Do you know that I just realized that I do not have a recipe for standard Spanish rice??! I don't know how this happened since rice is such a staple of all Latin food and definitely comida tipica from El Salvador. Rice is almost always served with lunch or dinner and most mommy's have a pot of cooked rice in their kitchen on a daily basis just in case somebody gets hungry and wants some. Traditional "Spanish Rice" is honestly really easy to make. You just need to know a few secrets that will make it taste authentic just like abuelita's. Once you know the secrets, making Spanish rice will take you no time at all.
To start you will need three main ingredients. You can add others to add more flavor or texture, but the main three you need to make rice are: Oil, rice, and seasoning. Today I used a vegetarian seasoning that is very flavorful and also commonly used in Spanish rice. It contains no animals products so for all my vegetarians out there please know that you can still eat flavorful food if you are vegetarian or vegan. The seasoning I used is called Sazon Goya con Azafran (sassafras). Sassafras is what what gives the rice that traditional "yellow rice" color seen in Spanish dishes. My only warning is that because sassafras is yellow, this seasoning will give your fingers a yellow color. And please do not wear any clothes that you don't want splashed with yellow drops. I always try to wear and old shirt when I use this seasoning, and definitely not anything white! Here is what my recipe looks like:
Spanish Rice Ingredients:
-1/4 cup oil (my husband likes corn oil, I like olive oil, you can really use whatever you like)
-1 cup parboiled rice
-1 packet of sazon goya
-1 tsp of salt (sprinkle in more if feel it needs more, use less if like less salt)
-4.5 cups of cold water (add little more later on if you feel rice not tender enough)
Now let's get to talking about some of the secrets you need to know if you want authentic tasting Spanish rice. The first secret is that you need to use a specific type of rice. You want to use parboiled rice. If you use a different type of rice, the rice will either turn out super mushy, or it will take forever and ever to cook, and probably turn out undercooked or overcooked and mushy. Parboiled rice is a very important for ingredient for restaurant quality rice.
The second secret is that you want to cook, or "toast", the rice in hot oil BEFORE you add water to it. This helps to harden up the rice and prevent it from being super mushy or watery when it's finished cooking.
Once you have toasted your rice for a minute or two, you are now free to add your water. It is better to add less water than more, and you can always add more water if you need it, but if you start by putting way too much water in, it will ruin the rice and reduce the flavor of it. I like to add a little water as I go, so when the rice looks like it has soaked up all the water and still isn't tender enough, I add a little more, and keep going until the rice tastes tender enough. Then I just cover the pot and turn the stove off, and let the rice continue to cook slowly for a little longer until somebody wants some. My family like butter in their rice, so sometimes I will add a few pats of butter into the cooking rice, but this is not necessary and abuelita would not approve of this, so this is really up to you to do this.
If your rice doesn't come out perfect, don't panic! After a few times of making it you should be a pro!