The Intrepid Eater’s Jeera Rice

jeera rice

This easy Indian side dish of spiced rice goes great with curries, stews, or even on its own as a vegetarian main. Feel free to experiment with the spices and develop the exact flavour that you want, like I did here. To make this vegan, feel free to swap out the ghee or butter with vegetable oil. 

  • Prep Time5 min
  • Cook Time20 min
  • Total Time25 min
  • Yield4 servings as a side dish


  • 1 cup (250mL) white basmati rice
  • 1 tablespoon (15mL) butter, ghee, or vegetable oil
  • Small handful of curry leaves OR 2 bay leaves
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 2 whole green cardamom pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 teaspoons (10mL) whole cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5mL) kosher salt (a pinch)
  • 2.5 cups (625mL) water



Dump rice into a bowl or strainer and rinse under cold running water for a minute, or until the water begins to run a bit clearer. 

Drain and set aside.


Heat the butter, ghee, or oil in a medium pot over medium heat. 

Add all of the spices except for the salt. Stir them around until they begin to sizzle and the aroma begins to waft out of the pot. 


Now add the rinsed and drained rice. Stirring every couple of seconds, lightly toast the rice for 3 minutes or so.

The edges of the rice grains should start to become more opaque and chalky looking and the smell of toasty rice should begin to waft out of the pot. 

A good cook uses their nose!


Now add the salt and the water to the pot and stir everything together.

Raise the temperature to high and bring everything to a boil, stirring occasionally. 


Once the rice has come to a boil, reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. 

Set a timer for 20 minutes. Under no circumstances are you allowed to open that lid!


After 20 minutes, take the rice off of the heat and let sit without opening for another 10 minutes. 

This lets the moisture re-integrate with the rice. 

After about 10 minutes has elapsed, fluff up the rice with a fork and serve. Enjoy!

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