A spicy, flavour-packed chilli is a great choice for a meal any day of the week; especially when it's cold outside. Chilli's especially good for those times when you've got a group of friends round as it's generally a popular dish that everyone enjoys. And each person can customise their plate to suit, eating the chilli with rice or wraps, a scattering of salad (or not), and sauces such as guacamole, salsa and sour cream. One side dish that can often divide a group though is refried beans - some people love them, others hate them.
Rice is a pretty standard accompaniment for many Mexican takeaways, especially if it's chilli you're having as the main. But don't be limited to just ordering plain white rice - which can feel a little lacking in originality. Next time you're planning a chilli night, turn up the interest factor on your accompanying side dishes by choosing an interesting savoury rice dish to go with it.
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1. Cilantro Rice
Cilantro rice has a yellowy-green hue to it, thanks to the fact that it's cooked with cilantro, as well as garlic, in a chicken stock. There's also serrano chilli pepper in it, which provides a subtle layer of heat to this rice dish.
One of the classic accompaniments to a bowl of Mexican chilli is rice and beans. If you mix black beans, jalapeno pepper, garlic, onions and turmeric, you get spicy black beans with yellow rice. Just remember to check if anyone eating with you has an aversion to black beans though!
2. Mexican Fried Rice
Mexican fried rice is another well-loved rice dish and many restaurants offer it as a side dish, as well as including it in main dishes. At Chiquito, their specialty rice Mexican fried rice is stuffed into the Street Style Burrito along with refried beans, jalapeno cheese sauce, mozzarella and lettuce.
It's also served with their Fiery Chilli Chicken - pieces of fresh chicken breast marinated in a hot Habanero sauce, and accompanied by tortilla chips, roasted veggies and sour cream.
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More of a meal in itself than a side dish is Morisqueta - that has its origins in southern and western Mexico. In this dish, the rice is cooked separately, but then mixed with beans, and a tomato, garlic and onion sauce. Sometimes, pork or beef is added and/or cubes of ranchero (cheese) can be melted into the mix. While this might be a bit filling as a rice dish to go with chilli, if you're feeling really hungry, it could tick the box!
4. Arroz Negro
Add a different hue of colour to your plate with Arroz Negro - another rice dish you'll often find in Mexican cooking. Black beans are cooked up with onions and butter to form a dark stock, and the rice is fried with garlic and then mixed with the strained, dark-coloured stock, along with serrano pepper, salt and epazote, an aromatic Mexican herb. As the rice cooks, it absorbs the colour and flavour of the stock and becomes arroz negro (black rice).
Picking a number of different side dishes and interesting savoury rices will ensure that everyone having chilli at your house can have their meal just the way they like it.
Feeling like making your chilli extra special? On Deliveroo, we have a huge range of Mexican takeaways, so you can bring the Fiesta to your dining table tonight!