2 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup long-grain rice
1/2 onion, minced
1 clove garlic, mashed with 1-1/2 tsp salt
3 teaspoons chili powder
2.5 cups water
Heat the oil in a heavy pot over medium heat, add the rice, and fry it until golden. If you worry about fat, use the lesser amount of oil; if you worry about flavor, use the greater amount. There is a fine line between golden and too brown, so watch carefully. The rice will give off a toasty, popcorn smell when done. Drain off and discard any excess oil. Add the onion, garlic, and salt and sauté for 1 minute more. Add the chile powder and water. Cook over medium heat until you see little holes forming in the surface of the rice, like craters, about 10 minutes. This indicates that most of the liquid has been absorbed. Turn the heat to low, put on a lid, and steam for 4 to 8 minutes longer, just until rice has absorbed all the liquid and is tender. Serves 6
NOTE: It’s ok to peek at the cooking rice to check on it. It’s an old wive’s tale that the rice will be ruined if you lift the lid. It’s far better to check than to overcook the rice. When rice is overcooked, the kernels look flowered and the rice is too soft.