Coming home from abroad, I would always insist on picking up some Mexican food from the local taqueria on my way home from the airport after a long flight. My go-to dish was arroz con pollo (chicken with rice), which I would have been craving for months. I would ignore my mom who would say, ‘You know this is Mexican junk food, right?’ Yeah, AND????? Who cares, I love it. God Bless the taqueria!
As trips home become fewer and far between, I started experimenting at home with how to replicate it at home in my Asian apartment kitchen. Although not exactly like the original dish I so dearly love, I’m happy to report that this recipe hits the spot when I’m craving a bit of home. Not only that, it’s a fairly easy one pot meal to make in a hurry which is great if you are a busy mom like me.
1 1/2 cup long grained rice (rinsed and drained)
5 cups (a little under 1.2 L ) water
4 chicken bouillon cubes
1 cup peas (fresh or frozen, either is good)
2 cups (150g) sliced button mushrooms
2 red ripe tomatoes
1 small onion
3 garlic cloves
a small handful of cilantro (washed and drained)
1 1/2 tsp lime juice
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp Mexican Chile powder
1/4 tsp dried oregano
pinch of red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp sea salt
sprinkling of black pepper
5 oz (142 g) grated cheddar cheese (or more if you are a cheese freak)
2-3 tbsp vegetable oil
2-3 chicken breasts (diced into 2 cm chunks)
1. In a food processor, combine tomatoes, onion, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, cumin, Mexican Chile powder, oregano, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Blitz in the food processor until you have reached the desired texture of your salsa (this can be completely smooth or a little chunky-the choice is yours!)
2. In a medium saucepan, add bouillon cubes to water and bring to a boil. Once at a boil and cubes have completely dissolved to make a broth, reduce heat to low and let simmer.
3. In a large skillet with a lid, heat 2 tbsp oil on medium high heat. Add peas and mushrooms and sauté until vegetables have picked up color (about 2-3 minutes).
4. Add rice to pan and toast with peas and mushrooms for a 1-2 minutes.
5. Add tomato salsa and stir. Cook for 1-2 minutes to allow the rice to take on the moisture in the salsa.
6. Add diced chicken and stir together. Cook for 1-2 minutes until chicken is no longer pink.
7. Add 1 cup of chicken broth to rice mixture, stir and continue cooking on high heat until the majority of the liquid has absorbed into the rice then add another 1 cup, stir and cook until that liquid has absorbed.
8. Add remainder of the chicken broth and turn down heat to allow a low simmer. Cover and cook for about 10-15 minutes or until rice is cooked thoroughly (cooked through but firm and not mushy) The rice should be cooked but with a good amount of sauce remaining.
9.Turn off heat and stir in some grated cheese. Serve with tortilla chips and your favorite hot sauce