Spanish rice is a delicious recipe made by cooking rice in a tomato-based broth with various flavorful ingredients.
It has a characteristic red color and tangy-sweet flavor. The traditional way of making Spanish rice is on the stovetop. But you can make it in a rice cooker too.
So, how to make Spanish rice in a rice cooker? Let’s find out.
Steps to Make Spanish Rice in A Rice Cooker
The age-old method of making Spanish rice is to sauté the rice in oil or butter and then cook it in a tomato sauce with ingredients like onions, garlic, and herbs.
It can either be enjoyed as a side dish or used as a filling for burritos and tacos.
While it’s not too difficult to make it on the stovetop, it’s much easier to prepare it in a rice cooker.
Here are the steps for this.
1. Prepare the Rice for Cooking
Arroz Bomba is the most used variety of rice for the preparation of Spanish rice.
It has a low starch content which helps the grains hold their shape without falling apart.
In case you can’t find this variety, the next best alternative is Calasparra. You can also use jasmine rice or any other medium-grain rice for the purpose.
To prepare the rice, start by measuring the quantity you need. Transfer it to a mesh vessel or colander and wash it under running water.
This will eliminate the dirt and get rid of excess starch. You don’t have to soak the rice to prepare Spanish rice. It’s an optional step.
2. Assemble the Rest of The Ingredients
The main ingredients you need for Spanish rice are onion, garlic, butter, and spices like chili powder, cumin, and oregano.
You can prepare the rice in normal water or chicken broth. The broth will boost the flavor. The final and indispensable ingredient is tomatoes.
You can use canned or regular tomatoes based on your preference.
If you are using jasmine rice, a good ratio is 1 cup rice to 1 cup water or broth and 1 cup tomatoes in the sauce.
For other rice varieties, refer to the package instructions for accurate measurements.
3. Transfer the Ingredients to The Rice Cooker
The best thing about making Spanish rice in a rice cooker is that you can just add all the ingredients to the pot and leave them to cook.
There is no need to supervise the cooking process or stir the ingredients in between.
Add the rice to the pot with chopped tomatoes, garlic, onion, butter, and seasoning ingredients.
Add the water or broth as per need and stir the ingredients together. Place the lid in place and press the cook button. Your work is done.
4. Use the Sauté Function if Present
In the previous step, we mentioned that you can just place all the ingredients in the cooking pot and leave it to cook.
However, some rice cookers have a sauté function. If it’s present, you can use it to make the dish tastier.
In this case, you can enable the sauté function and gently stir the rice in butter with the onion and garlic.
This will improve the texture of the rice and make it more flavorful. The rest of the steps remain the same.
Another option is to microwave the onion and garlic for a few minutes to soften them and tame the flavors.
It will enhance the flavors of the Spanish rice.
5. Wait for The Cooking Process to Be Complete
When the rice is done, the rice cooker will automatically switch to “Keep Warm.”
For very basic models without the “Keep Warm” function, the cooker will shut down.
At this stage, the rice will have absorbed all the moisture and expanded in size.
You can now open the lid of the rice cooker and fluff the rice with a fork. It will help to separate the grains. The rice is now ready to serve.
6. Serve Soon
As with all rice dishes, it’s best to use Spanish rice prepared in a rice cooker quickly.
Storing it at room temperature for too long will speed up spoiling due to microbial growth. So it will end up being unsafe for consumption.
If you wish to store it for more than one to two hours, keep it in the rice cooker in the “Keep Warm” mode.
The growth of microbes will be limited.
To store leftover Spanish rice for a few days, transfer it to an airtight container once it comes to room temperature.
Promptly refrigerate to ensure that the rice remains usable for a few days.
When it’s time to serve, reheat the rice thoroughly and consume it within an hour or two.
Important Factors to Remember When Making Spanish Rice in A Rice Cooker
Using a rice cooker is one of the easiest ways to prepare Spanish rice. The result is guaranteed every time.
Nevertheless, you can improve the outcome by taking care of the following factors.
1. Rice-To-Liquid Ratio
The texture of Spanish rice will depend on the ratio of rice and water. The closer you achieve the right ratio, the better the texture of the rice.
The typical rice-to-liquid ratio will depend on the type of rice grain you choose.
This can become confusing because you must account for the liquid from the tomatoes as well if you are using canned tomatoes.
A general rule of thumb is to use 2 cups of liquid for each cup of rice.
This should include any liquid from the tomato sauce as well as the water or broth you use for cooking the rice.
2. Sautéing the Rice
The characteristic flavor of Spanish rice arises out of the butter and aromatics in the recipe.
Though sautéing the rice is an optional stage, it can significantly improve the flavor.
Sauté the rice before adding it to the rice cooker with butter, onion, and garlic to improve the flavor and texture.
3. Add the Right Seasonings
There are different recipes for Spanish rice. The flavor and taste will depend on the seasonings used, like cumin and chili powder.
Add additional seasonings like garlic, oregano, saffron, and smoked paprika to enhance the flavor of the dish.
To improve the color, add saffron. Customizing the spice quantity will allow you to improve the flavor and overall appearance of the dish.
The cooking time will depend on the rice cooker. This will affect the outcome of the cooking process.
Adjust your cooking time based on the rice cooker model. It should cook for long enough to end up being flavorful and with the right texture.
If you are unsure of the cooking time, refer to the instruction manual. It should give a clear indication of how long each dish will take to cook.
5. Quantity of Ingredients
Finally, adjust the quantity of rice according to the appliance capacity. Rice expands during cooking and takes up more space when cooked.
Adjust the amount of rice to fit the rice cooker. Avoid overfilling the rice cooker because the water can overflow.
If you must prepare a large batch of rice, split it in two for better results.