Arroz Criollo

Colonial foodways brought rice to Peru, and over time it’s become a staple in Lima’s creole cooking. Sometimes, plain steamed rice plays a supporting role in a meal as the side that mops up the juices from a spicy stew. Other times it’s the star, like in arroz chaufa—Chinese-Peruvian fried rice. In Lima, families cook and serve rice at least once a day as part of a meal. Their love for rice has earned Limeños (people from Lima) a proud nickname: Limeño arrocero. Steamed rice is the first dish that my mom taught me how to cook when I was about ten years old. Today, it’s hard for me to imagine a meal without rice. My favorite part is the con con, the crunchy, salty, and garlicky browned bits at the bottom of the pot that I scrape off at the end of a meal to enjoy blissfully.

Arroz Criollo / Creole Rice

Serves 4

  • 2 tablespoons canola cooking oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 cup long grain white rice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups water

In a 2-quart pot with thick bottom and cooking oil over medium heat, add garlic and stir occasionally until it begins to sizzle. Add the rice, salt, and water. Stir to mix well.

Bring to a simmer, uncovered, and cook until the level of the water reduces to the level of the rice. Turn heat to low, cover, and continue to cook until the liquid evaporates and the rice on bottom of the pot begins to brown, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Uncover, and use a spoon to fluff up the rice. Serve warm.