Spicy Basmati Rice with Black Mustard Seeds

Spicy Basmati Rice with Black Mustard Seed

Spicy Basmati Rice with Black Mustard Seed

When it comes to rice, I’m a big fan of Indian cuisine, due in no small part to my preference for basmati rice over most other varieties. I also tend to like rice that’s been goosed up a bit with other ingredients and that has been made with a broth rather than just water.

The inspiration for this particular dish comes from two sources, the Spicy Basmati Rice recipe from the excellent cookbook, Madhur Jaffrey’s World of the East Vegetarian Cooking, and also from the Chicken Tikka Masala episode of Throwdown with Bobby Flay.

The happy accident came about when I had no ginger for the first recipe, and I had recently seen the Chicken Tikka Masala episode of Throwdown.  The result is a dish that’s not nearly so plain as the Bobby Flay recipe, but is still a dish that highlights the black mustard seed, which adds a very nice flavor note.

As I note in the ingredient list (below), the red pepper in the dish is optional; I decided to throw it into the mix because it makes the dish really pop visually, and since I was happy with the results, I’ll keep making it that way.


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  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, peeled, halved, and sliced into paper-thin half rings
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into very thin strips (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons black mustard seed
  • 2 teaspoons fresh minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock, heated


  1. Place rice in a bowl. Add water to cover. Rub the rice grains with your hands until the water turns milky.
  2. Drain the water. Add more water and repeat the process four or five times until the rise is well washed. (the water should not be milky).
  3. Cover the rice with fresh water and leave to soak for half an hour. Then drain and leave rice in a strainer to dry.
  4. While  the rice is soaking,  preheat the over\n to 325 degrees fahrenheit.
  5. Heat oil over medium-high heat in heavy, ovenproof saute pan. Add the mustard seeds and toast for 1-2 minutes.
  6. Now add the onion (and optionally the red peppers) and fry them for 2 to 3 minutes or until they begin to turn brown at the edges.
  7. Push the onion and pepper to the edge of the pan, and in the middle of the pan, toast the garlic, salt, cinnamon, cumin, garam masala and cayenne pepper just until fragrant, perhaps a minute or less.
  8. Add the rice, turn the heat to medium low, and stir and fry the rice for 7 to 8 minutes or until the rice is translucent and well coated with the oil.
  9. Add the stock and make sure the rice is evenly distributed. Continue cooking over medium-low heat for another 5 to 6 minutes, until the top of the rice begins to look dry (there should still be a bit of liquid in the bottom of the pan).
  10. Cover with a well-fitting lid (or aluminum foil under a looser-fitting lid) and place in over for  25 minutes.
  11. Remove from oven and leave covered for 10 minutes. Serve immediately.


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