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
Steps to Make It
- Gather the ingredients.
- Wash the rice in a sieve under running water until the water runs clear. Drain the rice thoroughly in the sieve.
- 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.
- Add the whole spices and fry till they release their aroma (or turn slightly darker).
- Add the sliced onions and fry until they are soft, translucent and starting to turn a pale golden color.
- Add the rice to this and mix well. Fry for 2 minutes, stirring often to prevent sticking.
- Add the hot water and mix again.
- Bring to a boil and then reduce flame to a simmer.
- Cook this way till the water almost dries up.
- 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.
- Turn off fire, cover and allow to rest for 5 minutes.