Mexican Rice – for a picnic potluck

I had briefly mentioned about our picnic at the park in my earlier post in which few families got together and did a potluck. With heat looming, it was a weekend well spent, as the kids spent hours together splashing in the water, while the adults stayed in the shade chatting and enjoying the assortment of delicious food.

The theme was chosen as Mexican cuisine and everybody pitched in food ideas. Some criteria to keep in mind was that the food had to be kid friendly, easily transportable and would not perish soon.

I prepared this Mexican Rice along with Corn Salsa and Guacamole. This Mexican rice turned out to be a hit among the kids. Colorful and not too spicy, it has a mild flavor with a tangy taste. It formed a good accompaniment with topping of shredded cheese, some nachos and corn salsa on the side.

Here is a menu list of what we came up with for the potluck.

  • Appetizers: Nachos with Salsa, Corn Salsa and Guacamole, juices.
  • Salad: Lettuce, cooked black beans, corn with Catalina dressing topped with crushed nachos for crunch.
  • Tostadas: Charras with topping of refried beans, salsa, lettuce and sour cream. Somewhat similar to what is in here.
  • Tacos: Hard taco shell, topped with refried beans, salsa and lettuce.
  • Mexican Rice, Corn Salsa and Guacamole
  • Dessert: Pound cake, fresh fruits, cookies for kids. 


  • 1 cup long grain rice
  • 2 cups broth ( I used vegetarian )
  • 1/2 green bell pepper (chopped )
  • 1/2 onion (chopped ) + ¼ cup chopped onion
  • 1 jalapeno pepper( chopped )
  • 1 tomato (chopped into quarters)
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic (chopped)
  • salt
  • Oil


  • Blend the tomato along with ¼ cup chopped onion and oregano. Keep aside.
  • In a medium sauce pan, add oil over medium heat. Add in the chopped onion. Sauté for 1-2 minutes and then add the bell pepper and chopped jalapeno mix until softened.
  • Add dry rice and stir for about 5 minutes until the rice becomes a golden brown color and gets the nutty flavor.
  • Add in the chopped garlic to the rice and sauté for one more minute.
  • Next add in broth and tomato sauce, mix well and bring it to a boil.
  • After it starts boiling, turn the heat to medium and cover with lid. Do not touch for the next 10-15 minutes.
  • After it is cooked, add the chopped cilantro and fluff it up with a fork.

Corn Salsa – picnic recipe

Picnic at the park with friends, delicious Mexican food, kids splashing in water, chit chat, laughter; this is a tidbit of how we spent one of our weekend evenings. It was a great way to unwind and sync up with friends; it also provided a much needed relief from the scorching summer heat. 

Few of our friends decided to have a potluck picnic and I made this salsa along with Mexican Rice and Guacamole to take. This salsa is based on the recipe that is served at Chipotle Mexican Grill. This is one of our favorites and a few servings of this, makes the burritos and the veggie bowl served there taste delicious.

 I love the fact that it is so simple and nutritious; can be made with just few basic ingredients on hand. It is a kid favorite and does not involve any cooking at all. All that is required is to mix the ingredients together and refrigerate it for few hours before serving. 

This serves as a good accompaniment along with chips/nachos, tacos, topping over tostadas or along with simple Mexican Rice.


  • 2 cups frozen corn (you can use fresh also)
  • ½ cup chopped red onion
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 tsp finely chopped jalapeno
  • Salt to taste
  • Juice of 1/2 lime


  • If using frozen corn, thaw the corn in advance. After that warm it for a minute or so in the microwave and drain any liquid from it.
  •  Chop the jalapeno finely.  (If you do not like it hot then remove the seeds, before chopping).  
  • Take a big bowl and add the corn, jalapeno, chopped onion, salt, coriander and mix well.
  • Stir in the lime juice and mix well again. Cover with a lid.
  •  Refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving.  This will allow the flavors to blend together.

Masala Papads (with a twist)

You know what Masala Papads are? Crispy papads topped with spicy tomato onion salad that makes a refreshing starter/appetizer? The one’s you find on the top of a restaurant menu, right? 

Well, I tweaked it a bit and crushed the papads and mixed it with the salad. The reason for this is that I misplaced the wire mesh which I use to roast papads. Now this wire mesh has a handle, which is used as a barrier from touching the gas flame directly. 

Like I said, I misplaced the mesh and when I roasted them directly on the flame, they began to curl at the edges and formed an un-even cup. A big no-no if you want to make masala papads, which calls for flat roasted papads. 

Now, I am not too fond of roasting the pappads in the microwave or on the Tava. I like to do it the old fashioned way, which is roasting it on the gas flame and seeing it lightly charred. My mom roasts them directly on flames without using a wire mesh or the tongs, but I get intimidated and have to use a wire mesh. 

Anyway, all this lead me to make an unintended tweak to the original recipe. But we enjoyed it anyway as a side dish with our meal. 

I would love to hear, how you generally roast the papads? 

Hope you enjoy this quick fix, tasty snack or a side dish for lunches.

 Have a great weekend, yall! 


  • 5-6 pappads
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onions
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped tomatoes
  • 1 green chillis (finely chopped)
  • ½ tsp pepper powder
  • Juice of a lemon
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander (dhania) for garnishing 


  • Roast the papads on a medium flame and keep aside. Crush them into medium pieces.
  • In a bowl, combine the onions, tomatoes, lemon juice, pepper powder and salt and mix well. Check for taste.
  • Add the crushed pappads to this, gently stir one or twice.
  • Serve immediately garnished with coriander.