Chicken Fiesta Rice

Ever since I moved to the States, I’ve fallen in love with Mexican cuisine and Mexican flavors. We never had a lot of Mexican joints in India, and it always baffled me as to why not? It uses a lot of spices, herbs and flavors that are very common in India, but for some reason it never caught on. Anyway, I love it!  So I came up with this recipe of what I call Fiesta rice. It’s almost like a salad and it can be made ahead, refrigerated and eaten cold, but I prefer it warm as my main dish. I even added some chicken to the dish to make it a more rounded one-dish meal.

I added a dash of adobo sauce from a can of chipotle peppers to lend the dish some heat. However, you can use less or skip it if you’re not a fan of spicy food. I added 3 teaspoons of the adobo sauce (though I put down 2 teaspoons for the recipe, cos it’s a better measure for most palates) and while it wasn’t hot while eating it, it had a definite little kick to the after taste. Feel free to play around with the ingredients and flavors to suit your taste but here’s a look at the recipe I made…

Chicken Fiesta Rice Recipe

1/2 onion
3-4 cloves garlic
4 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 1/2 cup rice
2 tbsp tomato paste
3 cups of boiling water
1 tsp oregano
2 tsp chipotle pepper adobo sauce
Juice of 1 lime (about 2 tbsp)
1 (15oz) can black beans, drained & rinsed
1 cup frozen corn kernels, cooked
1/4 bell pepper
1/2 tomato or 1 small one
Handful of cilantro, chopped
1 cup of shredded cooked chicken
Salt to taste

– Finely dice half an onion and mince, 3-4 cloves of garlic.
– Heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a deep pan.
– Toss in the chopped onion and sautee it for a while until it turns soft and translucent.
– Then add the garlic and let it cook for a minute or two.
– Add the rice and fry with the onion and garlic for a couple minutes, coating each grain with the oil.
– Measure 2 tablespoons of tomato paste and add it to the rice, along with 3 cups of boiling water.
– Season the rice with salt and a teaspoon of dried oregano.
– Put a lid on the pot and turn the heat down to a low simmer and let the rice cook for about 20 minutes or until tender.
– While the rice is cooking, in a large mixing bowl pour in 2 tablespoons or so of olive oil.
– Add to it 1-2 teaspoons of adobo sauce from a can of “Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce”, squeeze in the juice of one whole lime, season it generously with salt and whisk everything together to make a dressing.
– To the dressing, add one can of black beans (drained and rinsed), one cup of cooked corn kernels, some finely diced bell pepper & tomato (de-seeded).
– Then sprinkle a handful of freshly chopped cilantro and add the cooked chicken to the mix (I used rotisserie chicken shredded).
– Toss everything together to coat it with the dressing.
– Once the rice is cooked, add it to the vegetable & bean mix, while it’s still warm and toss it all well.
– Serve warm with lime wedges and some fresh cilantro over the top.

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