Indian Spicy Rice in a black plate

Indian Spicy Rice

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At $1.10 a serving, Indian Spicy Rice made with Basmati Rice is a nice alternative to Jasmine rice which is my go to rice. I love the fragrant spices and the flavors introduced to this Indian rice. You might think adding spices to a rice dish would be overpowering. However, the spices blend beautifully with the rice providing a perfect starting point for your dinner. Read on for step by step instructions and answers to commonly asked questions.

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Indian Spicy Rice in a bowl and black plate with green napkin
Indian Spicy Rice

Common Questions About Making Indian Spicy Rice

Below are a few answers to some common questions when making Indian Spicy Rice. Let us know if you have other questions we can answer.

What is Basmati Rice?

You may be wondering what is Basmati Rice? It is an Indian long-grain rice that originates in the foothills of the Himalayas. Like other rices, it is available in both white and brown versions. It is gluten-free, low in fat and is known for its light nutty flavor and floral aroma. Typically basmati rice is grown in India and Pakistan.

Why do you rinse Basmati Rice?

Before soaking the basmati rice, rinse it for a couple of minutes to remove the excess starch. The water does not need to run clear as with Jasmine rice.

Why do you soak the Basmati Rice?

It is important to soak the Basmati Rice in water for 30-minutes. We soak the rice to absorb some of its water at room temperature. This allows the rice to preserve its flavor and reduces the cooking time. After 30-minutes drain the rice using fresh water when cooking the rice. Use When making Basmati Rice in an Instant Pot the step of soaking the rice is eliminated.

Indian Spicy Rice in black bowl surrounded by spices
Indian Spicy Rice

Selecting the Spices for Indian Spicy Rice

Indian Spicy Rice includes a lovely blend of fragrant spices.

  • Cinnamon and Whole Cloves: We start with the rich, spicy flavor of cinnamon and whole cloves that brings an intense, warm sweet pungent flavor.
  • Green Cardamom Pods: Introduce a light pine fragrance.
  • Cumin Seeds: They are known for their earthy, nutty, spicy taste with a somewhat bitter undertone.
  • Turmeric Powder: Introduces a yellow color to the rice. Some people find it a little bitter so we only use ½ teaspoon.
  • Bay Leaves: Provides a herbal, slightly floral flavor.

Making Indian Spicy Rice

  1. Rinse the Basmati Brown Rice for any excess starch.
  2. Soak in water for 30 minutes.
  3. Heat the Olive Oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. 
  4. Add the spices and bay leaves. (Lower the heat. Do not burn the spices.)
  5. Warm the spices for a minute to start releasing their flavors!
  6. Add the sliced onion and sauté until tender.
  7. Drain the rice and then stir into the spice onion mixture.
  8. Toast the rice for a minute to slightly brown.
  9. Add salt and water bringing to a boil.
  10. Cover, and reduce heat to low.
  11. Simmer for 40 minutes or longer is water is not absorbed.
  12. Rest for 5-minutes covered. But first stir the rice to ensure the spices are distributed throughout the rice.
  13. Remove the cardamom pods, cloves, bay leaves and cinnamon stick before serving. The cumin seeds are fine to eat making a nice presentation. 
  14. Fluff the rice with a fork before serving.
  15. Reheating: Indian Spicy Rice warmed over nicely and lasted for a few days. To reheat, add a little water and loosely cover before reheating in the microwave.

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Indian Spicy Rice in a black plate

Indian Spicy Rice

Pin Recipe
At $1.10 a serving, Indian Spicy Rice is an aromatic rice made with warm and nutty spices gaining its yellow color from the turmeric. A perfect side dish!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Rice Dish, Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: Indian Basmati Rice, Indian Spicy Rice
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Soak the rice in water: 30 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
servings
Calories: 171kcal
Author: Bernice
Cost: $1.10 a serving

Equipment

  • Medium bowl
  • Fine Mesh Strainer
  • Large saucepan

Ingredients

Rice Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups Basmati Brown Rice

Spice Ingredients

  • 2 Cinnamon Sticks 2 inch
  • 8 Green Cardamom Pods
  • 8 Whole Cloves
  • 1 tbsp Cumin Seeds
  • ½ tsp Turmeric Powder

Cooking Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • ½ cup Sweet Onion thinly sliced
  • 2 2/3 cups Water
  • 1 tsp Salt optional

Instructions

Basmati Rice Preparation

  • Rinse the Basmati Brown Rice with water to remove the excess starch.
  • Place the rice into a medium-sized bowl with enough water to cover.
  • Set aside to soak for 30 minutes.

Indian Spicy Rice Instructions

  • Heat the Olive Oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  • Lower the heat and add the spices and bay leaves. Warm the spices for a minute to start releasing their flavors.
  • Add the onion and sauté until tender.
  • Drain the water from the Basmati Brown Rice and stir into the spice onion mixture.
  • Toast the rice for 1 minute to slightly brown.
  • Add salt and water bringing to a boil.
  • Cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 40 minutes or longer is water is not absorbed.
  • Stir the rice to ensure the spices are distributed throughout the rice. Let stand, covered for 5 minutes.
  • Remove the cardamom pods, cloves, bay leaves and cinnamon stick before serving. The cumin seeds are fine to eat making a nice presentation.
  • Add to a serving bowl fluffing with a fork before serving.
  • Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

Recipe Notes

Cost per serving can vary based upon price of ingredients. Calories are approximate depending upon serving size and ingredients used.
Tips
  • Indian Basmati Rice warmed over nicely and lasted for a few days. To reheat, add a little water and loosely cover before reheating in the microwave.
  • If using white Basmati Rice instead of brown rice, reduce the cooking time to 20-minutes or longer is water is not absorbed.
  • It is important to soak the Basmati Rice in water for 30-minutes. We soak the rice to absorb some of its water at room temperature. This allows the rice to preserve its flavor and reduces the cooking time. After 30-minutes drain the rice using fresh water when cooking the rice. Use When making Basmati Rice in an Instant Pot the step of soaking the rice is eliminated.
Nutrition Facts
Indian Spicy Rice
Amount Per Serving (8 servings)
Calories 171 Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Fat 4g6%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 299mg13%
Potassium 82mg2%
Carbohydrates 31g10%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 10IU0%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 36mg4%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

19 comments

    1. Thank you! I love this rice as it lasts for days! We still have rice in our area. Well at least Basmati since it is not as popular in our area as the regular white rices.

  1. I’m just curious (lazy cook here), have you ever tried just adding the spices (in ground form) to the water as you cook the rice? Since I always have jasmine rice and all those spices in ground form in my pantry, I just might try it and report back.

    1. I haven’t. But I would imagine it would work. Similar to using vegetable stock instead of water to add some flavor. Let me know how it comes out. I might try it myself.

  2. Well you just taught me something new! I have never soaked my rice before. I don’t make a lot of rice and always cook it on top of the stove or in a casserole. Can’t wait to try it. This spicy dish sounds wonderful!!!!

    1. Thank you! I only soak basmati rice. I love the addition of the spices – makes it more interesting. I hope you enjoy the recipe!

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