A really good burrito – like sex, skydiving, or an 18-year-old scotch – is a euphoric experience. Indeed, few foods beat the combination of soft tortilla, zesty rice and beans, charred protein, creamy guacamole, and spicy salsa.
Problem is, really good, euphoria-inducing burritos seem to be available only at a few key taquerias around your city – places like Anna's in Boston, La Azteca in Los Angeles, and Changos in Austin – and their taste can seemingly never be replicated at home.
We're here to tell you that it can.
"You can definitely make a killer burrito at home," says Mike Kamio, owner of Boston burrito institution Anna's Taqueria. "Heck, I had to start in my own home – it just takes making each individual ingredient special." In short: Perfecting the individual parts is what makes the whole.
Here, Kamio has provided us with a few tips – no recipes, rules, laws, orders, or commands, nothing set in stone. Just tips to help you perfect each ingredient, which in turn will take your burrito from ordinary to extraordinary, and, ultimately, make it your very own. Use them as your guide, toy with your recipe, and turn your kitchen into a Grade A taqueria – Tejano music not required.
Season the rice.
There's a good reason why the words white rice are used to describe everything from bland food to bland people. "Like a lot of starches, rice alone is pretty plain," says Kamio. "You have to add flavor in the cooking process to make it pop in your burrito." His go-to method is to cook rice in chicken broth instead of water and to add seasonings: a bay leaf, a dash of cumin, or other herbs and spices. "The key is to make it zesty – play around and add whatever flavors you think will work."