This Indian recipe will take your taste buds on a true culinary journey. Traveling through the various regions of India, you’ll encounter flavors and dishes you’ve never tried before… but with this easy Jeera Rice recipe, you’ll learn how to make the perfect jeera rice! It has all the zing and zest of this country without any of the spice or heat.
What Is Jeera Rice?
In Hindi, jeera means cumin, and it’s the name of this flavorful rice. Jeera rice is a staple side dish in many Indian households and is often served along with other Indian cuisine dishes as a tasty compliment to any meal. It is best served with curries or other dishes that have some spice or flavorings. Otherwise, it can be a little bland. So go ahead, and make the perfect jeera rice for your family tonight!
Jeera rice is often served to guests at Indian weddings or as part of a full Indian feast. It is the traditional compliment to any curry dish, rice, that makes your taste buds dance! It is often served as an accompaniment to other dishes like chicken or lamb.
How to Make Jeera Rice?
2 cups jasmine or basmati rice
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 whole cumin seeds
1/4 cup ghee (clarified butter) (or oil)
Directions: We’re going to cook the rice in a pressure cooker. It will take about 20-25 minutes.
Rinse the rice thoroughly under cold water and set aside for about 5 minutes to drain any excess starch. Drain the rice through a strainer and set aside.
In a medium size heavy-bottom skillet, heat ghee over medium-high heat until it is melted and shimmering slightly. Add whole cumin seeds and cook, constantly stirring, until they are light brown but not burnt! This should take only 4-5 minutes or so.
Add rice and salt to the skillet, and stir well to coat the rice with oil and cumin. Leave the pan on medium-high heat, stirring gently until rice is heated through, about 5 minutes.
Tips on cooking Jeera rice
There are a few different ways to cook jeera rice. One way is to stir-fry the whole cumin seeds only, but this can give you a very strong and hot taste in your rice. Since we’re making jeera rice for the whole family, I like to use a combination of ghee and cumin seeds. I enjoy the creamy texture of ghee, and the milder taste of the cumin seeds. You can use even less ghee, if you want to cut the fat in your diet.
You can also add chopped onions while cooking rice. For different flavor variations, you can add finely chopped garlic or ginger. You could even add whole cardamom pods while cooking if you like a unique flavor to your jeera rice.
Never brown the rice when making jeera rice! When you make any rice dish, avoid cooking over high heat because it will give your grains a burnt flavor. Browning refers to the color of the rice when your stir it with a spatula or spoon. If you do decide to brown the rice, lower your heat and continue to stir until all bits of cumin seeds have turned golden brown.
You can also use ghee instead of oil for this recipe. To make jeera rice with ghee, simply replace the oil with 2 tablespoons of ghee. To make it a healthier option, use low-fat ghee. Or you could cut down on the amount of oil by using fewer cumin seeds and cooking the rice in less oil.
Serve the jeera rice with your favorite curry dish for a complete meal! It is delicious and healthy, so the whole family can enjoy it together. You could also serve it with simple dahl (lentil stew) or even raita (yogurt sauce) for some extra flavor.
Why is basmati rice the best for jeera rice?
Basmati rice maintains its shape at high temperatures, so it is the perfect rice for cooking jeera rice. It also cooks faster than other types of rice, so if you have time, this recipe is perfect for a weekday dinner.
If you prefer to serve jeera rice with a curry made from yogurt and dal, you could use any short-grain white or brown rice instead. The ghee will give a different flavor to your rice, but both types of rice will taste delicious.
Variations in Cooking Jeera Rice
If you want to add some extra flavor and style to your rice, you can add some decorative grains.
Saffron: Add 2-3 saffron strands in the beginning of cooking jeera rice, then let the rice simmer on a low flame for about 20 minutes. Fluff up the rice with a fork and serve it warm.
Red or black sesame seeds: Add 2-3 tablespoons of whole red or black sesame seeds and cook the rice on low heat. Add a little ghee to make it saffron yellow, and garnish with cumin seeds garnish before serving.
Toasted cumin seeds: To make this variation, add toasted cumin seeds while cooking jeera rice.
Cinnamon: Add 2-3 teaspoons of ground cinnamon while cooking rice.
This recipe is great for entertaining, as it will impress any guests. You could make a large batch and serve it with almost any Indian curry dish or a simple lentil stew. As with many Indian dishes, the possibilities are endless when preparing them, so feel free to play around with this basic recipe.