Yellow rice is served in virtually every Latin culture. It can be served plain, with beans, diced ham or with corn kernels. Many times saffron is used in place of annatto for the coloring.
Here is my simple yet tasty recipe for yellow rice and corn, which goes well with just about any meal, whether it's Latin-themed or not.
If you are using annatto/achiote oil for the coloring agent, the sazón packet is not necessary. If you forget, the dish won't be ruined, but it may turn out orange instead of yellow.
You can use pre-made commercial recaito, but nothing beats the taste of homemade sofrito.
The secret to soft fluffy rice is to keep the lid on during cooking. The trapped steam cook's the rice perfectly. Every time you lift the lid you let the steam out and lower the cooking temperature inside the pot.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or 2 tablespoons annatto/achiote oil)
- 2 to 4 tablespoons homemade Puerto Rican sofrito (AKA recaito)
- 1 packet sazón with annatto (Not needed if you are using annatto/achiote oil)
- 10 pimiento-stuffed Spanish Manzanilla olives (whole or chopped)
- 1 bay laurel leaf
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup corn kernels (drained - you can use fresh, frozen or canned)
- 1 cup long-grain white rice
- 2 cups of water (or chicken broth)
- Heat the extra virgin olive oil (or annatto/achiote oil if using) in a pot over medium heat. When hot enough, add the sofrito and saute lightly until fragrant - about 1 or 2 minutes.
- Add the sazón packet (if using), Spanish Manzanilla olives, bay laurel leaf, salt and pepper. Stir the mixture to combine the ingredients.
- When the mixture starts to bubble, add the corn kernels and rice. Thoroughly stir the mixture again to coat the rice and corn with color.
- Slowly pour in the water (or chicken broth), stirring as you do so. Bring the ingredients to a rolling boil. Allow it to boil for 1 to 2 minutes, and then stir the rice mixture again.
- Reduce the heat to low and cover with a tight fitting lid that will not allow steam to escape. No peaking. Do not lift the lid during the cooking time. You want to keep the steam in there to cook the rice.
- Continue to cook over low heat for 30 minutes.
- Remove the lid and fluff the rice. Then cover again, remove from the heat, and let it sit a few minutes more before serving.