.

Serves 6 to 8


2 tablespoons avocado oil
2 cups [400 g] good-quality long-grain rice
1 large shallot, or 1/4 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups [360 ml] tomato-vegetable juice
3 cups [720 ml] vegetable broth, chicken broth, or water
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves


Heat the oil in a sauté or another high-sided pan, preferably nonstick, over medium-high heat until hot and shimmering. Add the rice and toast, stirring occasionally, until light gold, about 5 minutes. Add the shallot and garlic, and sauté until fragrant, 1 minute.

Add the tomato-vegetable juice, broth (or water), and salt. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the liquid is fully absorbed. Keep an eye on it; if it’s absorbed before the rice is tender, add a little more stock, starting with a few tablespoons. Fluff the rice with a fork and stir in the parsley and cilantro. Serve immediately.

Reprinted from Ama by Josef Centeno and Betty Hallock with permission by Chronicle Books, 2019.

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