This recipe makes the perfect Jeera Rice in a Pan. Tempered with cumin seeds and whole spices in ghee or oil, use this method to make fragrant, fluffy, and perfectly cooked Basmati Rice.
Jeera or Zeera in Hindi translates to cumin seeds and that kind of explains why this dish is named Jeera Rice! It is literally Basmati Rice cooked with a tempering of cumin seeds. Jeera Rice is a really popular dish that takes very little prep work. There are so many variations of the rice, and once you nail the process of cooking rice well, you can play around with the tempering and spices.
Nearly every restaurant or wedding function with an extravagant buffet will have some or the other form of Jeera Rice. It is such a fragrant and versatile dish and makes for the perfect accompaniment to pretty much any spicy curry or Dal.
What do you need for Jeera Rice?
You’ll need very few ingredients for the basic version of the Jeera Rice. Then of course, you can always spruce it up with other spices and veggies to make variations.
- Basmati Rice gives the most authentic jeera rice experience, but honestly, you can use any rice as long as you adjust the water proportions suitably.
- Jeera or Cumin Seeds of course form the heart and soul of this recipe. Start with a tablespoon per cup, but if you’re a fan, then there really is no need to measure it. When I run out of cumin seeds, I also sometimes just use carom seeds or flax seeds, or sesame seeds. It’s not the same flavors, but still works!
- Whole Spices like Cinnamon, Bay Leaf, Cloves, Star Anise, Cardamom, etc. make the rice even more fragrant. In fact, if you’re using regular rice (and not basmati), I’d urge you to use it even more to drive the aroma.
- Aromatics like Green Chili, Garlic, and Ginger are optional, but I like them in my Jeera Rice.
- Oil or Ghee or Butter, for fat, makes everything taste better! And also, you need some fat to bloom the spices and cumin seeds. In fact, to reap the best benefits of consuming cumin seeds, you need to cook them in some fat.
Rice-to-water Ratio for Basmati Rice
Ideally, you need 2 cups of Water for 1 cup of Basmati Rice. If you like it well cooked, maybe take it up to 2.5 cups. But the quantity of water can greatly vary based on the type of rice you use, and how old it is. Start with 1.5 cups and adjust up as needed.
What to serve Jeera Rice with?
Because this rice is so simple as is, it goes really well with pretty much any veggie or meat-based curries or even Dal. A popular combination is Jeera Rice and Dal Tadka. But you can also serve it with:
- Dal Makhani
- Pindi Chole
- Rajma Masala
- Paneer Tikka Masala (or just about any Paneer or Tofu gravy dish)
- Aloo Matar
- Pretty much any spicy gravy dish
- I even eat it with Pav Bhaji sabji many a time!
Can you make this ahead of time?
Yes! If you’re cooking for a large gathering, you can make this ahead of time and reheat it in the microwave in batches. Or if you’re planning to batch cook for the week, just store it in the refrigerator, and consume it within a week.
What are some variations of this Cumin Rice?
Once you’ve nailed the basic process of making jeera pulao, you can make so many different variations. Here are some ideas for you to think outside the box –
- After you add your aromatics (and before the rice), you can saute onions for extra flavor
- You can also add veggies to the dish (which will make it more a pulao than jeera rice, but delicious!)
- Swap cumin seeds for any other seeds like caraway, carom, sesame, flax, etc.
- Add frozen peas to the mix and you’ve got Matar Pulao
Can I make Jeera Rice with leftover cooked rice?
The process I’ve mentioned here is cooking. everything together in a Pan, including the tempering. But yes, you can also make Jeera Rice with leftover rice. fluff up the rice, make the tempering, and then add the rice, fry for a few minutes and that’s about it.
Here is a quick recipe video on how to make the Indian Cumin Rice (zeera rice) at home –
Jeera Rice in a Pan
- 1 cup Basmati Rice
- 1 Tbsp Cumin Seeds (Jeera)
- 1 inch Cinnamon Stick (dalchini)
- 2-4 pieces Cloves (laung)
- 1 piece Star Anise (chakra phool)
- 1 piece Bay Leaf (tej patta)
- 1 tsp Salt (adjust to taste)
- 1-2 pieces Green Chili, split (hari mirch)
- 1 tsp grated Ginger (adrak)
- 1 tsp minced Garlic (lehsun)
- 1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil or Ghee or Butter
- 1.5-2 cups Water (quantity differs based on type of rice you use)
- Wash Basmati Rice well until water runs clear. Soak rice in cold water for at least 30 minutes. This helps speeden the cooking time. Then discard the water.
- In a nonstick pan with high sides, heat oil/butter/ghee.
- Add whole spices (cinnamon, cloves, bay leaf, star anise) and let them turn aromatic. (about 30-60 seconds)
- Add the cumin seeds and fry for 20-30 seconds until the seeds bloom.
- Add the green chili, ginger and garlic and fry 30 seconds.
- Add the drained rice and saute until the rice dries out a bit.
- Add salt and water, bring it to a boil. Simmer to lowest heat, cover with a lid and cook for 15-18 minutes or until the rice is fully cooked through.
- Once the rice cools a bit, fluff up with a fork gently, without breaking it up. Discard the whole spices.
- Serve it hot with some spicy curry or Dal.
- Ideally, the water-to-rice ratio for Basmati Rice is 2:1, but the quantity can differ based on the type of rice, how old it is, and so on. So start with 1.5 cups, and adjust as needed.
- You can also use regular rice to make this recipe, just modify the water as needed.
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