Rice is such an easy-to-make, easy-to-store, affordable meal staple. Knowing how to cook it perfectly can save you time when you need to quickly put something together. But what’s even better, is that by simply adding leftover veggies, dried fruits and nuts, or protein, you can enhance the flavour of steamed rice and make it a sumptuous one-pot meal in itself. Or, it can even serve as an accompaniment to your other dishes. 

If South India has Tomato Bhath or Thengai Sadam, then North India has their Biryani or Jeera rice. Here’s how you can cook your perfect bowl of brown or white rice every single time!

Cooking The Perfect Bowl Of Steamed Rice

White Rice

Both brown and white rice basically come from the same grain, however, white rice goes through an extensive refining process. Brown rice is more of a whole grain (with the husk). It is said to contain a lot of essential vitamins and minerals including folate. 

Nutritional Facts (Per Quarter Cup): Calories: 80 | Carbs: 18g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 0.3g | Fibre: 0.1g

Preparation Time: There’s no prep needed. Just gather the ingredients!

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Servings: 2 cups

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup of white rice (Basmati/Jasmine)
  • 2 cups of water

Method:

  1. Add rice and water over a medium depth saucepan and bring it to a good boil over high heat. Once it starts boiling, lower the heat to a simmer and cover the saucepan. It’s important to make sure that it is on simmer or else your rice will cook too quickly. 
  2. Simmer until the water is completely absorbed and the rice is tender, which can take about 15-20 minutes (this depends on the size and freshness of the rice that you’re using).
  3. Drain excess water if there’s any, and remove the lid. Use a fork and fluff up the rice and put the lid back on to let it rest for about 10 minutes. Your perfect bowl of rice is ready! This can be stored in the freezer for up to 1 month and in the fridge for about 5-6 days.

Brown Rice

Many of us, at one time or the other, have had our brown rice come out too sticky or undercooked. So here’s a foolproof recipe for you to never mess it up again.

Nutritional Facts (Per Quarter Cup): Calories: 70 | Carbs: 16g | Protein: 1.7g | Fat: 0.7g | Fibre: 0.8g

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Servings: 2 cups

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup of brown rice (short grained preferred)
  • 4.5 cups of water

Method:

  1. Soak 1 cup of brown rice in about 3 cups of water at room temperature for 2 hours. Soaking is not compulsory but a preferred method. It helps in removing the naturally occurring phytic acid in the grain, which improves digestibility and shortens the cooking time. 
  2. Rinse the rice once more after 2 hours. Add the rest 1.5 cups of water and the rice in a medium depth saucepan. If you’re not soaking your rice, use 2 cups of water at this stage. 
  3. Bring it to a boil for 5 minutes and then simmer and cover it with a lid. Cook until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender. This might take about 15-20 minutes. 
  4. Turn the gas off and uncover the lid. Drain any excess water and leave it uncovered for about 10 minutes till the rice gets fluffy. At this stage, you can even use a fork to create holes in the rice mound for steam to pass. 
  5. Your perfect brown rice is ready! Store it in the fridge for 5-6 days or in the freezer for upto 1 month.

Recipes To Spice Up Your Rice

Who doesn’t like quick stir-fried rice or one-pot recipes? Almost every Indian household has their favourite kind of stir-fry where they use leftovers to spruce up their steamed rice. Here are 10 recipes for you to add some spice to your preferred type of rice. 

1. One-Pot Dhaniya Lime Chicken & Rice

This one-pot chicken and rice recipe is fragrant and so good in taste that your kids and your entire family will demand it every Sunday for lunch/dinner. 

Nutritional Facts (Per Serving): Calories: 295 | Carbs: 31g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 5g | Fibre: 7g | Sugar: 6g

Preparation Time: There’s no prep needed. Just gather the ingredients!

Cooking Time: 35 minutes

Servings: 6

Ingredients: 

  • 455 g of boneless chicken 
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 diced onion
  • 2 chopped chillies
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2½ cups of chicken broth
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 diced tomatoes
  • 1½ cups of white/brown rice
  • ½ tablespoon salt
  • ¼ tablespoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoons of chopped coriander leaves (dhaniya)

Method:

  1. Take a skillet and heat the oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken and cook it for about 6 minutes after seasoning with salt and pepper.
  2. Remove and set the chicken aside. Add the remaining oil and sauté the onions and chillies for 5 minutes. At this point, add the garlic and cook for an extra minute. 
  3. Add the chicken broth, tomatoes, lime juice, rice and salt and pepper. Stir everything to combine.
  4. Reduce the heat to a low and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the rice is done. Add chicken back to the skillet. Keep in mind to add the dhaniya at the end or else the freshness of the herb will be lost in the extensive cooking process.
  5. Serve this immediately and enjoy your one-pot dhaniya lime chicken rice! 

2. Garlic Egg Fried Rice

Indo-Chinese recipes are a hit in Indian kitchens, especially fried rice. If you’re looking for quick and easy dinner recipes, then this is the one for you.

Nutritional Facts (Per Serving): Calories: 450 | Carbs: 69g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 16g | Fibre: 2g | Sugar: 2g

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Servings: 2

Ingredients: 

  • 3 cups of cooked white/brown rice
  • 1½ tablespoon of vinegar
  • 1½ tablespoon of soya sauce
  • 1 to 2 finely chopped garlic cloves
  • ¼ tablespoon finely crushed black pepper powder
  • Salt as needed
  • 1½ tablespoon of sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoon chopped spring onions (keep the white and the green part separated)
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • ½ capsicum, chopped
  • ½ cabbage, shredded
  • 3 small eggs or 2 large eggs

Method:

  1. For this quick recipe, you need to keep things ready and handy. Keep the cooked rice in one bowl and the chopped veggies in another. Break the eggs in a separate bowl and add a pinch of salt to it. 
  2. Everything is to be cooked on high flame. Heat a pan and add oil. Add the garlic and fry till it slightly changes colour to brown. (Make sure to not burn the garlic)
  3. Add the chopped veggies and the white part of the spring onion until cooked. Fry for about 2-3 minutes. 
  4. Reduce the flame a bit at this stage and add the eggs, vinegar and soy sauce. Scramble them together and let them fry till they are lightly cooked. 
  5. Put the flame back on high and add the rice, the green part of the spring onions, sesame oil, salt and pepper and fry them for about 3 minutes. You might need to adjust the seasoning as per your taste. 
  6. Your garlic egg fried rice is done. Serve it hot and garnish with some more spring onions.

3. Jeera Rice

Make the perfect non-sticky and fluffy jeera rice which is aromatic and delicious in taste. Serve it with your favourite curry.

Nutritional Facts (Per Serving): Calories: 450 | Carbs: 78g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 10g | Fibre: 2g | Sugar: 1g

Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Servings: 3

Ingredients: 

  • 1½ cups of Basmati rice
  • 2 tablespoons of ghee or vegetable oil
  • 1 green chilli, slit and deseeded. 
  • 2½ cups of water for pressure cooker
  • ½ tablespoons of salt 
  • 2 teaspoons of cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 1 bay leaf (tej patta)
  • 4 cardamoms (elaichi)
  • 2 inch cinnamon piece
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 strand of mace or javitri

Method:

  1. Prepare the rice by washing it a few times before the water runs clear. Then soak it in water for at least 30 minutes.
  2. In a pressure cooker, heat ghee or oil and sauté the tej patta, cloves, cinnamon, elaichi and javitri until they start to sizzle. 
  3. Now add the jeera and fry it until a nice aroma comes out. Add the split green chilli. 
  4. Transfer the drained rice to the pressure cooker and fry it until the rice turns a bit glassy. Do not over stir at this stage or the rice will break and form a lump.
  5. Pour the water and add salt. Bring this water to a boil on high heat. Cover the pressure cooker with a lid and cook for 1 whistle. For al dente rice, release the pressure carefully after 2 minutes with the help of a spatula. 
  6. As the pressure releases completely, fluff up the rice with a fork and serve it hot with your favourite curry!

4. Curd Rice

Curd rice is a famous South Indian dish that is made with pre-cooked rice, dahi and tempered spices. Try this recipe out and let us know if you liked it.

Nutritional Facts (Per Serving): Calories: 450 | Carbs: 78g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 10g | Fibre: 2g | Sugar: 1g

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Servings: 2

Ingredients: 

  • ½ cups of white/brown rice
  • 1½ cup water
  • 1½ cup of yoghurt (dahi) 
  • Salt as needed
  • 2 tablespoon of grated carrot
  • 2 tablespoon of grated cucumber
  • 1 teaspoon of dhaniya (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon jeera
  • ¾ to 1 teaspoon chana dal
  • 1 dried red chilli
  • 1 sprig of curry leaves (curry patta)
  • 1 pinch asafoetida (hing)
  • ½ teaspoon ginger, crushed
  • 1 green chilli, chopped
  • 6-8 roasted cashews (kaju badam)

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a pan and add jeera and mustard seeds till it crackles. Once they splutter, add red chilli, chana dal, urad dal and kaju badam. Fry until the dal turns a bit golden.
  2. At this point, add ginger, green chilli and curry patta. Add hing and turn off the stove.
  3. Add this hot tempering to the curd rice (mix the curd and rice together previously) and mix. 
  4. Your South Indian-style curd is ready! If you want you can garnish it with pomegranate seeds as well.

5. Tomato Bhath

Tomato bhath is usually a Udupi restaurant special. There are various varieties of tomato bhath which can be found in different regions of Karnataka. However, this recipe is a TC46 Special!

Nutritional Facts (Per Serving): Calories: 500 | Carbs: 101g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 12g | Fibre: 6.5g | Sugar: 3g

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 25 minutes

Servings: 2

Ingredients: 

  • 2 potatoes, medium sized, cut into cubes
  • 8 beans, cut
  • ¼ cup beetroot, cubed
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 large tomatoes
  • 1-2 green chillies, split
  • 3 tablespoon dhaniya, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
  • ½ teaspoon chilli powder
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper powder
  • 3 tablespoons of oil or ghee
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric (haldi)
  • Salt, as per taste
  • 1½ cups of rice (soaked previously for 30 minutes)
  • 2½ cups of water
  • 1 tej patta
  • ½ teaspoon jeera 
  • 4 elaichi
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 inch cinnamon
  • 6 peppercorns (optional)

Method:

  1. Prepare all the vegetables and spices and keep it ready beforehand. The 30 minutes soaking time for your rice is not included in this preparation time. 
  2. Pour oil or ghee to a pressure cooker and add all the whole spices and fry them till a nice aroma leaves your kitchen. 
  3. Add ginger-garlic paste and fry till the raw smell wears off. At this point add tomatoes, salt and turmeric and keep frying till the tomatoes turn mushy and break down.
  4. Add pepper, red chilli powder and all the veggies and fry them till the raw smell goes away. This can take about 4-5 minutes.
  5. Drain the water from the rice and add it to the pressure cooker along with the dhania leaves. If using, Basmati rice pour about 2½ cups of water and let it whistle once over medium heat. If using aged, brown or non-Basmati rice, let it whistle twice.
  6. When the pressure releases, use a fork and fluff up the rice. Your tomato bhath is ready to be served.

6. Schezwan Fried Rice

This easy-to-make, popular Indo-Chinese recipe is again a family staple and you’ve definitely tried different varieties of it. For this recipe, we will keep it vegetarian. However, you can add protein as per your liking. 

Nutritional Facts (Per Serving): Calories: 545 | Carbs: 102g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 10g | Fibre: 6g | Sugar: 16g

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Servings: 3

Ingredients: 

  • 1½ cups of rice, cooked (any form of fried rice turns out to be the best if the rice used is your leftovers)
  • ¼ cup spring onions
  • ¾ cup chopped carrots
  • ¾ cup french beans, chopped
  • ¾ cup chopped capsicum
  • 1½ tablespoon oil
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon garlic
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon chopped celery (optional)

For The Sauce:

  • 1½ tablespoon oil
  • 1½ tablespoon soya sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tomato ketchup
  • ½ to ¾ tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli paste
  • ½ tablespoon sugar
  • Pinch of salt (can be adjusted later)
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper powder
  • 3 tablespoon water to cook the sauce

Method:

  1. Take a hot wok and add oil to it. Once the oil is hot enough, add the ginger and garlic. Fry it for a few seconds. Add the onions next and fry till golden in colour. 
  2. Make the schezwan sauce ready. To prepare it, take a small pan and add all the ingredients unless the sauce thickens. Add a few more tablespoons of water and cook it further till it thickens again. Remove the sauce from the pan and keep it aside. (Do this step side by side or prepare it earlier)
  3. In the same wok, where the onions were being fried, add the spring onion whites, carrots, beans and capsicum until cooked. Do not overcook them or else they will lose their crunch.
  4. Add the schezwan sauce at this stage, the cooked rice and spring onion greens. 
  5. Mix and stir fry this mixture till it is combined for not more than 2-3 minutes. Taste the rice and adjust the seasoning accordingly.
  6. Your delicious schezwan fried rice is ready to be served hot and fresh!

7. Peas Pulao

This aromatic one-pot rice recipe can be cooked in under 30 minutes. The whole spices, herbs, and of course, the matar, are the key ingredients that go in; it’s a favourite with kids.

Nutritional Facts (Per Serving): Calories: 493 | Carbs: 83g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 13g | Fibre: 3g | Sugar: 3g

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 25 minutes

Servings: 3

Ingredients: 

  • 1½ cup Basmati rice
  • 2½ cups of water for pressure cooker
  • 1 cup of green peas
  • 1 tablespoon of ginger garlic paste
  • 1 to 2 slit green chillies
  • ¼ cup of mint (pudina) 
  • ½ medium onion, sliced (optional)
  • 2 tablespoon ghee
  • Salt, as per taste
  • 1 teaspoon jeera 
  • 6 elaichi
  • 6 cloves
  • 1 tej patta
  • 2 inch cinnamon
  • 1 star anise
  • Small piece of jaiphal or nutmeg

Method:

  1. Prepare the onions, green chillies and the spices beforehand. It’s optional to soak the rice for 30 minutes before cooking. 
  2. Heat ghee or oil in the pressure cooker. Put in the cashews and cook them till slightly golden in colour. 
  3. Add the whole spices and fry them for a minute. Then add the ginger garlic paste, onions, the green chillies, pudina and green peas and sauté them for 3-4 minutes. 
  4. Next, add the rice and cook for another 3 minutes until it turns glassy. Pour water and add salt and cook for 1 whistle on medium high flame. 
  5. Release the pressure and fluff up your rice. Your peas pulao is ready! You can serve it with a raita on the side.

8. Coconut Rice Or Thengai Sadam

This South-Indian special rice recipe is a must try for everybody. It always is a crowd pleaser and we have a foolproof recipe!

Nutritional Facts (Per Serving): Calories: 450 | Carbs: 63g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 12g | Fibre: 3g | Sugar: 4g

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 25 minutes

Servings: 3

Ingredients: 

  • 2 cups of leftover rice
  • ¾ cup freshly grated coconut
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ tablespoon oil
  • ⅓ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon jeera
  • ½ tablespoon Bengal split gram
  • ¼ teaspoon hing
  • 1 tablespoon peanuts
  • 8-10 curry patta
  • 1 dry red chilli & 2 split green chillies
  • Salt, as per taste

Method:

  1. To prepare coconut rice or thengai sadam, take a pan and heat oil. Once the oil is hot, add the butter. This prevents the butter from burning. After the butter melts, add the mustard seeds, jeera, curry patta, hing, chana and urad dal
  2.  Mix and roast the above for a minute or so. Then, add in the peanuts and again fry for an extra minute.
  3. Add the sliced green chillies and grated coconut. Sauté it for 3 minutes and add the cooked rice. 
  4. Add the seasoning to the mix and cover with a lid. Lower the flame and let it cook for 2 minutes. 
  5. Squeeze half a lemon before serving it hot. Your thengai sadam is ready!

9. Mexican Rice

It’s interesting to note that Mexican rice is not at all a staple of Mexico, but of India. Indians created this dish and named it Mexican rice. And the great thing is that a lot of the spices used are similar to the Indian palate, which is why it’s such a desi favourite.

Nutritional Facts (Per Serving): Calories: 450 | Carbs: 63g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 12g | Fibre: 3g | Sugar: 4g

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Servings: 2

Ingredients: 

  • 2 tablespoons of oil
  • 1 cup Basmati rice, rinsed
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • ½ capsicum, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon carrot, diced
  • 2 tablespoon of corn
  • 2 tablespoon of peas
  • 3 finely minced cloves of garlic
  • 2 cup of vegetable stock.
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • ½ tablespoon salt (can be adjusted later)
  • 2 teaspoon dhaniya, finely chopped

Method:

  1. Take 2 tablespoon of oil in a pan and add the Basmati rice to it. Cook it for 5 minutes or until a nutty aroma leaves from the pan. 
  2. Now add all the vegetables and garlic and fry for about 2 minutes. Further, add the vegetable stock. Water can also be added in place of stock. 
  3. Then add the pepper, salt and mix well. Get the water to boil on high flame and cover the lid.
  4. Simmer it and cook until the rice is done. This shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes. 
  5. Rest it for 5 minutes before serving. Top it off with fresh dhaniya leaves and a squeeze of lemon juice!

10. One Pot Spinach Rice

Try this nutritious and delicious one-pot spinach rice recipe and let us know how it turned out. There is nothing more perfect for a Sunday family lunch than this. 

Nutritional Facts (Per Serving): Calories: 350 | Carbs: 53g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 7.8g | Fibre: 2.5g | Sugar: 2.5g

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Servings: 3

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup of white rice
  • 2-3 cups of spinach (palak)
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2-3 cloves of minced garlic
  • 2 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1½ teaspoon of curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a large pan and add the garlic. Fry till it’s fragrant. 
  2. Add the onion and fry until translucent. Then add the diced tomatoes and cook them unless they soften for about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Next, you need to add the palak and rice. Cook them together for 5 minutes before adding in the water or stock.
  4. Season with curry powder, salt and pepper. This can be adjusted later on as per taste. 
  5. Simmer the rice mixture for about 20 minutes unless it’s cooked. Turn off the heat and serve this nutritious spinach rice for your Sunday lunch.

With so many different recipes that one can try with rice, you’re spoilt for choice. Have any secret recipes of your own? Do share!

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