Although simple garlic seasoned white rice is the most common meal accompaniment here in Peru, I am intrigued by the variety of rice dishes that are commonly on the table for special celebrations. Arroz a la Jardinera (har-dee-NAIR-uh) is one of the first “special” rice dishes I made. I was intrigued by the vegetables combined with the rice.
My husbands first comment about this dish is that it looks like Arroz con Pollo, but the wrong color. He is fairly correct. Both dishes have white rice as a base and include onions, peas, carrots and choclo (Peruvian corn). But the Arroz con Pollo includes cilantro puree, which makes the dish bright green, and delicious in it’s own right. (Yes, I know, every country’s “Arroz con Pollo” is a different color, in Peru it is green, green, green!)
This is a very nice way to brighten up a meal, add some quick vegetables and raise the nutrition of plain white rice. Of course, if you don’t like (or don’t have) peas, carrots or choclo, you are welcome to leave them out. But, I think you will find this to be a delicious combination that you will make again and again!
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 1 large red onion, finely diced
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 1/2 teaspoons palillo (substitute turmeric)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 cup of fresh peas
- 1 cup of small diced carrot
- 1 cup of choclo
- 4 cups water
- 3 cups of white rice
- In a large saucepan, heat oil and add onions to saute until softened, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, palillo, cumin powder and salt; continue to saute 2 more minutes. Stir in the peas, carrots & choclo, taking care to be sure vegetables are completely covered with the onion & spice mixture. Add water and bring to a boil.
- Add rice and bring the mixture back to a boil. Lower the heat (below a simmer), cover and cook until rice is softened, water is absorbed and vegetables are cooked, about 20-25 minutes.
- Remove from heat, stir briefly and cover for another 10-15 minutes to steam a bit more.