Helpful Tips

How to Make Green Rice: Mexican and Indian Dishes

Mexican Arroz Verde

If you’re tired of the same plain white or brown rice, learning how to make green rice can be a total gamechanger come mealtime. It can be perfectly paired with your favorite Mexican dishes, or you can add a lean protein source such as chicken and make it into the main course. There are many different variations of this green rice recipe, but I’ve included two popular recipe options. The first is a classic Mexican dish, while the second is a popular Indian dish.

How to make green rice can vary depending on the recipe. Some recipes will call for toasting the rice prior to boiling, while other recipes will require the rice to be steamed or boiled before adding the broth or sauce. Many green rice recipes will share the same ingredients such as lime, garlic, onions, and cilantro. The type of green rice you make should depend on your main entrée. If you’re making tacos, enchiladas or another type of main Mexican dish, obviously go with a green rice recipe that’s Mexican inspired. If you’re making your favorite Indian dish, then a rice recipe that’s Indian inspired as well will complement your entrée nicely. And remember, don’t be afraid to experiment and add your own special ingredients or increase the veggie content for rice that’s loaded with vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients.

Mexican Green Rice

This particular green rice recipe requires only seven ingredients. The recipe itself will begin by preparing the broth, which is green. To make the broth you’ll blend:

  • Water
  • Jalapenos
  • Cilantro
  • Salt

Use two cups of white rice. Rinse the rice prior to cooking and set it aside. The rice should be prepared in a large skillet over medium heat, and cooked until lightly toasted. In another skillet, before adding the rice, sauté two crushed garlic cloves and half a sweet onion in butter or olive oil until tender, then add the rice. Mix well and cook for a few minutes in order to add some toasty flavor to the rice.

The green broth should be added next. Bring the rice and broth to a low boil, stirring occasionally. Turn down the heat, cover the rice and allow it to simmer. The rice should be cooked until it’s tender, approximately eighteen to twenty minutes.

Mexican Green Rice

In order to achieve fluffy rice that’s not overcooked, make sure you just cover the rice with the broth, the rice should not be swimming in it. Doing so will result in soggy or mushy rice.

Set a timer for twenty minutes and avoid taking the lid off until the timer goes off. If you remove the lid frequently then you’re allowing the steam to escape which means it will take the rice longer to cook. This can also result in rice that’s unevenly cooked.

Once the timer goes off, switch off the heat and allow the rice to remain in the covered skillet for ten minutes, without removing the lid. This will allow the moisture to be redistributed throughout the pan which will also prevent the rice from becoming too sticky or mushy.

When it’s finally time to take the lid off, you should be left with rice that’s fluffy and tender, and green in color.

Pair This Rice With

This rice is the perfect side dish for any Mexican or Spanish entrée. It will also go well with herb baked fish. As I mentioned earlier, you can also add cooked chunked chicken breast and turn this into a main dish. This rice is very versatile so it works well as a standalone dish, or it can be paired with home-cooked pinto beans and freshly made corn tortillas.

Baking Options

Some cooks recommend using this rice for a baked chicken dish, which will give the rice a nice crunchy layer on top. To do, add the rice to your almost fully cooked chicken breasts, which should also be baked. Next, lower the heat in the oven and cook the rice and chicken together in the same dish for an additional fifteen minutes. You can also add more toppings such as salsa or cheese, or even black beans, corn salsa, or pinto beans. The possibilities are endless.

Side Note: The rice should be added when there are only five minutes left of cooking time for the breasts. When the rice is added, leave the dish uncovered and turn the oven down to three hundred and fifty degrees. Make sure you check the doneness of the chicken breasts before removing the dish. In order to achieve a crunchier crust on the rice, you can turn the oven up to four hundred and fifty degrees for the last five minutes of the cooking process. However, if you do so, make sure you hold off adding any cheese until this time in order to prevent burning it.

Indian Green Rice

This version of green rice is much different than the Mexican green rice dish, however, it packs the same type of flavor and makes a great side or main dish.

This dish can be prepared using brown or basmati rice. However, you can also use jasmine rice as well.

Preparation time is only fifteen to twenty minutes, with a cook time of thirty minutes. To make, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • Three tablespoons of olive oil
  • Fifteen large spinach leaves
  • Three cups of cooked basmati rice
  • Half a cup of peas
  • Two cups of chicken broth
  • ¼ piece of green capsicum
  • Three finely chopped garlic cloves
  • One teaspoon of cumin
  • Half a white onion
  • Salt to taste
  • Two teaspoons of lemon juice

Unlike the Mexican version, for this Indian dish, you can use the best Japanese rice cooker to prepare the rice. The rice doesn’t need to be toasted and then boiled. For this dish, most of the cooking focuses on preparing the sauce, which is thicker than the green broth from the first recipe.

Indian food Tawa Pulao

I recommend using the Tiger JKT-S18U Multipurpose rice cooker. Using a rice cooker means the rice will be cooked to perfection, for a total hands-off cooking process that will free you up to focus on preparing the sauce.

Begin making the dish by sautéing the onion and garlic in the olive oil. Add the spinach but remove from the heat promptly in order to avoid overcooking the spinach. Add the chicken broth, peas, cumin, capsicum, salt, and basmati rice. Turn the heat down to low and cover. The dish should cook for ten minutes, stirring periodically.

Vegan Rice Dish

If you’re a vegan or vegetarian and you’re looking for a hearty main dish, feel free to add more green veggies such as edamame for a great source of protein, broccoli, and more spinach.

However, it’s important to note, if you’re going to turn this into a main dish that’s loaded with veggies, I recommend cooking the veggies prior to adding them to the rice, otherwise, you can easily overcook the rice.

Related Questions

How Do You Make Spanish Rice?

This rice has as many recipe variations as green rice, if not more. The basic recipe calls for half an onion, two cloves of crushed garlic, two cups of rice, one cup of tomato sauce, one cup of chicken broth, and salt to taste. The onion and garlic should be sautéed in oil prior to adding the rice. The rice should be cooked and stirred until it’s a light golden brown. Add the tomato sauce, chicken broth, and one cup of water. Cover the rice and allow it to cook on low for half an hour. Like the green rice, avoid taking the lid off as the rice cooks to prevent the steam from escaping and unevenly cooked rice.

How Do You Cook Jasmine Rice?

Jasmine rice is just one type of white rice. It’s very fragrant, fluffy, and packing some serious flavor. It can also be cooked in a variety of ways, whether you want to boil it, fry, it or steam it. If you want fluffy jasmine rice, then steaming or cooking it in a rice cooker is the best and easiest method. Boiling jasmine rice can be tricky since it cooks much faster than other varieties which makes it easy to overcook.

Can You Use Brown Rice for Green Rice Recipes?

You can, but I don’t recommend doing so. Why? Because brown rice is one of the easiest types of rice to undercook or overcook. It has a much longer cooking time compared to white rice. If you do plan on using brown rice, I recommend finding a green rice recipe that specifically calls for brown rice.

Final Thoughts

If you’re searching for recipes that can teach you how to make green rice, you won’t find a shortage of different takes on this type of classic dish. Some recipes are more Mexican inspired, while others will be Indian inspired. Overall, you’ll find that most green rice dishes are pretty versatile, so you can feel free to add your own unique touch to each recipe, such as a dash of lime juice or more chilis for a spicier version.