In Spanish, arroz = rice, rojo = red.

Rice first came to Mexico from the Phillipines in the 1500s through the Spanish galleon (trade ship) “Nao de China” (Ship from China), anchored in Acapulco.

Since then, rice has been extensively cultivated in the Veracruz region, and is a staple on the Mexican menu.

The history of rice in Mexico .

We set about making Arroz Rojo with the biggest onion we had ever seen, brought to us by our Mexican friend Susanna. She got it from her friend who works on an onion farm. She says we ain’t seen nothing yet. She’s got bigger ones in her house.

In Susanna’s village in Guadalajara, for special occasions, rice is cooked pilaf style, either as Arroz Rojo (in a red tomatoey sauce), or as Arroz Verde (green, with fresh chillies like poblanos.)

A common flavouring for red rice in her home is Mexican chili powder – a mixture of ancho and cayenne chili powder with cumin, dried oregano and garlic powder. (Recipe HERE). Smoky Spanish paprika is a decent substitute for ancho chilli powder.

That was the only addition we made to this recipe by Rick Bayless - the linguistics scholar and celebrity chef who popularised authentic Mexican cuisine in the US.

Arroz Rojo a la Mexicana (Mexican Red Tomato Rice)

(adapted from Rick Bayless’s recipe @

1.5 cups of medium-grained rice
a couple of times and spread the grains out on a towel to dry for a couple of hours.

one 15 ounce can of whole tomatoes.

Reserve the liquid. Blend the whole tomatoes to a puree with
1 cup white onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, halved

(If using crushed or diced canned tomatoes, use 1 cup)

3 medium or 4 small whole tomatoes.
Broil or grill them until the skins are charred.
Peel, chop finely and keep aside.

Fry the rice grains in
1.5 tablespoons light olive oil or vegetable oil (lard is usually used)
for 4-5 mts until toasty on a medium flame.

Add tomato-onion-garlic puree and
1 cup carrots chopped into 1/4 inch cubes.

Cook for 3 minutes until dry-looking.

vegetable broth/water plus reserved tomato liquid – 1.75 cups total (traditionally chicken broth is used)
3 slit fresh serrano or jalapeno chillies,
1/2 tsp Mexican chilli powder
**or a mixture of paprika, cayenne, cumin, garlic powders and dried oregano
1/4 cup chopped parsley or cilantro
salt to taste

Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook on medium-low for 15 minutes. Check after 10 to see if you need more liquid.

Add the chopped roasted tomatoes and
3/4 cup frozen peas.

Cover and cook for 5 more minutes or unil the rice is cooked. Let it sit for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork, and serve.

Arroz Rojo is traditionally served with chicken or beef in a mole or a stew.

This is our entry for Dhivya’s A.W.E.D @ Culinary Bazaar.

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  1. Nupur says:

    How perfectly delicious! I can almost taste it.

  2. sra says:

    Onionosaurus rex! :D

  3. sushma says:

    Simply.. superbous..

  4. aa says:

    Oh this is amazing! Like Nupur says, I can almost taste it — it looks (and strangely, already, smells) delicious :)

  5. musical says:

    Sumptuous! Love the look of those tomatoes :) and i find those huge onions so cool, cut one onion and use it in 4-5 different dishes :-D

  6. Oh, really, look at those tomatoes! So very very nice. I can actually taste them as I look at them. There is just something about tomatoes, isnt there? Your rice dish will make a nice brunch if I can get off of this blogging seat and start cooking.

  7. Meera says:

    Absolutely droolworthy picture.

  8. sunita says:

    Lovely rice…and I also like the onionosaurus rex :)

  9. Anh says:

    Beautiful photos and a even more delicious recipe!

  10. Deepa says:

    Awesome ….Pics look great

  11. lathanarasimhan says:

    Nice pictures! looks delicious! :) Spanish seems to be a sweet language! I liked the name in spanish! :)

  12. Miri says:

    Rich looking rice – sounds delicious. I thought all Mexican rice recipes had roasted peppers pureed along with the tomatoes…..this one is much more simpler and hassle free!

  13. Siri says:

    :D The color of the rice is tooo good! :love:

    ~ Siri

  14. Happy Cook says:

    Delicious looking rice.
    I can just eat the grilled tomatoes just loke that with bread yumm.
    You guys make suuc a variety of dishes

  15. Seema says:

    Looks Yum!! What a perfect colour & if only i could taste some….

  16. rachel says:

    hey lovely recipe again..And i love :hmm: that red bowl!!! great pics! :bow:

    And have mailed you bee regarding what I meant by cooking butter :)

  17. Rajitha says:

    the rice looks mexican rice but always felt something was missing when i made it at home..will try this..and that bowl is adorable!

  18. Carnation says:

    I usually make Mexican Rice using the store bought Rice mix from Knorr. Didn’t get good results when i tried it at home using a recipe i got over internet. This recipe sounds good. Tempting snaps also…Have to try it out :)

  19. lakshmi says:

    wait, did i hear you say there are onions bigger than this?

  20. Raaga says:

    looks lovely… a great lunchbox idea too :)

  21. Namratha says:

    Looks wholesome, and rice is a sure fav here…can good old Indian rice (sona masoori) be used for this too?


  22. rina says:

    I love tomatoe rice. Your bowl looks tempting and perfect, Bee :yes:

  23. [...] pickiest eaters. It is gluten free, nut free and vegan! A tempting dish with the flavors of Mexico, Arroz Rojo brings a great international flare to the [...]

  24. This sounds like a delicious and satisfying dish. Here in Peru, a meal is not a meal without rice!

  25. DK says:

    I have made them before although not included carrots. Good reason to add them seeing your snaps :) Thanks for sending them my way :)

  26. [...] rojo (red rice), and tamales (see this plate), rounded off with a sweet flan. We served ours with Arroz Rojo (Red Tomato [...]

    • roman says:

      [...] rojo (red rice), and tamales (see this plate), rounded off with a sweet flan. We served ours with Arroz Rojo (Red Tomato [...]

  27. josue says:

    me supo bien bueno sabes asi agan mucha comida buena

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