This turmeric rice recipe is a fantastic Indian rice side dish to serve up for any meal. Fluffy and fragrant, this is a one pot recipe you’ll keep coming back to.
- Why You’ll Love This Side Dish
- What Is Turmeric Rice?
- Basmati Rice vs Jasmine Rice?
- Is Turmeric Rice Healthy?
- Tips To Make the Best Turmeric Rice
- Recipe Overview
- Variations and Substitutions
- Instant Pot Yellow Rice Instructions
- Great Indian Recipes For This Rice Dish.
- Frequently Asked Questions
Why You’ll Love This Side Dish
Rice is the ultimate side dish, and as one can imagine, there are so many different ways to prepare rice across the myriad of cultures around the world. This Indian turmeric rice has been prepared as a side dish for the longest time.
Unlike plain rice that we may be used to, turmeric rice is sweet, earthy and highly pungent.
This recipe is vegetarian, extremely budget friendly and easy to make. It’s a side dish that you can keep going back to, one that you can experiment with all the different spices (or none) and the perfect vehicle to mop up the flavours of the rest of the meal.
Also a great rice recipe for Diwali.
What Is Turmeric Rice?
Turmeric rice is also fondly known as yellow basmati rice, Indian yellow rice or simply as yellow rice.
Turmeric rice is essentially basmati rice or long grain rice cooked in aromatic spices and turmeric powder. The turmeric powder is what gives the rice that golden yellow hue.
Basmati Rice vs Jasmine Rice?
Basmati means “full of fragrance”, and both basmati rice and jasmine rice are long grain rice. Here are some of the similarities and differences:
Origin: Basmati comes from the foothills of the Himalayas of India and Pakistan, while jasmine comes from Thailand. Both varieties are now grown in many other parts of the world.
Grain: Basmati is long and thin with sharp ends, while jasmine is slightly shorter with rounded ends.
Texture: When cooked, basmati remains fluffy, dry, and the grains stand alone, making it a great candidate for fried rice. Jasmine rice, on the other hand, is moist, soft and they tend to clump together. Hence they are easy to pick up with chopsticks.
Nutrition: The nutritional value of both basmati and jasmine are very similar. 1 cup of basmati rice does have fewer calories and slightly higher iron and calcium. However, it’s not by much. Overall, basmati does have a lower GI.
Is Turmeric Rice Healthy?
The ingredient in question here that provides the most nutritional value is turmeric. Touted as a superfood, turmeric is high in antioxidants and has well known anti-inflammatory properties. However, one would have to consume a lot of this for anyone to see some substantial benefits.
From a white rice perspective, basmati will be the healthiest of the lot with fewer calories and a low GI.
Cooking with ghee is also a better choice as it is clarified butter with less dairy content. But also to be consumed in moderation as no study has shown that it is a healthier option than butter.
Tips To Make the Best Turmeric Rice
Rinsing the rice: It is imperative that you wash the rice until the water runs clear. This may take 3 rinses until that happens. We want to do this because we want to remove as much of the starch as possible to ensure the turmeric rice is nice and fluffy.
Soaking: After rinsing, soak the rice in water for up to 30 minutes. This enables the rice to soak up some of the water and swell up. This again allows for fluffier rice.
Fry the rice: After tempering the spices, garlic and onion, add the uncooked basmati rice and stir fry it for a couple of minutes. This action infuses all the lovely aromatic flavours into the rice.
Low heat: After bringing the rice to a boil, bring it down to a simmer and allow it to cook on simmer.
Steaming: After the turmeric rice is cooked, turn the heat off and leave it for 10 minutes with the lid on to further steam for it to fully absorb the water and become fluffy.
Removing the lid: Do not remove the lid and let out all the heat and steam until you are ready to eat.
Flavour/Texture: Fluffy is the first word that comes to mind. The garlic turmeric rice is not starchy or stodgy, and each grain is independent of one another. The spices are pungent, and all have distinctive aromas and flavours yet work so cohesively together.
Ease: This is a relatively easy side dish to make. Just follow the instructions well to make the best fluffy turmeric rice!
Time: There is a 30-minute soaking time for the basmati rice, so best to do that first and you can prep the rest of the recipe or start working on the other dishes for your meal. After that, there are another 20-25 minutes for the cooking and resting time. Well worth it, I can tell you!
What do I need to make turmeric rice? Here are the ingredients.
Basmati rice: Long grain rice has less starch compared to other rice varieties. Hence basmati is the perfect candidate for making fluffy turmeric rice. Or even our veg pulao.
Ghee: Ghee is clarified butter, and you’ll be able to find it easily in your supermarkets. Ghee is a butter made from heating it and allowing the liquid and milk to separate from the fat. The milk part of the separation caramelises and becomes solid while the remaining oil is ghee.
Ghee is therefore not dairy free, but it is a favourable alternative for those who are lactose intolerant as it has less lactose and casein.
It is also great for high heat cooking; hence it is popular in Indian cuisine. Fantastic for tempering spices and aromatics to bring out their flavours.
Bay leaves, star anise, cloves, cumin seeds: Lovely whole herbs to add to the flavour of the turmeric rice. Stir fry in hot ghee, and you’ll find the fragrance is complex and aromatic.
Garlic and onion: Ensure the garlic is well minced for an even spread across the turmeric rice. Any onion will work for this recipe. Stir fry them well until the onions are translucent.
Turmeric: Not much turmeric powder is required to give the rice warm and slightly bitter flavours. It also gives the rice that yellow mustard colour synonymous with Indian cuisine.
Stock: We are using vegetable stock for this turmeric rice recipe to keep the recipe vegetarian. If that’s not important, chicken stock is a popular choice too.
Variations and Substitutions
Basmati rice substitute: You can use jasmine rice for this turmeric rice recipe. Just make sure it’s long grain rice.
Ghee alternative: You don’t have to use ghee for this recipe. Any regular butter will work. Ghee, however, is a better choice for those who are lactose intolerant. It is not 100% dairy free but contains less lactose and casein.
Dairy free option: Remove the ghee or butter component and stir fry in a vegetable oil of your preference.
Ginger: You can add some grated ginger along with the garlic for more fresh aromatics.
Other spices: For more spices, you can also add cardamom pods, coriander seeds, garam masala or even some hing.
Type of stock: You can use chicken stock or chicken broth if this recipe doesn’t have to be vegetarian.
How to make turmeric rice? Here are the step-by-step instructions.
Rinse the basmati rice until the water runs clear. Let it soak for 30 minutes in water. Drain the rice and set aside.
Mince the garlic.
Dice the onions.
In a pot, saucepan or Dutch oven, add ghee or butter until melted.
Add bay leaves, star anise, cloves and cumin seeds and stir fry until it’s fragrant.
Add garlic and onion and stir fry until onions are translucent.
Add turmeric and mix well.
Add the rice and gently stir fry it for about 2 mins until it is well coated with all the ghee and spices. Don’t over stir it to ensure the rice grains are intact.
Add the stock and salt and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, bring it down to a low simmer, place lid on and let it cook for about 10-12 minutes.
Once cooked, turn the heat off and let it sit for a further 10 minutes. Do not lift the lid.
Once finished, fluff the rice, add some coriander leaves and serve.
Instant Pot Yellow Rice Instructions
Put the instant pot into sauté mode. Add the ghee. Then add the spices, garlic and onion as per above.
Add the turmeric and rice and sauté for 2 minutes.
Add 1 ½ cup vegetable stock.
Close the lid, seal the vent and pressure cook for 6 minutes.
Allow pressure to naturally release for about 10 minutes.
Great Indian Recipes For This Rice Dish.
What to eat with turmeric rice? Here are some great traditional recipes you may like to try.
Frequently Asked Questions
Turmeric is a common spice that comes from the root of Curcuma longa. It is related to the ginger family and you can see the similarities between the two.
It has a warm and bitter after taste, and it is well known for its yellow colouring used for food, dyeing of fabrics and even in cosmetics.
Yes, turmeric rice is gluten free. You can also make dairy free and vegan versions of this popular recipe by using oil (vegetable or coconut) instead of ghee or butter.
Place turmeric rice in an airtight container and leave it in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can also freeze turmeric rice. Leave in the fridge overnight for it to thoroughly defrost. A quick reheat in the microwave the next day will do the trick.
Enjoy the golden hues of this garlic turmeric rice recipe. A fantastic Indian rice dish that will enhance your meal. Fluffy and aromatic, it’s no wonder it’s such a popular side dish!
More Indian Side Dishes
Turmeric Rice Recipe [Fluffy & Fragrant!]
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One Pot Instructions
- Rinse the basmati rice until the water runs clear. Let it soak for 30 minutes in water. Drain the rice and set aside.
- Mince the garlic.
- Dice the onions.
- In a pot, saucepan or Dutch oven, add ghee or butter until melted.
- Add bay leaves, star anise, cloves and cumin seeds and stir fry on low heat until it’s fragrant.
- Add garlic and onion and stir fry until onions are translucent.
- Add turmeric and mix well.
- Increase flame to medium/high heat. Add the rice and gently stir fry it for about 2 mins until it is well coated with all the ghee and spices. Don’t over stir it to ensure the rice grains are intact.
- Add the stock and salt and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, bring it down to a low simmer, place lid on and let it cook for about 10 minutes.
- Once cooked, turn the heat off and let it sit for a further 10 minutes. Do not lift the lid.
- Once finished, fluff the rice, add some coriander leaves and serve.
Instant Pot Instructions
- For instant pot yellow rice, put the instant pot into sauté mode. Add the ghee. Then add the spices, garlic and onion as per above.
- Add the turmeric and rice and sauté for 2 minutes.
- Add 1 ½ cup vegetable stock.
- Close the lid, seal the vent and pressure cook for 6 minutes.
- Allow pressure to naturally release for about 10 minutes.
- You can use jasmine rice for this turmeric rice recipe. Just make sure it’s long grain rice.
- You don’t have to use ghee for this recipe. Any regular butter will work. Ghee, however, is a better choice for those who are lactose intolerant. It is not 100% dairy free but contains less lactose and casein.
- For a dairy free option, remove the ghee or butter component and stir fry in a vegetable oil of your preference.
- You can add some grated ginger along with the garlic for more fresh aromatics.
- For more spices, you can also add cardamom pods, coriander seeds, garam masala or even some hing.
- You can use chicken stock or chicken broth if this recipe doesn’t have to be vegetarian.
*Disclaimer: Nutritional information provided is an estimate only and generated by an online calculator.
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