Ghee Rice

Basmati Rice (Photo by In Praise of Sardines/flickr)

This rice dish also uses the absorption method. After washing and draining the rice and leaving it to dry, it is fried in ghee with spices. The liquid used is flavorful stock. Many elaborate dishes such as biriani or pilau are based on layering rice with spiced meat, poultry or seafood.

Serves 4-5.


500 g/1 lb/2 1/2 cups basmati rice
2 tablespoons ghee
1 large onion, finely sliced
5 green cardamom pods, bruised
3 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
2 teaspoons salt
1 litre/2 pints/4 cups stock


Pick over the rice, wash, drain and dry as described in previous recipe. In a heavy saucepan heat ghee or oil and fry the onion until golden. Add spices and rice and fry for about 3 minutes, stirring with a metal spoon in order not to crush the grains. Add stock and salt, bring to the boil, then lower heat, cover and cook for 15 minutes, not lifting lid. Turn off heat and let rice continue to steam for a further 5 minutes. Uncover and after steam has escaped for a further 5 minutes, fluff rice gently with fork, remove spices and serve out with a metal spoon.

When doubling or trebling rice recipes, remember not to increase liquid in the same proportion. Three times the amount of rice for this recipe will be 1.5 kg (3 lb) (7 1/2 cups). The liquid required, however, is only 2.75 litres (5 1/2 pints) (11 cups).

Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)