Indian Turmeric Rice is tangy, vibrant and makes an elegant side dish for any occasion. It’s a great quick meal and also vegan.
The spices and aromatics used in turmeric rice truly elevates the plain, white rice to have incredible and highly addictive flavors, but versatile enough that you can serve it alongside a million different recipes, and makes for a healthier alternative to pasta or bread.
Also, popular as Yellow Rice in various regions of India. The yellow color of the rice stems comes from using naturally colored spices including annatto, saffron, and turmeric, which are used interchangeably to give white rice its vibrant color.
What is Turmeric?
Turmeric has been used in India for thousands of years as a spice and medicinal herb. An Ayurvedic superfood, turmeric is known for its health benefits. The yellow powder that you see in the grocery stores comes from the Turmeric root. The turmeric root that looks like ginger except that it is yellow from under the skin, is dried and then powdered to make Turmeric powder. It’s a staple in every Indian household. We add it in almost all Indian dishes, milk, lattes, and also use it as a medicine.
Health Benefits of Turmeric
Turmeric is great for cough and cold. It boosts immunity and also serves as an antiseptic. It’s a great anti-inflammatory agent too. It reduces the instance of platelet aggression and potentially reduces the risk of clot formation.
What type of rice to use?
Use very good quality long grain Basmati Rice to make jeera rice. Long grain and aged rice are the best and the key to making fragrant Jeera rice. Aged rice is less starchy and does not mush up after cooking. It can also be cooked with sona masuri or any short grain edible rice if basmati rice not easily available.
What is the ideal rice to water ratio to make Turmeric Rice?
If making this rice over the stovetop in a pan, use a 1:2, rice to water ratio. This ratio also works for pressure cookers and rice cookers.
This turmeric rice is delightfully easy to make and calls for a handful of ingredients that are easily found in your pantry. Here is a list of ingredients you will need:
- Oil or Butter or Ghee: I have used olive oil for this recipe but I also adore the flavors that butter adds to the rice, or you can also use coconut oil for a healthier alternative. The key is to soften the rice and make it as fluffy as you can!
- Whole Spices: cumin seeds, cinnamon stick, star anise, cloves, bay leaf, and green cardamom. Sautéing whole spices to release their flavors into the butter, is the key to building a better Indian rice dish.
- Onion + Ginger: for the aromatics. I prefer sautéing these vegetables to really bring out their flavor, but you can also opt for powdered alternatives if you are in a time crunch! You can use garlic instead of ginger if you prefer.
- Turmeric: This is a key ingredient in this recipe to give flavor and vibrant yellow color to the dish.
- Basmati rice: I prefer using basmati rice, but please feel free to use any long-grain white rice that you prefer. If you use brown rice, you may need to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
- Salt + Green chili: to enhance the flavors of the onion and ginger.
- Cilantro + Dried Cranberries + Peanuts or Pomegranate Arils: to garnish the rice.
- Wash and soak rice for 20 minutes. Drain all the water and set it aside once you are ready to cook.
2. Gather ingredients – Red onion, ginger, dried cranberries, peanuts, cashews, green chili, cumin seeds, cinnamon stick, star anise, cloves, bay leaf, green cardamom, and cilantro sprigs.
3. Heat up 2-3 table spoons of oil or ghee or butter. I have used extra virgin oil for this recipe.
4. Add whole spices to the pan. Once Jeera(cumin seeds) start to splutter, add thinly sliced onion, grated ginger, and chopped green chili. Sauté the onion and ginger on a medium flame until the raw smell of ginger goes away and the onion turns deep golden and begins to caramelize.
5. Add drained rice to the pan. Stir the rice with the spices for a minute. Then add water, salt, turmeric powder, and stir.
6. Bring the rice to a quick boil, and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for approximately five to six minutes, till the water is absorbed and the rice is cooked through. When the water level goes below the rice, add cashews and turn the flame off and let the rice cook in the steam.
7. If the rice is undercooked and needs more water, then pour some hot water and give a stir. Cover and cook until it is done. Fluff it up with a fork.
- Feel free to skip the onion and ginger, if you want a plain version of this yellow rice. Or to add more flavor, you can use vegetable or chicken stock, and add vegetables such as frozen or fresh diced carrots, green beans, and peas.
- The key to this recipe is to wash the rice VERY well. You need to get rid of the starch as much as possible.
- Store the yellow rice in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
- If you’re cooking turmeric rice in the Instant Pot, you don’t need to presoak it.
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