i remember making parsi brown rice first time in my home science cooking classes. those times were just cooking, learning new recipes and methods… and scoring good marks in the cooking tests. since we only cooked in our college and occasionally cooked at home.
along with the brown rice we had also made dhansak. now both the dhansak and the brown rice were wow. in fact they were so good, that i wanted my family to have a taste of parsi cuisine. but this never happened. my folks never venture into other cuisines and are happy with their regular south indian, goan and maharashtrian fare.
i so clearly remember, our food and nutrition professor telling us that the rice has brown color tones. and this brown color is due to the caramelization of sugar and onions. this is a distinct feature of this rice dish.
the rice has mild sweet tones due to presence of sugar and onions both. whole garam masala or spices are added which makes them aromatic like a jeera rice or a pulao. but the taste is very different, unlike a jeera rice.
i had made this brown rice recently to go with parsi dhan dar or parsi dal. the very plain and mild parsi dal was a nice combination with the lightly sweet and aromatic brown rice. i would suggest a spicy dish like a potato roast or arbi/colocasia fry or even a spicy patio to accompany both the dhan dar and the brown rice.
this recipe is adapted from my home science notes. instead of caramelizing the sugar separately, its caramelized with the onions. i consider this to be an easy and fuss free method of making brown rice. i always opt for easy and simple cooking methods while making any dish, unless the recipe calls for too many steps or methods.
parsi brown rice details below:
- 2 cups basmati rice
- 1 or 2 inch cinnamon
- 4-5 green cardamoms
- 4-5 cloves
- 4-5 whole black peppercorns
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 1.5 to 2 tsp regular sugar or 3 tsp organic unrefined cane sugar
- 2 tbsp oil or ghee
- 3.5 to 4 cups water
- salt as required
- soak the basmati rice in enough water for 30 mins.
- after 30 mins, drain the rice and keep aside.
- heat oil or ghee in a thick bottomed pot.
- add the cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and black pepper.
- fry till they get fragrant.
- add the sliced onions.
- stir and fry the onions till they get translucent and are softened.
- now add sugar and stir.
- continue frying the onions till they caramelize or get browned.
- the sugar will also caramelize.
- keep on stirring in between to ensure even browning.
- when the onions have got browned, quickly remove some onions for garnishing. they will have sweet taste and will be a little sticky due to the caramelization of sugar.
- add the rice and gently stir.
- pour 4 cups water.
- add salt and stir.
- cover tightly and let the rice cook till done and all the water is absorbed.
- check once or twice when the rice is cooking.
- if the water is all absorbed and the rice is not cooked completely, then add a few tbsps of water.
- don't stir as you don't want to break the rice grains.
- cover and cook the rice for 2-3 minutes more.
- serve parsi brown rice garnished with the fried onions with veg dhansak, patio or parsi dal.