The History of “Spanish Rice”
Trader Joe’s has come out with a new product that I am sure will be a long-term hit. Trader Joe’s Spanish Style Rice. Before we get into the review, let’s understand what exactly is “Spanish Rice”.
It really should be called Mexican Rice because in Spain there is no tradition of making rice this way. Rice was introduced to Mexico in the 1500s during the Spanish Invasion. From there rice became a staple of many Mexican cuisines. Rice is prepared in many different ways all over Mexico but for some reason, the common Spanish Rice we see in the United States caught on and is served at almost every Mexican family restaurant that I’ve ever been to.
What is Spanish Rice
Spanish Rice is Mexican Rice. Why they decided to call it Spanish Rice in the United States is lost to the mists of time. In most of Mexico, it’s simply called Rice (Arroz) and is served with many meals and included in many dishes. With the spread of Mexican family-style restaurants around North America.
The typical Mexican meal in a restaurant in the United States comes with something like Tacos or Quesadillas and is served with refried beans and Spanish Rice. I’ve eaten Spanish Rice so many times I can’t even count it. I consider myself a pretty good home cook and make Mexican food fairly frequently but have never made this rice on its own, I can’t imagine a Mexican meal at a restaurant without it
Trader Joe’s Spanish Rice
Looking at the package this rice dish looks like every plate of Mexican food I’ve ever eaten. Slightly red stained rice with some herbs and maybe some onions or something floating around in the rice. Spanish Rice is easy to prepare, saute rice in oil then add some tomato sauce, salt, herbs, and chicken stock and let it cook like regular rice. Voila, Spanish Rice. But Trader Joe’s makes it super simple to make.
Trader Joe’s Spanish Rice comes in the frozen section. There are two bags in a box. Simply throw the bag in the microwave with the seam side up and microwave for a couple of minutes. Trader Joe’s specifically warns you not to poke the bag as it inflates as you microwave it. There is a self-venting seam on the bag. Then let it sit for a minute before you cut it open.
What does Trader Joe’s Spanish Style Rice taste like?
When I opened the microwave bag I was magically transported to my local Mexican restaurant, the aromas coming from the bag were almost identical to those I smell when they bring you a big steaming hot plate of Mexican food. It looked eerily similar to the Mexican Spanish rice that is on almost every plate of food at a Mexican restaurant. Trader Joe’s really nailed it here. The grains were fluffy and well separated. There were no liquid or mushy grains of rice.
This Trader Joe’s Spanish Style Rice (ok, can we be honest here, this is 100% Mexican rice) tastes pretty darn good for what it is. It’s a very authentic Mexi-American Restaurant Spanish Style rice dish. Put it in burritos or tacos. Eat it along with your enchiladas. I wouldn’t be ashamed to throw this down at my next homemade Mexican meal.
My rating for Trader Joe’s Spanish Style Rice
I am going to give this Trader Joe’s Spanish Style Rice a solid 7 Bells. Nothing too fancy but also a solid effort. I see this being in Trader Joe’s lineup for many years. It’s also Vegan!
Microwave (1200 watt): Microwave heat times
may vary depending on oven wattage.
Place rice pouch in the microwave with seam
side up, breaking up any visible clumps. Heat on
high for about 4½ minutes. The pouch will
balloon up with steam pressure. Let stand in
microwave for 1 minute before carefully
removing. Carefully open bag
Stovetop: Heat nonstick skillet over high heat
for 1 minute. Add 2 Tbsp. water and contents
of rice pouch to skillet and stir. Cover, reduce
heat to medium and cook for about 6 minutes,