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Mexican-style Rice

ingredients

serves 6
350 g (12 oz) 1 3/4 cups long grain white rice
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
450 g (1 lb) tomatoes, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
60 ml (4 tbsp) corn or peanut oil
900 ml (1 1/2 pints) 3 3/4 cups chicken stock
4 - 6 small red chillies
175 g (6 oz) 1 cup cooked green peas
salt and freshly ground black pepper
fresh coriander sprigs, to garnish

method

1. Soak the rice in a bowl of hot water for 15 minutes. Drain, rinse well under cold running water, drain
again and set aside.

2. Combine the onion, garlic and tomatoes in a food processor and process to a puree.

3. Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add the drained rice and saute until it is golden brown. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the rice to a saucepan.

4. Reheat the oil remaining in the pan and cook the tomato puree for 2 — 3 minutes. Tip it into the saucepan and pour in the stock. Season to taste. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting, cover the pan and cook for 15 — 20 minutes until almost all the liquid has been absorbed. Slice the red chillies from tip to stem end into four or five sections. Place in a bowl of iced water until they curl back to form flowers, then drain.

5. Stir the peas into the rice mixture and cook, -without a lid, until all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender. Stir the mixture from time to time.

7. Transfer the rice to a serving dish and garnish with the drained chilli flowers and sprigs of coriander. Warn the diners that these elaborate chilli "flowers" are hot and should be approached with caution.

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