Indian Jeera Rice – Cumin Rice

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Jeera rice or jeera fried rice is an easy-to-make rice of cumin fried in ghee. Try this fragrant jeera rice recipe and you’ll start making it for everyone you know!


Every time you eat at an Indian restaurant, you wonder how their rice is so light and fragrant, and how the rice tastes so earthy and fragrant, don’t you?

It’s quite simple really. Instead of plain white rice, you use long-grain rice or basmati rice. Then you flavor it with a nice tadka – that’s what we call the bubbling fragrant mixture of ghee and cumin – and serve it with a delicious paneer korma, masoor dal curry, or another local Indian curry.

And if you want to know what we do with the rice water that we drain out, here’s a secret. Well, not really a secret, every Indian knows it. First, we use it to starch cotton clothes, second, we flush it down the drain, or third, we use it to make our hair shiny as I’ve mentioned in my other post.

What do you need to Cook Jeera Rice Pulao?

To make a pulao of jeera rice or cumin and rice, you’ll need some good quality long-grain white rice itself, cumin or jeera, salt, and water. A lot of water if you want to cook as we do!

Oft times, we also add bay leaves to add flavor to the rice, and coriander leaves after cooking.

How to make Fried jeera Rice at home?

Cook the Rice

Now if you want fluffy long-grain rice like the Indian restaurants all over the world, pick a nice basmati rice. If you’re okay with an almost-long-grain, use any other good long-grain rice.

We used to love using Kohinoor rice till the pandemic made them disappear and we switched to IndiaGate. They were a lot better than Daawat. If you don’t have that, you can still make this recipe with any good white rice that you like.

Anyways, start by rinsing the rice a few times to remove starch and polishing chemicals.

Rice in a pink sieve.
Any white rice or basmati rice will do

Once you’re rice is clean, heat water and salt in a pot. The water should be four or more times the quantity of the rice. There’s no fixed limit, we just use a lot of it. You can also add bay leaves for flavor. Once the water starts boiling, add the rice to it and cook for a while.

Boiling water with salt in a pot.
Boil salt and water

While the rice is cooking, stir it a few times so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom and cooks evenly throughout. If you can’t be bothered, just leave it be. We do that too!

After some time, squish a few grains of rice between your thumb and forefinger to check if it’s cooked. If it’s easily broken, it’s ready. If not, cook the rice for a few more minutes.

Squishing few grains of rice between thumb and forefinger.
Squish rice between thumb and forefinger

Once the rice is ready, drain the rice and set aside. We drain it in the traditional way. See the pic below!

Drain the excess water from the rice by holding a lid over the pot.
Drain the excess water
pot of white boiled rice.
Plain boiled white rice

Make the Jeera Tadka

Add ghee and jeera (cumin seeds) to a small tadka pan. If you don’t have this, use a small frying pan – that works too. Once the cumin starts to sputter and you smell a deep earthy smell, it’s ready.

Cumin or jeera and ghee in a kadai.
Make a tadka of the cumin

Add it to the cooked rice and mix well before serving. You can sprinkle with some chopped parsley if you like.

Glass bowl of Indian cumin rice.
Jeera rice
Jeera rice.
Black pot filled with jeera rice sprinkled with coriander.
Black pot filled with jeera rice sprinkled with coriander.
Black pot filled with jeera rice sprinkled with coriander.

Cooking Tips Or Tricks

FAQ’s About Cooking Cumin-Flavored Rice

Can Cooked Jeera Rice Be Reheated?

Yes, cumin flavored rice can be reheated after you’ve cooked it, for one to two times. Do not reheat it more than that. Also, add in a little water and a bit of ghee while reheating – this makes sure the rice doesn’t get dry.

Can Cooked Rice With Jeera Be Refrigerated or Frozen?

Yes, cumin-fried rice can be refrigerated for about 4 – 7 days. Reheat before serving.

You can also store leftover jeera rice in an airtight container in the freezer where it will stay edible for months. Just add a few spoons of water and a tablespoon of ghee after thawing and reheat well before serving.

What does cumin taste and smell like?

Cumin has a peppery and slightly bitter taste with a warm pungent aroma.

Can I substitute Cumin with caraway seeds?

Caraway seeds have a lighter flavor than cumin, so if you want to use them instead, used double the quantity required. For example, a teaspoon of cumin seeds can be substituted with two teaspoons of caraway seeds.

What to serve with cumin seed fried rice?

This cumin fried rice goes well with almost everything – from red lentil dal or yellow lentil dal to South African oxtail stew or fish chilly fry or East Indian spicy vindaloo or lesser yellow vindaloo. Just make your favorite curry and serve it with the cumin rice. It also goes well with a side of boondi raita, beetroot salad, green tomato salad, or onion salad.

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Black pot filled with jeera rice sprinkled with coriander.

Indian Jeera Rice – Cumin Rice

Abby
Jeera rice is popular across India. Made by adding fried jeera or cumin to cooked rice, it's a cooling and tasty way to serve fluffy white rice or basmati rice!
5 out of 5 Stars by 2 readers!

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Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Tadka Time 2 mins
Total Time 22 mins
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 6 servings
Calories 222 kcal
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Gluten free icon on Abbysplate website.
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Ingredients
  

  • 250 g White Rice or Basmati rice
  • 2 l Water
  • .75 tbsp Salt

For The Tadka

Optional

  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 tablespoon Fresh Coriander Leaves

Instructions
 

  • Rinse the rice with water a few times to remove the starch. We Indians do this to make the rice less fattening.
  • Boil the water with salt in a pot. You can add a few bay leaves for more flavor.
  • Once it starts to boil, add the rice and start cooking. (Note: We Indians always add extra water so that the excess starch can be removed.)
  • Give the rice a couple of stirs after a few minutes so that the grains cook evenly.
  • After 10 mins, pinch two or three grains of rice between your thumb and forefinger. If it breaks well, it's cooked.
  • If it's not ready, cook for a few more minutes.
  • Once the rice has cooked, drain the water and set the rice aside.

Making The Jeera Tadka

  • Add the cumin or jeera to a small pan with the ghee. Allow it to fry for a few minutes till it sputters and you get a nice roasty aroma.
  • Add this cooked cumin to the rice and mix well. The Indian jeera rice is ready to serve.
  • Optionally, sprinkle some chopped fresh coriander on top!

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Notes

  • When using our traditional rinse methods, the salt drains with the excess water, and the rice is left with a normal amount of salt. 
  • For more flavor, you can add a couple of bay leaves to the rice water while boiling.
  • You can use long grain white rice or basmati rice.
  • Add some boiled green peas to turn this into jeera rice pulao.

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Nutrition (Per Serving)

Calories: 222kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 19mg | Sodium: 192mg | Potassium: 67mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 0.1g | Vitamin A: 19IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 1mg

Disclaimer: Nutrition Information per serving is estimated by a third party software based on the ingredients used, and is for informational purposes only. It will vary from product to product, based on methods of preparation, origin and freshness of ingredients. Please consult the package labels of the ingredients you use, or chat with your dietician for specific details.

pinterest image of steps to make jeera rice sprinkled with coriander.
Black pot filled with jeera rice at home.

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