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.

Indian Rice goes well with

Indian Spiced Fish

Grilled Indian Chicken

Butter Chicken Sliders

Chicken Tikka Masala – Indian Simmer

Kale Pakora – Kiran Tarun

Indian Rice

Yield: 6-8 servings

Prep Time:5 minutes

Cook Time:35 minutes

5 / 5 (5 Reviews)
Did you make this recipe?   Leave a review »


  • 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.
All images and text ©

Making this recipe? Why not take a quick shot and share it on Instagram! Make sure to tag it #ASpicyPerspective so we can see what you're cooking!

Share This Recipe With Friends!

Other Great Recipes

You May Also Like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

23 comments on “Aromatic Indian Rice Recipe

  1. Thalia Scottposted February 12, 2019 at 2:34 am Reply

    Most Delicious.

    Rating: 5
  2. Pingback: What Goes with Meatloaf? - Big Evaluate

  3. Pingback: What Goes with Meatloaf? – Big Evaluate

  4. Reshmaposted August 6, 2018 at 11:52 am Reply

    I stumbled upon this recipe on the internet today and just made it. It turned out brilliant!

    Rating: 5
  5. Taraposted November 4, 2015 at 8:24 pm Reply

    Thank You for this divine recipe! Delish.  I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to Indian recipes.  I’m not Indian but my hubby is and I lived there for years and most recipes I try from non-Indian cooks often miss the mark.  But this was fabulous and thankfully I had all the ingredients. Lovely! 

    Rating: 5
  6. The Steaming Potposted May 15, 2015 at 3:42 pm Reply

    That’s a beautiful color!

    It made me smile to see curry leaves described as a lesser known ingredient. Where I live, they are omnipresent :-D I sometimes make rice pulao with ground curry leaves and cashew nuts. If curry leaves are your thing, you’ll love that recipe.

  7. Maahiposted December 18, 2014 at 7:38 am Reply

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

  8. Carol at Wild Goose Teaposted July 28, 2014 at 10:12 am Reply

    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.

  9. jennaposted July 27, 2014 at 10:25 am Reply

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

    Rating: 5
  10. Gabyposted July 26, 2014 at 8:30 pm Reply

    Can’t wait to try this!

  11. Pingback: Cooking Chica

  12. Kevin | keviniscookingposted July 25, 2014 at 10:50 pm Reply

    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!

  13. Heather Christoposted July 25, 2014 at 5:15 pm Reply

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

    Rating: 5
  14. Liz @ The Lemon Bowlposted July 25, 2014 at 1:26 pm Reply

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

  15. Marla Meridithposted July 25, 2014 at 8:41 am Reply

    One of my favorite rice recipes!

  16. Kristin @ Tastefully Gluten Freeposted July 25, 2014 at 8:35 am Reply

    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!

  17. Mariaposted July 25, 2014 at 7:19 am Reply

    Love this rice! So pretty too!

  18. Ambikaposted July 25, 2014 at 7:11 am Reply

    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 :-)

    • HappyForksposted July 25, 2014 at 10:45 am Reply

      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?

  19. Jenny Flakeposted July 25, 2014 at 7:10 am Reply

    Love a good rice! This one looks perfect!!

  20. Tieghanposted July 25, 2014 at 6:41 am Reply

    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!

  21. Julie @ Running in a Skirtposted July 25, 2014 at 5:15 am Reply

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

  22. Taylor @ Food Faith Fitnessposted July 25, 2014 at 4:12 am Reply

    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!