Bolivian Style Arroz a la Valenciana (Tested)

Serves     6-8


This rice preparation can be served as a side dish, or top it with a fried egg for a complete meal. If you choose to use beef, make sure to select a tender cut, not stewing beef, which takes longer to cook. If you are using chicken, thighs are a good choice because the dark meat stays moist. If you use ham, ask the guys at the meat counter for a ½-inch thick slice, which you can then dice up. (I used ham because it was easy, and I was very happy with the outcome.) Or, of course, for a vegetarian dish, simply omit the meat. Whatever ingredients you use, be sure to dice the meat and vegetables small enough so that they will be done at the same time the rice is finished cooking.

I’ve adapted this recipe from a video that is posted on the site “Bolivian Cookbook,” and I’ve streamlined the process so that it can be made in one skillet. If you don’t have a large enough skillet to accommodate all the ingredients together, use a 4-quart sauce pan to finish the dish.


2 cups long-grain white rice

2 tbsp. oil, divided

3 red potatoes, diced (about 1 ½ cups or 8 oz.)

1 small red onion, diced (about 1 cup or 4 oz.)

1 large carrot, diced (about 1 cup or 4 oz.)

2 garlic cloves, chopped

2 plum tomatoes, peeled and diced (about 1½ cups or 4 oz.)

1 tsp. oregano

½ lb. meat, diced into small cubes (beef, chicken, or ham)



½ cup frozen peas


Rinse the rice until the water runs clear; drain well. Line a sheet pan with paper towels and spread the rice on the paper towels to dry.

When you are ready to begin, heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat and pour the rice into the dry (no oil) frying pan. Discard the paper towels. Stir the rice for a couple of minutes until the grains start to take on a toasty color. Transfer the rice from the frying pan to the same sheet pan you just used to dry the rice.

Using the same frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil until it shimmers, then add the potatoes, onion, carrot, and garlic. Sauté this mixture for about 3 minutes, or until the onion becomes translucent. Add the tomatoes and the oregano. Sauté for another minute or two, until the tomatoes start to release some of their juices. Pour this vegetable mixture on top of the rice on the sheet pan.

Return the frying pan to the stove over medium-high heat and add the remaining tablespoon of oil. When your pan is sufficiently hot, add the cubes of meat. Let the meat sear on one side to develop some color, then stir the pieces around to finish browning, but do not cook through.

Add 4 cups of hot water to the pan with the meat and bring to a boil. Add the vegetables and rice, season with salt and pepper, and top with frozen peas. Cover with a lid and simmer for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat, remove the lid, and fluff the rice with a fork. Pop the lid back on for another 10 minutes to finish steaming the rice.

In Bolivia this dish would be topped with a fried egg.


Notes and Instructions

Recipe adapted from:

Photo credit: Linda McElroy