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Indian Cumin Fried Rice Recipe


Indian cumin fried rice, better known as Jeera rice, is a popular Indian cooked rice side dish that is most often partnered with curry, but honestly pairs with absolutely any food. A simple yet delicious combination of aromatic jeera or cumin seeds, fragrant ginger, and smoothened by quite a bit of ghee or clarified butter, Jeera rice is incredibly easy to make and can be layered with other spices and additional ingredients for even more aroma and a more flavorful dish.

One of the most simple recipes out there, you can upgrade your rice side dish or stir-fry game with just a few base ingredients and serve it with any dishes you have prepared. Learn how to make this restaurant-style Jeera rice recipe below.

How to Make Jeera Rice

This Indian cumin rice is so popular that it’s nearly a part of the Indian diet. Versatile and partnered with any dishes you can think of, you can also add some extra spices and vegetables like spinach and chickpeas to turn it into a really tasty, gluten-free vegetarian one-bowl meal recipe.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients for Indian Cumin Fried Rice

  • 1 cup Basmati rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon ghee (clarified butter) or vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 sticks cinnamon 
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds 
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped coriander or cilantro, optional
  • 1 cup chickpeas, optional
  • 3 cups spinach, optional

Directions Indian Cumin Fried Rice

  1. In a bowl soak Basmati rice grain in some water for 10-15 minutes. After 10-15 minutes, drain the water and spread it out on a paper towel. Allow the drained rice to dry out completely.
  2. In a pan or shallow pot, melt the ghee or add vegetable oil. Add whole spices (cinnamon and cumin seeds). Allow the cumin seeds to crackle on medium heat for 2 minutes. Add ginger, onion, and optional chickpeas, stirring occasionally until onions are cooked or softened and the spices are fragrant. 
  3. Add soaked and dried Basmati rice to the pan. Saute on medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes. Add the optional spinach here. Do not stir too much as you fry it to avoid breaking the rice.
  4. Add salt to taste. Pour water and stir lightly. Cover with the lid and cook for 5-7 minutes on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. If using a pressure cooker, then cook on high heat just until it is about to whistle. Allow the steam to release on its own. If using a rice cooker or Instant Pot, then cook on low heat until the Basmati rice is cooked or the water is completely absorbed.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with chopped coriander or cilantro. Best served and eaten immediately.

Cooking Tips for Indian Cumin Rice

  • For some added spice and aroma, add whole peppercorns to the recipe.
  • For a slightly healthier Jeera rice, substitute the ghee with vegetable oil.
  • For more flavor in the rice, you can replace the water with other liquid like chicken or vegetable stock.
  • Serve Jeera rice with cooked spinach and chickpeas added to the recipe for a tasty vegetable rice stir-fry.
  • This rice dish can be served for days after cooking. Simply store it in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. Heat over medium heat, add pepper and salt to taste, then serve immediately.

Final Note on Jeera Rice

This Jeera rice recipe is so easy to make for all sorts of meals and for any day of the week. The cooked rice side dish is perfectly partnered with different dishes and food from all around the world and can be amplified with other ingredients too.

Want to learn other rice recipes like this one? Check out more recipes on our site.


Hailing from California, USA. Ji-hyun is a Korean American 🇰🇷🇺🇸 with two growing boys who eat their weight in rice each week. After graduating UCLA & becoming a mom she started We Know Rice as a guide for all the students and moms out there looking to cook healthy and filling meals.

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