Easy and delicious, Fragrant Basmati Rice is a perfect side to any simple protein. So easy to add your own embellishments; both gluten-free and vegetarian
Behind the scenes - Fragrant Basmati Rice
Cooking with coconut oil?
It's the Paleo way.
And that's what EVERYONE is doing right? Eating the Paleo way? Or the Gluten-free way? Or the Vegan way.
I am none of the above. I like to eat all things, and believe all things in moderation are good for you. Moderation being the key. But I do like certain parts of the new eating trends, for Paleo, it's all about fats and good proteins.
Gluten-free? There are those that must, of course, but even if you don't have too ... too much pasta and processed starches can be very bad for your general health.
Unless you are Italian. Then I think pasta is part of your DNA and if you don't eat it every day bad things will happen. 🙂
And while I won't go Vegan, I do happily incorporate more vegetarian fare into my daily diet. Meat as a part of the meal, not the main focus of the meal. And as I continue to purchase and eat more and more local and humanely raised proteins, which tend to be more expensive, I find it a lot easier to just buy less and use vegetables more prominently.
I don't care that they say cooking with coconut oil is a better alternative to many oils, you can taste the coconut in the final dish. At least I can. Every time I use it. But you know what? In this dish for Fragrant Basmati Rice, it works. I love the slight back flavor of coconut along with the other spices. If you are not a fan of coconut then I wouldn't use it; use another oil in its place.
I guess this is a recipe for Fragrant, Fragrant Rice..
This recipe for Fragrant Basmati Rice came to be after my husband and I had a wonderful dinner at a fun, neighborhood restaurant in Eureka CA called Brick and Fire Bistro. My husband, a big fan of all things Basmati, had a wonderfully fragrant side made with Basmati rice, spices, herbs, and nuts. He's been Jonesing for it since, so I thought it was high time I came up with my rendition.
Basmati rice comes from North India and Pakistan. The name comes from the Sanskrit word, vasmati, which means fragrant. So I guess this is a recipe for Fragrant, Fragrant Rice.
But I like Fragrant Basmati Rice better.
I started by sautéing some cumin seed and black mustard seeds in coconut oil and ghee; then I added the rinsed and mostly dry rice; sauté, stirring for a few until the rice is translucent around the edges and coated. This is what gives it that broken rice/softer texture. Then I added the spices along with water; mix and stir; cover and cook. Once the rice is tender, about 20 minutes; I put some thawed frozen peas in (optional) and let that sit, covered, for about 3 minutes. Fluff and serve. If you wanted, you could, at this point, add some nuts. At Brick and Fire, they added toasted sunflower seed kernels; chopped cashews would be tasty as well. I didn't this time, but will next time. You could also add some chopped cilantro if you wanted.
Cooking is so fun.
Do what you want!
Play with your food.
Fragrant Basmati Rice
- 1 cup Basmati rice rinsed in a fine sieve until water runs clear then dried either by shaking the sieve vigorously until no water drips or spread onto a tea towel (or folded paper towels) to dry
- 2 teaspoons coconut oil or other oil
- 1 teaspoon Ghee or unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon whole black or brown mustard seeds if you don't have, add another ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon or to taste, curry powder
- Salt to taste
- 2 cups water most Basmati has a ratio of 1 cup rice to 2 cups water, but check yours to be sure. Add the water they tell you to, not what I tell you to
- ½ cup defrosted frozen peas optional
- Toasted sunflower seed kernels or chopped roasted cashews, optional
- Chopped fresh cilantro optional
- Heat the coconut oil and ghee together in a pan with a tight-fitting lid; add the cumin and mustard seed and sauté for 2 - 3 minutes over medium-low heat, or until you can smell them (don't let them burn); then add the dried rinsed rice. Sauté the rice until the edges are just beginning to turn translucent and the rice kernels are coated; about 3 minutes. Stir in the cumin powder and curry along with a nice pinch of salt, stir in the water and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer over low heat until the water is absorbed, check after 15 minutes but more than likely it will be 20 minutes. Add your optional ingredient; if using the peas, allow them to sit on top of the rice in the covered pot for 3 minutes; then stir, fluff and serve.