Basic white rice
Rinse rice and put in the caldero with about ¼ cup vegetable oil. Add enough hot water to cover rice 1½ inches above rice line. The ratio of water to rice should be about 2 to 1. Add salt and stir. Let it boil on high until water evaporates. Cover and simmer on low for 35 minutes. Don't stir any more.
Basic Seasoned Rice
In a caldero fry chopped bacon or chopped tocino (fat-back) until crispy. Remove the cooked meat and save. In the bacon fat fry sofrito ingredients until tender - about 5 minutes or so. Add the bacon or tocino back into the pot. Add tomato sauce and any cooked meats and vegetables you desire and stir well. Add enough liquid to cover rice 1½ inches above rice line. Let it boil on high until water evaporates. Now you may stir the rice once over only. Cover and simmer on low for about 35 minutes.
Cook chicken or other meats, seasoned with adobo and plenty of water, in a crock pot all day or overnight. The meat will debone easy and be tender and tasty to use in favorite rice dishes. Save the broth to use in the rice.
Any rice that sticks to the bottom of the pot is called "pegao" and is crispy and tasty and a favorite of all true Puerto Ricans. However, not everyone is skilled is making pegao - it is an art….
You may add any of the following or a combination to vary your rice dishes… any kind of canned beans, fresh or frozen vegetables, meats, (all meats must be precooked ), including bacon, pork chops, cooked pernil chunks, sausages, fish, shrimp, meat balls, ribs, chicken, etc.
For Arroz con costillas . . . . . cook sofrito in a caldero with oil, add cooked ribs, tomato sauce, and follow basic seasoned rice recipe.
Make butter and garlic rice by substituting the oil with butter and adding crushed garlic.
How to make "pegao." Rice cooks in about 35 minutes or so after you have lowered the heat and covered it. To make pegao raise the temperature just a bit after 30 minutes and cook longer than the 35 minutes - say maybe another 10 minutes or so. You have to watch it and keep your eyes open and stay in the kitchen to make sure it does not overcook. It all depends on the size of your caldero, the amount of rice in the pot, and the temperature. Just keep practicing until you have it just right. Make notes and tape them to the inside of your kitchen cabinet door for the next time.
Note, our hints are only for rice cooked in a caldero on the stove, not for oven cooked American style rice.
1 cup raw-uncooked rice makes about 3 cups of cooked
1 tsp salt per cup of rice.
Use about ¼ cup sofrito per cup of raw rice.
Half a cup uncooked rice is enough for 2 people, makes about 1½ cup cooked rice.
Cooked rice may be frozen for later use.
Cooked rice keeps in the fridge for one week only.
Stirring the rice after it has begun cooking may cause it go get sticky or "amogollao."
Too miuch water will also cause rice to become amogollao.
Substitute broth for water at the same water to rice ratio. This makes for tastier rice.
Yes, you can add Sazón Goya to your rice, one packet per one cup uncooked rice.
For color add tomato sauce or achiote.
Add a can of stewed Italian style tomatoes for extra good flavor.