This family-famous Mexican rice is served with just about every meal one of our favorite abuela cocineras Gollita González serves her family. Her go-to side dish is a savory, golden-yellow, super-traditional arroz recipe that has been in her family forever.
As with most of the favorites in Gollita’s treasury of traditional recipes, this one begins with recaudo—the essential tomato, olive oil and garlic cooking base that gets most good things going in Mexican kitchens. (What sofrito is to Puerto Ricans, red-sauce ragú is to Italians, and sausages are to Germans: recaudo is to Mexicans, says one of Gollita’s three daughters, Ana González Quaid.) If you haven’t yet whipped up a batch of this tomato sauce-broth—to freeze in batches for future dishes—Gollita’s recaudo recipe is included below.
Rice is a daily staple at every Mexican—and just about every Latino—dinner table. It fills your belly, warms your home and nourishes your family. Ask any Latino cook, they’ll know: Arroz es vida. Rice is life.
Which is why it’s important to get yours delicious, not too wet, not too dry: just right. The key to making super-rico and traditional Mexican rice that’s not mushy is to let it sit after it’s cooked. Don’t lift that lid—resist the temptation (it’s hard, we know). Leave it alone for a good 10 minutes, at minimum, covered. This lets the the cooked rice grains—use long-grain, por favor, says Gollita—absorb all the steam and emerge moist but not watery, and nicely chewy with a solid al-dente to it. Fluff with a fork and you’re good to go.
If you’re lucky enough to have arroz leftovers, go ahead and freeze them. Mexican rice will taste just fine when thawed within 6 months and reheated stovetop or in the microwave. Just add 1 Tbsp or 2 of water, 1 tsp of oil, and a hint of salt to help it come back to full vida.
Ana learned to make recaudo when she left home for the first time and missed Gollita’s cooking. “I knew what it was and how it was made, but I never had to cook it myself until I went away to college. My mom learned it from her mom, when she was a young girl in a family of seven kids in San Luis Potosí, Mexico. She was one of the oldest and helped make meals and take care of the other kids.”
The absolutely best thing about this savory, delicioso family recipe for arroz Mexicano? According to Ana, who usually leaves the family-gathering cooking to her mom and sisters: “It’s just so simple.”
If you like this recipe, check out more recipes from Gollita’s family: her daughter Sagra’s shrimp, cucumber and chiles ceviche, her daughter Gracie’s chilaquiles verdes, her daughter Ana’s nopales with pickled jalapeños, her sister Nata’s pozole rojo, and her son-in-law Brian’s take on Gollita’s killer porkchops stewed with tomato sauce and onions. And last but not least is Gollita’s essential guacamole, the winner of Familia Kitchen’s Your Favorite Guacamole Recipe Contest!