Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add rice and cook, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Make room in the center of the pan, add onion, garlic and chile. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring and mixing with rice.
Pour chicken broth and salt and stir once. Raise the heat to high, bring to a boil, add chepil leaves, stir, cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer 12 to 15 minutes, until most liquid has been absorbed.
Remove from the heat and let rice rest, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork, and serve.
Chepil or chipilín is a leguminous plant that grows in bushes in many regions of Mexico such as Chiapas, Tabasco and Oaxaca. In fact, it is fairly common to find this bush in gardens and lawns across Central America.
The leaves should grow in thin stems that are cropped for many local recipes such as Arroz con Chepil, blended into the dough of Tamales or tortillas, or dried and crushed for seasoning mixes. If you are making this recipe with fresh chepilín, remove leaves from stems and soak in water to clean thoroughly.
The flavor is similar to watercress or spinach, which are great substitutes to use in place of these tiny green leaves. Simmer with rice and enjoy its delicious taste and bright color that adds to plain jasmine white rice.
Add chepil to other rice recipes where spinach is used, like this One-Pot Green Chicken Curry or this simple Yellow Rice for a twist. Chepilín leaves are usually eaten fully cooked, either steamed or boiled.
By getting creative with different foods and mix-ins, you can whip up delicious side dishes to switch up your weekly meals. While no one can resist a steamy bowl of white rice, there’s some fun in adding different sauces, spices or vegetables to unlock new flavors. Here are some ingredient picks and dishes to get you inspired.
Baby watercress can be swapped in for chepil.