Jeera rice recipe with step by step photos. Broadly There are two ways jeera rice is made and this recipe post details both the methods. You can choose the method that suits your time and budget.
Jeera rice or cumin rice – one and the same ?
Cumin seeds are also known as jeera in Hindi language. that’s how this famous rice dish gets its name as jeera rice. So this rice dish can also be called as cumin rice. Thus both jeera rice or cumin rice are one and the same. It is an aromatic rice dish which is lightly spiced with whole garam masala and has the earthy flavors of cumin.
Jeera rice is also one of the most popular Indian rice-based dish served in restaurants. many people prefer to have jeera rice instead of plain basmati rice to go along with dals or curry dishes. The tempering with cumin and fragrant whole spices takes the simple rice dish a level notch up.
Making jeera rice using any of the two methods is easy and even bachelors can make it. You can make it for guests or special occasions or also for everyday food when you want to perk up your meals. As mentioned above, I have shared two recipes or methods of making jeera rice described below.
1. Restaurant style jeera rice
- This jeera rice recipe gives a restaurant style taste and is mildly spiced, fragrant and tastes too good with full-on flavors from the cumin.
- In this recipe method, the rice grains are cooked first with whole spices. Then a tempering with cumin and green chillies is made. This tempering is then added to the cooked rice and mixed. This method of making jeera rice is mostly used in restaurants.
- Optionally the rice can be cooked with some saffron strands to add some Color and Flavor in the cumin rice.
- This method is also useful if you have some leftover cooked rice. If using leftover cooked rice then alter the ingredients accordingly depending upon the quantity of rice.
2. Jeera rice or jeera pulao – one pot method
- In this jeera rice recipe method, the jeera and whole spices are sauteed first in oil. Then the rice is cooked along with the spices. This method is similar to that making of pulao. Hence this jeera rice can also be called as jeera pulao.
- This is a one pot method and can be made both in a pressure cooker or in a pan or pot. In this second method of making cumin rice the rice imbibes the flavor of jeera (cumin) and the whole garam masala really well as everything is cooked together in one pot.
- This jeera rice tastes very much similar to the jeera rice we get in the Punjabi dhaba minus the reddish-orange and yellow Color. if you want some Color, then add saffron or turmeric. Better to use natural Coloring ingredients than artificial Coloring agents.
Tips to make nonsticky, fluffy and best jeera rice
1. Quality of basmati rice – To get a fluffy and nonsticky jeera rice or pulao, the quality of basmati rice has to be very good. Each grain should expand and fluff up after cooking and yet remain separate. Aged basmati rice works very well when making jeera rice, pulao or biryani. You can even use parboiled basmati rice (sella basmati chawal) which also gives excellent results.
2. Soaking rice – As a practice, it is always better to soak rice for a minimum of 20 minutes to a maximum of 30 minutes. Soaking rice ensures that the grains expand and cook really well. Less water is also required for boiling soaked rice grains thereby reducing the cooking time as well.
3. Rinsing rice – As a practice I always rinse rice before cooking. Rinsing rice removes some starch from the grains and do not allow them to stick after cooking. The rice grains have to be rinsed for a number of times before the water is clear of starch.
4. Rice to water ratio – The rice to water ratio always depends on the quality of rice that is used. Usually, I have found that organic basmati rice requires more water to cook than the regular basmati rice. So use your cooking experience when boiling rice. Though mostly when cooking the rice to water ratio is 1:2 for rice (which has been previously soaked) and water respectively. Do check the below ratios too.
- Rice to water ratio in a pressure cooker – 1:1.5 or 1.75
- Rice to water ratio in a pan or pot – 1:2 or 1:2.5
4. Stirring rice – While cooking, if you need to stir the rice grains, then use a fork and not a spoon. A spoon will break the rice grains more as compared to a fork. Also, do not stir the rice many times as this will break the rice grains.
5. Frying the jeera (cumin) and spices – The cumin seeds and the whole spices have to crackle and smell aromatic before you proceed further. In simple words, they need to be fried well. To get the browning and crackling of these spices, the oil or ghee has to be medium hot when you add the spices. As soon as you add the spices, they will crackle and release their essential oils in the ghee or oil. At this point, one has to be quick and proceed to the next step in the recipe. Also, remember not to burn the spices.
6. Secret ingredient – One spice which I never miss adding in jeera rice is mace (javitri). mace gives a unique flavor and fragrance to jeera rice. So make sure to add this aromatic spice. Since mace can become quite strong in any dish, add very fewer quantities. Just one or two strands are enough for one cup of raw rice.
Jeera rice can be served with dals (lentils) or North Indian curries and gravy dishes.
Few more rice recipes for you !
- Ghee rice – an aromatic and delicious rice dish made with ghee and spices from the South Indian cuisine.
- Nei choru – aromatic savory rice dish made with rice, ghee and spices from the Kerala cuisine.
- Biryani rice – a light, aromatic rice dish which is easy to prepare and goes very well with any rich vegetarian curry or dal.
- Pulao – aromatic and delicious one pot rice dish made with mix vegetables.
- Lemon rice – a crunchy, flavorful and sour rice recipe from south India.
- Kuska rice – South Indian style spiced flavorful biryani rice served as an accompaniment with a gravy dish.
for cooking rice
- 1 cup basmati rice
- 4 cups water
- 1 tej patta (indian bay leaf)
- 2 green cardamoms
- 1 black cardamom
- ½ inch cinnamon
- 2 cloves
- 1 to 2 single strands of mace
- 1 teaspoon salt or as required
for tempering jeera rice
- 2 tablespoons oil or 1.5 tablespoon ghee (clarified butter)
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 1 green chilli - chopped, optional
- 1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves
- Rinse basmati rice till the water runs clear of starch. Soak the rice for 30 mins and then drain all the water. Keep aside.
- Heat 4 cups water till it comes to a boil. Add all the whole spices. Add rice and salt. Simmer the rice on a low flame uncovered.
- The rice grains should be cooked till tender and yet separate. Drain the water and keep the cooked rice aside.
- If you want you can rinse also the rice with water at room temperature. This stops the cooking of the rice and keeps the grains separate.
making jeera rice
- Heat oil in a small pan. Add cumin/jeera.
- Let them crackle. They have to be fried well otherwise you will taste uncooked cumin in the rice.
- Add the green chilies. Stir for a few seconds. No need to brown the chilies.
- Add the tempering to the hot or warm rice.
- With a fork, gently mix the tempering with the rice grains. Even if some rice grains break, its alright. Do gently taking care so as not to break the rice grains.
- Add coriander and gently mix or garnish the rice with coriander at the time of serving.
- Serve jeera rice hot or warm with a dal or vegetable/paneer curry of your choice.
Nutrition Info (approximate values)
Recipe 1- restaurant style jeera rice
1. Rinse 1 cup basmati rice for some times in water till the water runs clear of starch. Then soak the rice for 30 mins in enough water. Later drain all the water and keep the soaked rice aside.
2. Heat 4 cups water and bring it to a boil. Add all the whole spices – 1 Indian bay leaf, 2 green cardamoms, 1 black cardamom, ½ inch cinnamon, 2 cloves and 1 to 2 single strands of mace.
3. Add rice and 1 teaspoon salt or add salt as per taste. Simmer the rice on a low flame uncovered. Also, check the taste of the water and it should taste a bit salty.
4. The rice grains should be cooked till tender and yet separate.
5. The texture of the cooked rice grains is shown in the below picture. I usually cook rice grains a bit more softer than what is served in restaurants. The reason being that if the rice grains have even a small bite in them, then they cause indigestion problems.
6. Using a colander or strainer, drain the water and keep the cooked rice aside. If you want, you can rinse also the rice with water at room temperature. This stops the cooking of the rice and keeps the grains separate.
Tempering for jeera rice
7. Heat 2 tablespoons oil or 1.5 tablespoons ghee in a small pan on a medium-low or medium flame. Add 2 teaspoons cumin seeds (jeera).
8. Let them crackle. They have to be fried well otherwise you will taste uncooked cumin in the rice.
9. Add 1 chopped green chilli. Stir for a few seconds. No need to brown the chillies.
10. Add the tempering to the hot or warm rice.
11. With a fork, gently mix the tempering with the rice grains. Even if a few rice grains break, it is alright. Do gently taking care so as not to break the rice grains.
12. Add 1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves and gently mix or garnish with coriander at the time of serving.
Serve jeera rice with gravy dishes like rajma masala, kadai mushroom or even any dal like chana dal fry or dal palak.
Recipe 2 – Jeera rice one pot method
This jeera rice recipe method is easy and very different from the first jeera rice recipe. The spices are crackled in ghee first. Later rice and water are added. Then everything is cooked together.
- 1 cup basmati rice
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 1inch cinnamon (dalchini)
- 1 black cardamom
- 2 green cardamoms
- 1 tej patta (Indian bay leaf)
- 2 to 3 cloves
- 5 to 6 whole black peppercorns
- 1 or 2 single threads of mace (javitri)
- 1 star anise (badian or chakriphool) – optional
- 1.5 to 2 cups water or add as required
- 2 tablespoons oil or ghee
- Some coriander leaves for garnishing (optional)
- Salt as required
How to make jeera rice
1. Rinse 1 cup basmati rice, 3 to 4 times in water or till the water runs clear of starch.
2. Then soak the basmati rice in water for 30 minutes.
3. Later using a colander drain all the water from the rice. Keep aside.
Frying spices for jeera rice
4. Heat 2 tablespoons ghee or oil in a heavy pan or pot. Keep the flame to medium-low or medium.
5. Let the ghee or oil become hot on a medium-low to medium flame.
6. Add 2 teaspoons jeera (cumin seeds) and stir. The cumin will begin to crackle.
7. Quickly add all the whole spices – 1-inch cinnamon, 1 black cardamom, 2 green cardamoms, 1 tej patta, 1 star anise (optional), 2 to 3 cloves, 5 to 6 black peppercorns and 1 to 2 single strands of mace.
8. Fry for a few seconds till the spices become aromatic. Do not burn the spices.
9. Immediately add the soaked rice. Then lower the flame.
10. Stir and saute the rice for 1 to 2 minutes so that the ghee or oil coats each rice grain.
11. Add 2 cups of water or as required depending on the quality of rice.
12. Sprinkle salt as required and stir very well. Check the taste of the water and it should taste a bit salty.
Making jeera rice
13. Cover the pan with a lid. On a low flame simmer till the rice grains are tender and cooked well.
14. Using a fork, do check a couple of times when the rice is cooking. If all the water has been absorbed and the rice grains are not cooked, then add some more hot water.
15. The rice should get cooked but not mushy or pasty.
16. When the rice is done, gently fluff the rice with a fork.
17. Add some coriander leaves.
Serve jeera rice with dal or any gravy based dish. We had jeera rice with mushroom peas curry. You can serve it with any curry dish like Kashmiri dum aloo, rajma recipe or paneer curry or paneer tikka masala.