Mexican rice belongs to an unusual category of Mexican dishes called sopas secas, or “dry soups.”To make a sopa seca, slowly cook a starchy food such as rice, noodles, or cut-up tortillas in a soup broth. Eventually all the broth is absorbed by the starch, leaving “dry” soup. Dry soups are served as a separate course before the meat course.

Mexican Rice

1 c. uncooked white rice
4 c. tomato juice
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
4 tbsp. butter or margarine
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. salt
1/2 green bell pepper, cleaned out and chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 1/2 c. chopped onion
2 large tomatoes, chopped, or 1 8-oz. can whole tomatoes, cut up with a spoon
1. Rinse and drain rice. Dry on paper towels.

2. In a saucepan, heat tomato juice.

3. While the juice heats, heat oil in a large frying pan and fry raw rice over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it turns light brown (about 10 to 15 minutes).

4. Add the tomato juice to the rice in the frying pan. Add the rest of the ingredients, cover, and cook over low heat until tomato juice is absorbed and rice is soft (about 20 minutes).

Cooking time: 35 to 40 minutes
Serves 4 to 6

A traditional Mexican meal isn’t complete without arroz mexicano.