This Easy Indian Rice dish is made with basmati rice and array of spices to make it fragrant & delicious. Ready in under 20 minutes it's a great accompaniment to any curry.
This quick and easy Indian rice is my favourite go-to recipe to serve with curry. It's much more special than serving plain basmati rice yet doesn't really require much more effort. This delicious rice side dish is vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free as well.
Basmati Rice - Rinsed well to get rid of all the excess starch.
Rapeseed Oil/Ghee/Unsalted Butter - I use rapeseed oil when making Indian rice to make it vegan/dairy-free but you can use ghee (clarified butter used widely in Indian cooking) or regular unsalted butter instead.
Cardamom Seeds - These aromatic little pods add heaps of flavour to your rice. Make sure you don't forget to bash/bruise them gently before using here.
Bay Leaves (fresh or dried)
Black Mustard Seeds
Freshly Boiled Water
Fresh Coriander (Cilantro) to garnish
Although it might seem like a lot of different spices, once you buy them, you will find yourself using them over and over again to make this Indian rice so don't you worry about the waste. Don't forget that spices should be kept in well sealed containers to preserve their freshness.
Best way to cook basmati rice
I've used absorption method for this recipe which means that the rice cooks as it absorbs all the liquid. Personally, I think this method results in perfectly cooked rice as long as you follow couple of easy rules:
- Always rinse your rice under the cold tap until water runs clear to get rid of excess starch. The easiest way to do it is using a sieve.
- Don't stir the rice during cooking. Once all the liquid has been absorbed there will be time for fluffing your rice up with the fork but no stirring until then!
That's really all there is to it! Quick and uncomplicated.
Storing & Freezing Easy Indian Rice
If you happen to have some leftover Indian rice make sure to cool it down as soon as possible (ideally within one hour) and put it in the fridge in the airtight container where you can store it for up to a day. Make sure you do not reheat it more than once and reheat it until it's piping hot!
To freeze, cool your rice quickly as per above, place in the freezer safe container and freeze for up to 1 month for maximum flavour. I usually reheat it straight from the freezer by popping it in the microwave until pipping hot, giving it a little shake every so often. You can also defrost it overnight in the fridge and heat up in the microwave or on the hob with a splash of water.
What to serve with Indian Rice?
This delicious, gently spiced Indian rice dish will complement any curry under the sun (definitely any Indian curry). Try one of my favourites you can find on the blog:
To add something extra to your feast of curry and rice, try my Easy Naan Bread Without Yeast recipe - perfect, fluffy naan bread without tandoor oven in sight! Alternatively, my Easy Flatbread (No Yeast) would be another one to try. Oh and don't forget this cooling, homemade Cucumber Raita sauce!
If you like this recipe you might want to check out my Easy Turmeric Rice as well.
How to make Easy Indian Rice - Step-By-Step Instructions
Rinse basmati rice by placing it in a sieve and running under the tap until water starts running clear. Set aside.
Heat up oil in a pan with a lid and add all the spices and bay leaves. Let them fry for approx 30 sec. until they start becoming fragrant.
Add rinsed basmati rice and stir it well so that it is well coated in oil.
Add freshly boiled water and salt and stir well. Bring it back to the boil and cover the pot with a lid. Reduce the heat to minimum and let the rice simmer for approx. 10 min at which point lift the lid and check whether all the liquid has been absorbed.
Take the pan off the heat and fluff the rice with a fork. Put the lid back on and let the rice stand approx. 5 min while you chop your coriander.
Add chopped coriander, adjust seasoning if necessary and serve garnished with some extra coriander leaves.
Easy Indian Rice
- 300 g white basmati rice rinsed well
- 2 tbsp rapeseed oil see notes
- 7 cardamom pods bashed/bruised slightly
- 7 cloves
- 2 bay leaves fresh or dried
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp black mustard seeds
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 600 ml freshly boiled water
- small bunch fresh coriander/cilantro chopped and some leaves left whole as garnish
- Rinse basmati rice by placing it in a sieve and running under the cold tap until water runs clear. Set aside.
- Heat up oil in a pan with a lid and add all the spices and bay leaves. Let them fry for approx 30 seconds until fragrant.
- Add rinsed basmati rice and stir it well so that it is well coated in oil.
- Add freshly boiled water and salt and stir well. Bring it back to boil and cover the pot with a lid. Reduce the heat to minimum and let the rice simmer for approx. 10 min at which point lift the lid and check whether all the liquid has been absorbed.
- Take the pan off the heat and fluff the rice with a fork. Put the lid back on and let the rice stand approx. 5 min while you chop your coriander.
- Add chopped coriander, adjust seasoning if necessary and serve garnished with some extra coriander leaves.
- Nutritional information is approximate, per serving and should be treated as a guideline only.
- Indian Rice is vegan and dairy-free if prepared with oil. However, feel free to use 20g of ghee (clarified butter) or unsalted butter instead.
Update Notes: This post was originally published in April 2018 and updated in January 2020 with updated recipe card, useful info and better layout improving user experience.
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