Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month over Dinner

by Melanie Edwards | October 1, 2013 at 2:33 pm | comments

As we enter Hispanic Heritage Month (celebrated from September 15 – October 15), I am reminded that my culture is one I love to share – with my children and others interested in learning more. I grew up in a traditional Puerto Rican household, eating a lot of delicious and nutritious traditional Puerto Rican dishes that I now share with my own family. Passing on my Latino heritage to our children is important to me so they learn where their family comes from and why we keep these traditions alive. One of the best ways to pass on heritage is through food, which is why the Together CountsTM mission of encouraging families to eat well-balanced meals together is great for celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month and exposing your children to new cultures!

This recipe for yellow rice is a simple and delicious way to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at your own family table.

Puerto Rican Yellow Rice with Corn Recipe (in a Rice Cooker)
Serves 6 as a side dish

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups uncooked white rice, or about 1 handful per person
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable cooking oil
  • Sazón, 1 packet
  • 3 Tbsp tomato sauce
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp sofrito (or sauté ½ cup of finely diced peppers, onions and garlic together with olive oil, and and add to the pot)
  • 5-6 Spanish salad olives with pimientos
  • 1 can of yellow corn, drained
  • ½ cup frozen peas

To see pictures and links for these ingredients, see 5 Must-Have Ingredients for Cooking Puerto Rican Food

Directions:

  1. Put rice into your rice cooker’s pot and rinse the rice. If you’re not familiar with how to clean rice, it just means that you run it under water a couple of times and pick out the dark grains, pebbles, etc. To do this:
    • Fill pot with water and press rice with your hands.
    • Pick out anything that’s not a rice grain.
    • Pour out water, being careful not to lose any of the rice.
    • Repeat a few times until water pours out clear.
  2. Add water to the pot until the water sits just above the rice.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and stir.
  4. Taste the water. If you feel it needs more seasoning, you can add a little salt to your liking.
  5. Cover and set the rice cooker to cook. If you don’t have a rice cooker, cook covered on the stove, bringing the water to a boil, then reduce heat until the water is at a bare simmer, and cook until rice is done (18-25 min).

There will be no need to stir the rice while it cooks, though you certainly can do so once about mid-way through. Your rice should be done in about 35 minutes, if using a rice cooker, or 18-25 minutes on the stovetop. You will know it’s done when you taste the rice and it’s neither mushy nor tough.

You can serve your yellow rice with grilled chicken or fish and a side salad or steamed vegetables to round out a well-balanced meal. The great thing about this recipe is that it’s very flavorful and easy to cook! If you’d like to add dessert to your Hispanic Heritage Month celebratory meal, try these pastelitos (a puff pastry traditionally filled with guava). My strawberry and cream cheese pastelitos recipe uses fresh or frozen strawberries, making them a delicious treat for your family!

What is one of your family’s favorite Latin-themed recipes?

For more ideas to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, check out these Together Counts’ resources:

Melanie Edwards is the founder and editor of modernmami™.com, an award-winning lifestyle blog. Originally from Puerto Rico, Melanie now resides in the Tampa Bay area of sunny Florida with her husband of 10 years and two children. Connect with Melanie on Twitter via @ellamedia & @modernmami.