Soak rice in a bowl in enough water for 30 minutes. Drain and then set aside.
You could use any rice like sona masuri, surti kolam or parimal rice or even basmati rice. I used hand pounded sona masuri rice.
Add the rice in a 2 litre pressure cooker along with 0.75 to 1 cups water and salt (optional). Pressure cook for 2 whistles.
Since this rice was hand pounded rice, I cooked for 3 whistles and added 1.25 cups water.
You can also cook the rice in a pot or pan adding 3 to 3.5 cups water. Then drain the water once the rice grains are cooked.
When the rice is cooking, peel and grate 2 medium sized carrots. Keep the grated carrots aside. Also slice 1 small onion and chop one green chili.
When the pressure settles down on its own, open the lid of the cooker.
Gently fluff the rice grains and allow them to cool completely. I cooled the rice in the cooker itself. But you can also take the rice grains in a large plate or tray to cool them.
In a pan heat the oil and add the thinly sliced onions.
Stir and saute the onions on a low to medium heat until onions start to turn light golden. Add a pinch of salt for cooking the onions quickly.
When the onions begin to get light golden, add the cashews and raisins. Mix very well.
Sauté until the raisins become plump. By the time the raisins become plump, the onions will also get golden.
Remove the onions, cashews and raisins with a slotted spoon and keep aside.
Making carrot rice
In the same pan, some oil will be left. Lower the heat. Now add mustard seeds, tej patta, cinnamon, cardamoms and cloves.
Stir and sauté until the mustard crackles.
Now add the chopped green chilies, curry leaves and a pinch of asafetida (optional).
Stir and saute for half a minute. Add the grated carrots. Mix very well.
Saute the carrots for about 3 minutes on a low to medium heat. Depending on the size of gratings, the sautéing can take less or more time.
Add the steamed rice and stir. Season with salt. Again mix very well and switch off the flame.
Lastly add the fried onions, cashews and raisins. Also add chopped coriander leaves.
Mix very well. You can also garnish carrot rice with the fried onions, cashews and raisins while serving.
Serve carrot rice with a side raita or salad.
Serve carrot rice with a side of a raita or salad. You can even pack it as a tiffin box lunch with some chutney or a veggie stir fry.
The tangy sour flavors of an onion-tomato salad combine nicely with the mild, sweet flavors of this carrot rice.
In fact a tangy tomato salad or even a mayo salad will pair greatly. If you do not have any veggies, simply serve carrot rice with a simple plain curd (yogurt).
Though you mostly won't have any leftovers, but in case if you do have, then refrigerate and consume within a day. Do not keep for a longer time in the fridge. Rice is best had when freshly made.
Rice: You could use any Indian variety of non-sticky rice to make this recipe. I make carrot rice with Indian varieties of rice but any non-indian varieties or strains of rice would also work well. Just that you will need to adjust the water and cooking time.
Oil: Neutral flavored oils are a better option for this recipe. But even coconut oil works nicely.
Onions: A variety of onions like shallots, pearl onions, scallions, red, white, and yellow onions can be added.
Dry fruits and nuts: If you do not have cashews or raisins, simply skip them or add the nuts that you have.
Spices: Though you can skip mustard seeds, but do include cinnamon, cloves, and green cardamoms. Instead of mustard seeds, you can also add cumin. Cumin would give a different flavor profile to the dish but will taste good. Curry leaves and asafetida can be omitted.
Green chillies: A bit of heat balances the sweetness in the carrot rice recipe. So you can swap green chili peppers for any hot pepper of your choice. Simply add about ½ teaspoon of it. Or swap for ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper or red chilli powder.
Using leftover rice: If you have leftover steamed or cooked plain white rice - then you need only 3 cups of it. Simply follow all the recipe steps from sautéing the onions, spices, carrots, and mixing rice with the sautéed mixture.
Cooking rice in a pan: You can easily cook rice in a pan. Add the rice, salt, and 3 to 3.5 cups water in a pan. Simmer on medium-low heat until the rice grains are fluffy and tender. Drain the extra water. Let the cooked rice grains cool at room temperature.
Spicing: For small kids, you can skip the green chilies. If you like spicy food, then you can definitely add more green chilies or couple it with red chili powder or cayenne pepper. You can even add ¼ teaspoon of turmeric powder for yellow-colored rice. If you do not have whole spices like cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves, substituting about ¼ teaspoon garam masala powder will work too.
Veggies: Apart from carrots, some bell peppers (capsicum), cabbage, and steamed green peas or boiled corn kernels when added will make it a hearty meal.
Gluten-free recipe: To make this carrot rice gluten-free, skip the asafetida or use a gluten-free asafoetida.
Scaling: You could easily make a large batch of this carrot rice recipe.