A couple weeks ago, I was making Chinese-style fried rice, while thinking about how it’s been so long since I cooked any Indian food. Then I thought up this recipe.
Whenever I have leftover rice on hand, my first thought is what can I fry this up with to transform it into something new. There’s unlimited possibilities when it comes to fried rice. Leftover meat or vegetables can be thrown in along with herbs and spices from a variety of cuisines.
This Indian-spiced rice, is made with basmati that I steamed with a variety of whole spices, which are commonly found in a garam masala spice blend. I sauteed some onions, chilies, ginger and garlic with freshly ground cumin and coriander, and turmeric, for that beautiful yellow glow. I think the tomatoes and egg are perfect additions, but you can substitute in essentially any meat or vegetables you have on hand. On the other hand, the cilantro and lime are nearly non-negotiable in my opinion. Mint and lemon may also work well, but you certainly need some sort of fresh herb and acid for the finishing touch.
- 1C basmati rice, rinsed*
- 1 ¾ C water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 whole cloves
- 3 cardamom pods, cracked
- 2T butter, divided (vegetable or coconut oil, if vegan)
- 1T vegetable oil
- ½ medium onion, chopped
- 1-2 red or green chili peppers, finely chopped
- 1 inch ginger, grated
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted & ground
- ½ tsp coriander seeds, toasted & ground
- ¼ tsp turmeric
- 1 cup canned diced tomato without liquid**
- 2 large eggs, beaten (omit, if vegan)
- Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
- Cilantro, chopped, for garnish
- Lime wedges, for serving
- Add water and whole spices to a medium-sized pot, cover and bring to a boil. Add in rice and 1 tablespoon of butter, and season with salt. Reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, for about 15 minutes or until the rice is tender and the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat and allow to rest for at least 5 minutes. Remove and discard whole spices.
- Warm a large sauté pan over medium-heat. Add remaining butter and oil to the pan, followed by the onions. Sauté for 3-5 minutes or until softened and translucent. Add in chilies, ginger, garlic and spices, and sauté about 30 seconds.
- Add the cooked rice to the pan and toss to combine until warmed through. Stir in the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper.
- Push rice to the side of the pan, leaving an empty space open for the eggs. Pour in the beaten eggs, season with salt and pepper, and scramble. Stir scrambled eggs throughout the rice. Taste for seasoning and adjust, if needed. Garnish with cilantro and serve with lime wedges. Enjoy.
- You can prepare the rice one day in advance and it’ll be even better. You can also use 3 cups of plain, leftover rice and add a few pinches of ground garam masala instead of steaming the rice with the whole spices.
- You can substitute 1-2 fresh, plum tomatoes for the canned, diced tomatoes. If using fresh tomatoes, I suggest scoring, blanching and shocking them. I would then peel and discard the skin, chop the tomatoes and discard the juice and seeds.