Rice might seem like a humble ingredient, but don’t underestimate its power. Nearly every culture across the world has found a way to make this tiny staple a delicious part of their cuisine. Let’s take a look at some of the delectable ways rice is prepared in Spain and across Latin America.
Most of the world thinks of Paella as the national dish of Spain. But within the country, credit is usually given to the region of Valencia, which perfected this rice and meat medley centuries ago. In fact, the word paella is a Valencian term for frying dish, referring to the big wok in which the meal is prepared.
There are many variations of paella, but the most popular always include seafood. You’ll usually find scallops, mussels, and clams mixed with garden vegetables and rice. Saffron spice is integral to paella, giving the rice its signature yellow-orange color.
Casamiento means “wedding” in Spanish, but it’s also the name of this rice and beans dish from El Salvador. The story goes that the black beans symbolize men and the white rice symbolize women. When mixed together, they become the same bronze color. Romantic history aside, this dish is as simple as it is delicious. It goes goes great with eggs in the morning, and pairs perfectly with onions and peppers.
Arroz con Leche
Arroz con leche is a Latino rice pudding. In every variation, the two basic ingredients are the same: rice (arroz) and milk (leche). Common additions to this dessert include coconut, cloves, or egg yolk. It’s also delicious with some cinnamon and a dash of vanilla. Arroz con leche is particularly popular in Mexico.
Locrio de Pica Pica
Locrio de pica pica is a dish from the Dominican Republic. It’s similar to paella, made from cooked rice and sardines. With such basic ingredients, many considered it a “poor man’s meal” back in the day. But today, it’s a popular offering at family gatherings or roadside stands. Salted cod works as a great alternative if you don’t like sardines.
Arroz poblano is a green rice dish that’s popular in Mexico. The green coloring comes from a blend of poblano peppers, onion, cilantro, and garlic. People usually eat this dish as a side to chicken or whatever meat they happen to be cooking that day. Arroz poblano is often served at special occasions like festivals and weddings.