Introduction to Jeera Chawal
“Jeera chawal,” which translates to “cumin rice” is about to be your new favorite side dish. You can eat this simply on it’s own, with some spicy cucumber raita, or any curry of your choosing. Jeera chawal has a comforting, spicy, and earthy flavor and the aroma alone is heavenly!
When people think of rice dishes and Indian food, I think their mind automatically goes to biryani. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good plate of biryani; but jeera chawal is a lot simpler to make and just as (if not more) delicious. You can make it in any pot as long as you have a lid to cover it with, so the process is also pretty accessible and simple. I honestly didn’t even know what a rice cooker was until my 20s because it’s so unheard of for cooking basmati rice. I’ve grown up simply boiling my rice in any old pot and it’s always turned out perfect.
Sometimes you really do need certain appliances or fancy tools to make a recipe work (or at least to make life a little easier) but this jeera chawal isn’t one of them! And that’s one of the reasons I love this recipe – it’s super convenient and quick to throw together.
Breakdown of the Ingredients:
The beauty of this dish is truly in the perfect mixture of these wonderful whole spices. You can also add dried red chillies if you have them or even a little pinch of hing. But personally, I find that the following combination works the best. Fresh green chillies instead of dried red chillies add a little bit of a lighter flavor here which I really enjoy. Also, you can use black pepper flakes if you want to, but trust me, the flavor just won’t be as good as using whole peppercorns! I recommend slightly crushing the peppercorns before popping them in; this will give you the perfect infusion of flavor in your rice.
- Dried bay leaves
- Green chillies
- Whole cardamom
- Cinnamon sticks
- Lightly crushed black pepper
- Basmati rice
Process + Keys to Success:
- The instructions for this recipe really couldn’t be simpler. It’s almost impossible to mess this one up. Just sauté your whole spices in some oil before adding in your uncooked rice.
- Add the spices in the following order: bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, lightly crushed whole peppercorns, cardamom, cloves, cumin seeds, and green chillies. Make sure not to over cook the spices because you don’t want them to burn. So, I recommend cooking them over a low to medium heat just until they’re aromatic and lightly browned.
- Add your uncooked rice and 2.5x the amount of water. Then, cover the rice with a lid and let it cook on a medium to low heat for about 10 minutes. I like to cook it almost all the way through and then, just when there’s barely any water left, I lower the heat completely for the last couple of minutes.
- 2 tbsp oil
- 6 small dried bay leaves
- 4 small green chillies (chopped)
- 4 cloves
- 4 whole cardamoms
- 3-4 small whole cinnamon sticks
- 1 tsp lightly crushed black pepper
- salt (to taste)
- 1 c basmati rice
- 2.5 c water
- This recipe couldn’t be simpler. Just sauté your whole spices in some oil before adding in your uncooked rice. Add the spices in the following order: bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, lightly crushed whole peppercorns, cardamom, cloves, cumin seeds, and green chillies.
- Add your uncooked rice and 2.5x the amount of water. Cover the rice with a lid and let it cook on a medium to low heat for about 10 minutes.