1 tablespoon canola or other neutral oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 cup diced yellow onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups basmati rice
3 cups Chicken Stock or lightly salted chicken broth of your choice (use a light-colored broth to retain the traditional white color of Indian-style rice)
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1. In a medium saucepan with a well-fitting lid, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds, sauteeing them in the oil for 1-2 minutes. Add the onions, turn the heat to medium-high and saute for 3 minutes. Add the minced garlic and saute briefly, just until fragrant, then add the rice. Saute the rice in the oil with the other ingredients for about 3 minutes. The grains of rice will become opaque, but should not brown.
2. Add the broth, peas and salt. Stir to combine everything, being sure no grains of rice are clinging to the sides of the pan. Bring the mixture back to a simmer, then cover and turn the heat to low. Cook, covered, over low heat for 20 minutes.
3. Briefly lift the lid and check the rice. If there is still unabsorbed liquid in the pan, cover and continue to cook for another 10 minutes. Check again and repeat if needed (unlikely). If the liquid disappears before the rice is fully cooked, add another 1/4 cup liquid to the pan, cover, and cook for another 10 minutes.
4. When rice is cooked and liquid is absorbed, stir and taste; add another pinch of salt if needed. When finished, stir with a fork to fluff the rice, remove from heat and remove the lid (so the rice doesn't overcook and become sticky).
This is another recipe from my friend Bhavani, who rattled this off over the phone as a side dish for a couple of Indian entrees (this one and this one) we were including in a fundraiser cookbook for my daughter’s elementary school. Since then, this dish also had a star turn on India day in my summer cooking camp based on my recipe series called Why Did the Chicken Cross the Globe?
It’s a pretty straightforward dish with classic Indian flavor. Enjoy. :)
Thank you to Bhavani Balasubramanian for the original version of this recipe.