Rice is very versatile and can take on the flavors of anything you add to it. It is a comforting side dish and used in many cultures (and even used in creamy rice puddings). With all the different types of rice and aromas they give off, the different rice dishes you make can compliment the variety of meals you make. Basmati rice is a favorite of mine and is usually always given on the side of your entree at Indian restaurants. It is cooked plain with some spices in it or carrots at the restaurants I have been to, so I thought I could try my hand at making something a little more spiced up at home.
When I made it at home it kind of came out similar to how biryani tastes, but I didn’t add any meats to it or hot spices. I made it simple and mild enough that it could go with anything you might make at home, because I didn’t want it to have very pungent additional flavors that would take over other parts of the meal. Those that I have made it for have liked it so I guess it tastes pretty good ;). Creating that special ambiance that you would get at a restaurant is nice too when at home and making an ethnic inspired type of dish. It is also exciting to bring something different to the dinner table that doesn’t take too long to make. I’ve had it with spiced lentils, chicken, vegetables and even baked salmon on the side. It is slightly sweet from the carrots and fresh chopped tomatoes but also savory from the turmeric, cilantro and other spices added in.
If you are making a main dish that is flavorful then you can still make this rice for the side and just omit the spices. I always feel that most people want to follow a recipe to the exact measurements, but feel free to modify it and add any additional ingredients to make it your own. Make sure to get long or extra long basmati rice (or even parboiled basmati rice) and to rinse it out to remove more starch so the grains don’t stick together (that is what makes basmati rice so rich and yet fluffy).
Indian Style Spiced Basmati Rice
Servings: 4 side dish servings and some leftover Prep Time: 25-30 minutes
- 1 ½ cups long grain basmati rice, rinsed until water is clear (extra long grain or parboiled sela basmati rice could be used too)
- 2 tomatoes, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 carrots, peeled and grated finely
- heaping 1/2 teaspoon curry powder (or a little extra if you want a strong flavor)
- pinch or two cayenne powder to taste
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup cilantro finely chopped
- Heat 2 Tablepoons of olive oil in a large saucepan. On medium/low heat, saute the carrots and tomatoes for 2-3 minutes until slightly softened. Add in the garlic and spices.
- Stir together until the spices become more fragrant on low heat for 1 minute. Add in the rice and combine together. Lightly toast the rice for about 1 minute, stirring often.
- Add the amount of water needed based on the packaging of the rice. Cover and bring to a boil. Then turn the heat down all the way to low and keep covered.
- Simmer on low until all the water is evaporated and the rice is cooked (based on package instructions, or usually 15 minutes). Shut off the heat and let the rice sit with the cover on and steam for about 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
- Add in the fresh cilantro and enjoy with your meal, along with some fresh lime slices.