Aromatic Indian Rice Recipe

Fragrant exotic Indian Rice recipe using toasted whole spices, just like they use in India!

Indian Rice Recipe - #rice #indian

Rice is one of those ingredients that would be very difficult for me to give up.

Whether it’s jasmine, basmati, or wild rice, the smell and texture are endearing and alluring to me. In fact, most of my favorite comfort foods revolve around rice.

There are rice dishes, and then there are rice dishes.

This particular rice dish is the latter… light, fluffy, aromatic, and bursting with intense flavor, making it so much more than a side dish.

To make Indian style rice, you could always boil up a pot of rice and add a little curry powder. The difference in this Indian rice dish, is that we aren’t using curry powder, the blend of dried spices regularly used in Indian cooking.

Instead, we’re using whole individual spices to create vibrant complexity with delicately balanced exotic tones. Sound appealing?

If you like playing with spices, you are going to love this!

Making - Indian Rice Recipe - #rice #indian

I started with whole fenugreek seeks, whole cumin seeds, cardamom pods, ginger, garlic, whole cinnamon and the cherry on top…. Real curry leaves.

You can find curry leaves (along with the fenugreek and cardamom pods) at high-quality grocery chains, and at international markets.

I love digging through those little strip-mall markets for lesser known ingredients like this. Totally worth the drive and time, in my opinion.

Sautéing whole spices to release their flavors into the butter, is the key to building a better Indian rice dish.

How To: Indian Rice Recipe - #rice #indian

Once the fenugreek seeds have softened, add the rice and water. Then boil the rice as directed.

The final touch to this amazing Indian rice dish it to prepare flash-fried curry leaves. Heat a small amount of oil in a skillet. Once it’s hot, add the curry leaves and stand back. Fresh herbs contain lots of moisture and will pop! Once the curry leaves have fried for 10-20 seconds, scoop them out of the skillet, drain on a paper towel and sprinkle with salt.

Top the Indian rice with the crispy curry leaves, and be ready to breath a deep sign of satisfaction when you taste it.

Fragrant Indian Rice Recipe - #rice #indian

Colorful, rich, and zesty with a deep floral flavor from the basmati rice and tantalizing crispy curry leaves mingled throughout.

You’re welcome.


Yield: 6-8 servings

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Indian Rice


  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 3 Tb. ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tb. fresh grated ginger
  • 4 cardamom pods, cracked
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 dried chile pepper (bird, serrano, cayenne...)
  • 1 tsp. fenugreek seeds
  • 3/4 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup whole fresh curry leaves


  1. Heat a large pot over medium to medium-low heat. Add the ghee, onion, garlic, ginger, cardamom pods, cinnamon, chile, fenugreek, and cumin seeds. Saute until the onions are soft and the fenugreek seeds have started to soften, about 12-15 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  2. Add the rice, turmeric, salt and water. Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover and lower the heat again to medium-low. Simmer for 15 minutes, until the rice has absorbed the water and there are steam holes in the top of the rice. Fluff the rice with a fork, cover and set aside to steam for 5-10 more minutes.
  3. Add the oil to a small skillet. Place the skillet over medium-high heat. Once it's very hot, add the curry leaves and step back--herbs contain a lot of moisture and will pop when frying. Fry the curry leaves for 10-20 seconds, just long enough for the popping to stop. Then scoop them out of the oil and and place them on a paper towel to drain. Sprinkle the curry leaves with salt. When ready to serve, scoop the rice into a large bowl, removing the cardamom pods, chile, and cinnamon stick. Top with flash fried curry leaves and serve warm.

Indian Rice goes well with

Indian Spiced Fish

Grilled Indian Chicken

Butter Chicken Sliders

Chicken Tikka Masala – Indian Simmer

Kale Pakora – Kiran Tarun

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17 Responses to “Aromatic Indian Rice Recipe”

  1. #
    Taylor @ Food Faith Fitness — July 25, 2014 @ 4:12 am

    I have been thinking that I haven’t made rice in too long. Being a food blogger I feel ALL the pressure to make everything quinoa.
    But, we are hyooooge Indian fans, so you’ve inspired me to get back on the rice train! Pinned!


  2. #
    Julie @ Running in a Skirt — July 25, 2014 @ 5:15 am

    Wow! I love the time and love that goes into the recipe to really get that flavor!


  3. #
    Tieghan — July 25, 2014 @ 6:41 am

    Rice is by far one of my very favorite sides/grains/foods. We love it over here and I am a huge fan of indian so this is some good looking rice!


  4. #
    Jenny Flake — July 25, 2014 @ 7:10 am

    Love a good rice! This one looks perfect!!


  5. #
    Ambika — July 25, 2014 @ 7:11 am

    Wow! The rice looks lovely. I am so surprised to see that you like the flavor of fenugreek seeds! I know many many Indians ( including my family) scowling at it. The raw seeds are bitter, but they mellow down beautifully after cooking. Do you know that you can grow fresh fenugreek leaves at home? They also taste wonderful and are extremely aromatic. You can actually sprout fenugreek seeds and add them to your salads. They are a powerhouse of nutrition, especially iron. Happy blogging, and btw, I Love your page :-)


    • HappyForks — July 25th, 2014 @ 10:45 am

      Fanugreek seeds are the bomb of vitamin and minerals. They contains all amino acids and as you say iron which is really rare. For more information about fanugreek seeds you can check HappyForks site. Ambika, do you have recipes for other meals in which we can add fanugreek?


  6. #
    Maria — July 25, 2014 @ 7:19 am

    Love this rice! So pretty too!


  7. #
    Kristin @ Tastefully Gluten Free — July 25, 2014 @ 8:35 am

    This rice looks amazing and sounds even better! I love the authentic Indian rice but have never tried to make it myself. Can’t wait to give this recipe a try!


  8. #
    Marla Meridith — July 25, 2014 @ 8:41 am

    One of my favorite rice recipes!


  9. #
    Liz @ The Lemon Bowl — July 25, 2014 @ 1:26 pm

    Love roasting whole spices… was just talking to Heather about fenugreek!


  10. #
    Heather Christo — July 25, 2014 @ 5:15 pm

    What gorgeous rice Sommer- I just LOVE all of the spices and flavors that you included!


  11. #
    Kevin | keviniscooking — July 25, 2014 @ 10:50 pm

    Everything in this is right up my alley and I completely agree with your comment, “I love digging through those little strip-mall markets for lesser known ingredients like this. Totally worth the drive and time, in my opinion.” It’s that attention to detail and passion for the final product that drives me, too. Beautiful photos!


  12. #
    Gaby — July 26, 2014 @ 8:30 pm

    Can’t wait to try this!


  13. #
    jenna — July 27, 2014 @ 10:25 am

    i just adore this rice. The color and flavors are so appealing. I love the idea of crispy curry leaves – brilliant!


  14. #
    Carol at Wild Goose Tea — July 28, 2014 @ 10:12 am

    What a great recipe! I love Indian food. I have to travel 1.5 hrs or more to get
    to an Indian restaurant. So Indian food recipes are on my radar and pin list.


  15. #
    Maahi — December 18, 2014 @ 7:38 am

    Just perfect for me, rice look’s so beautiful.



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