Saturday, February 5, 2011

Basic Red Rice

     When I was little, nothing said family get together like being forced to pick fresh achote from a spider infested tree. Luckily, for me at least, the tree was chopped down before my finger was bitten off by a beady eyed arachnid. Although I don't have fond memories of the cooking process, nothing says home to me like a steaming pot of red rice.
      If your family is anything like mine, you all have that one aunt who everyone swears makes the best red rice. This person is automatically volunteered to bring said rice to any and all occasions. Thus, eliminating the need for one to actually learn how to make this dish.
      So, what is one to do when one moves stateside, you ask? Experiment.

      I admit, I could have turned to my trusty rice cooker, thrown in some achote powder, and called it good. But I didn't want rice cooker red rice. I wanted outside kitchen, old lady cooking over the biggest pot I've ever seen, red rice. So, after many a dinner with crunchy, mushy, watery, and burnt rice (feel very sorry for my family), I went to see my Auntie Kita, who was visiting from Guam, at a bbq.
      Along with a jar of fresh achote, Auntie Kita bestowed upon me some expert red rice making tips. And you, my lucky reader, will be able to whip up this basic beginners recipe without any of the torturous experimentation.


(I just eyeball most of my measurements. The amounts were made to suit my family's tastes. Please feel free to alter the recipe to meet your needs.)

3 cups red rice
3 cups water
A few tablespoons achote seeds
1/4--1/2 an onion
2 cloves garlic
a bit of oil for sauteing
salt to taste (I use about
   2 dashes)

1. Soak achote seeds in water. Mix occasionaly.
2. Chop onion and garlic
3. Add oil to med sized pot and heat on med-high. Add garlic and onion. Saute until soft or slightly translucent.
4. Strain achote water into pot. Add salt. Cover and bring to a boil.
5. Add washed rice to pot. Stir. Cover and bring to a boil. Stir. Put stove on low heat. Cook for 25-30mins stirring half way through. 


  1. The part about the spiders made me laugh...boy did I hate picking achote.

    Thanks for posting the recipe. Now I need to find someone coming from Guam who will bring me the goods.

  2. I enjoyed the part with the spiders too. I must add I also hated having to pick Calamansi from the tree because of spiders but we needed it for the finedene to go a long with the red rice.

    Nice post! I might have to try your recipe for red rice. Because like you said, there is always the one person in the family who makes amazing red rice. The person in my family is my mother... she has told me time and time again to learn but I am too lazy... I guess now is the time :-) Thanks for the small motivation Christie!