November 14, 2006
Jeera Rice/Cumin Flavored Rice
What do u make when you want an instant pulao or pilaf without the effort? Jeera rice! A weekday or weekend quickie pulao which goes so well with both meat curries and hot spicy curries made with Chole (Chickpeas), Rajma(Kidney beans)or the perennial favorite Ma ki Dal (Black Lentil Curry). My first meal here was jeera rice, rajma, green beans and chicken fry made by my sister in law. Whether it was the gratefulness of reaching home after a million hours on the plane or the familiar aroma of jeera rice, but after that I always look upon jeera rice with fond memories and still think of it as a wonderful combination.
I used to make it with ghee but realised over time that it is the cumin flavor that dominates and it tastes just as great when made with olive oil, so I switched. I add a few pieces of whole pepper which irks some in the family but gets me positive points with my pepper loving better half, so omit it if you don't like peppers exploding in your mouth.
I used the name Kali Jeera rice casually as I have it in my pantry and set off a trail of confusion. The cumin used is still regular whole cumin or jeera seeds. Kali jeera rice is a small grain aromatic rice from the NE India which looks like a smaller version of basmati. I just got tired of the super long basmati and this seemed closer in texture to the Calicut style Ghee(Neichoru) rice which I believe is called the Kaima rice.
It is tiny (almost half the size of basmati)and when boiled as regular rice, is very soft and easy to gobble up. I came across this rice at Subji Mandi recently and just decided to try it out. My imported stock of Kaima rice is over so I am looking for a substitute. The above photo is of jeera rice with basmati though.
You will need:
Basmati or Kali Jeera Rice - 2 cups or 500 gm
Cumin(Jeera)-2 1/2 tsp
Whole Pepper(optional)- 5-6
Ghee/Olive oil – 2 tbsp
Water- double the quantity of rice.;4 cups.
Salt to taste
1. Clean, wash and drain the rice. Let it soak for about 10 minutes.
2. Heat the ghee/oil in a heavy sauté pan and add the cumin seeds and whole spices.
3. When the cumin seeds sizzle, add the wet rice without water and fry till the rice turns opaque, stirring all the time.
4. Bring water to a boil simultaneously and add it to the rice. Add salt as needed. Let the whole mixture come to a boil .Then cover and lower the heat to a simmer.
5. Cook for about 10 minutes on low heat and check if all the water is absorbed from the surface. When you see no water on the surface and there is still water inside, turn off the heat and keep the pan covered for another 5-10 minutes. The rice will continue cooking and will separate each grain out.
6. Fluff the rice gently and serve with any curry.