photo by Kayla Padilla
Arroz con leche, a timeless classic in Mexican households everywhere, translates to rice with milk. Rice has a way of bringing people and cultures together. Arroz con leche is pretty cheap to make, and you only need a few ingredients. It can be eaten for breakfast, as an evening meal or even as a snack. There are no rules when it comes to consuming arroz con leche, and it can even be made vegan.
In fact, milk alternatives are becoming increasingly popular in American culture and often seem to enhance or leave unchanged the quality of a meal. Almond, soy and oat milk have become household favorites in recent years, often replacing traditional whole milk. My personal favorite is almond milk, but whatever you choose for this recipe is entirely up to you.
As I mentioned in my previous column, the ‘all or nothing’ approach is more harmful than helpful. Though I’m not vegan, I do try to cut back on dairy products, and dairy-free milk is a pretty easy switch. Of course, you can’t divorce the cruel industry that mass kills non-human animals from dairy products; they are intimately tied together, so consuming dairy products isn’t somehow less harmful than eating animals, but not everyone can afford meat replacements and vegan cheese, so cutting back where you can, and when you’re ready, is totally up to you. Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re not contributing to the welfare of animals and the planet by occasionally cutting back on animal products. Choosing to be more thoughtful about what you consume isn’t a competition; it should always be about what’s best for everyone involved.
Arroz con leche is one of those meals that isn’t in-your-face vegetarian. It’s not like you could put pork or ground beef in it, anyway, but almost everyone who has tried arroz con leche grows to adore it, vegetarian or not. Usually when you tell people the meal you made has a meat substitute or vegan products, they get turned away. All of a sudden your meal doesn’t look as good to them. Meals like arroz con leche and fideo are accidentally vegetarian, but by making them, you’ll be sure to keep everyone happy, meat-eater or not.
Now of course, I’m not trying to cater to meat-eaters or downplay how delicious vegetarian food can be, but sometimes meat replacements can taste out of place if you don’t find the right kind. Some are very delicious, like Morning Star nuggets, but having eaten them far too many times, if I ever have to serve those in a meal again, I just might puke, so for now, my recipes will include ingredients that stray away from these substitutes that even vegetarians may dislike. I wholeheartedly support meat replacements and their growing place in our society, but after being vegetarian for so long, you get bored of them like you would any meal that you eat over and over again. Arroz con leche is refreshing and comforting. So how do you make it, and what goes into it?
INGREDIENTS FOR 3-4 SERVINGS:
2 cups of white rice (arroz)
1 cup of milk (leche)
2 tbsp of sugar
1 stick of cinnamon
Boil the white rice in water for around 45 minutes or until fully cooked.
When the rice is nearly finished, start boiling your choice of milk in a separate pan.
Once the rice is ready, drain it.
Add 2 tbsps of sugar into your pot of milk.
Add a stick of cinnamon, though this is optional.
Pour the drained rice into the boiling milk mixture, and let sit until it cools down.
Serve once it cools down to your desired temperature.