Parsi Brown Rice

Indian food is a combination of various flavors – salty, sweet, bitter, sour and hot. Ideally these flavors should not only balance within a dish but a good meal should include dishes that balance each other’s flavors too.

Though it is a traditional Parsi dish, Parsi Brown Rice is the perfect accompaniment to the savoury flavors of any curry as it has a very mild sweet taste due to the caramelized sugar that is added to it while cooking. The fried onions in it also impart some of the sweet taste – onions are rich in natural sugars. Parsi Brown Rice is also highly aromatic thanks to the whole spices used to cook it. Even though it is made with a long-grained white rice like Basmati, it gets its brown color from the caramelized sugar.


  • 2 cups long grained Basmati rice
  • 2 tbsps. vegetable/sunflower/ canola cooking oil or ghee
  • 1/2 tsp sugar (I usually use raw sugar)
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1″ piece of cinnamon
  • 2 large onions sliced very thinly
  • 4 and a 1/2 cups hot water
  • Salt to taste
  • Cashewnuts

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.
  2. Wash the rice in a sieve under running water until the water runs clear. Drain the rice thoroughly in the sieve.
  3. Heat the vegetable/sunflower/ canola cooking oil or ghee in a deep, heavy-bottomed pan on a medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the sugar and cook until it caramelizes and turns dark brown and liquid. Stir frequently.
  4. Add the whole spices and fry till they release their aroma (or turn slightly darker).
  5. Add the sliced onions and fry until they are soft, translucent and starting to turn a pale golden color.
  6. Add the rice to this and mix well. Fry for 2 minutes, stirring often to prevent sticking.
  7. Add the hot water and mix again.
  8. Bring to a boil and then reduce flame to a simmer.
  9. Cook this way till the water almost dries up.
  10. Now sprinkle about 3-4 tablespoons of water all over the rice, cover and cook till done. To check if rice is cooked, pick up a few grains and squeeze between thumb and index finger. The grains should feel firm but mash fully.
  11. Turn off fire, cover and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
Parsi Brown Rice

About The Author

Simmi Iyer

"In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different. Al little bad taste is like a nice splash of paprika. We all need a splash of bad taste-its hearty, its healthy, its physical. I think we could use more of it. No taste is what I am against" My place to find recipes that you, your family and your friends will not only love but will want to make time and time again.
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