Growing up in the Midwest, my family didn't eat a lot of rice. We were potato people.
My husband grew up in Asia, where rice was served at every meal.
So in our merged household, we eat lots of rice AND potatoes. #NoCompromisesHere #AlsoNotLowCarb
This is one of my favorite rice dishes of them all. The delicious flavors of buttery sautéed onion and garlic mixed with the warm spices of turmeric powder and ground cumin create an irresistible golden yellow color and big flavor with minimal effort.
If you made my garlic brown rice and quinoa, you're already familiar with this rice technique of building flavors right in the pan by starting with sautéed aromatics. Then adding flavorful stock and your grain, and topping with fresh herbs and either citrus or crunchy nuts.
It's a super star stovetop side dish that's a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine. I have found it to be a great recipe for meal prep Sundays so I have it to serve as a simple side dish with my vegetarian falafels and pescatarian main dishes throughout the week.
What you'll need to make this recipe:
- Basmati rice
- Yellow onion
- Garlic cloves
- Ground turmeric
- Ground cumin
- Low sodium vegetable stock
- Sea salt
- Fresh parsley
- Pine nuts, optional
(full ingredient list and measurements included in the recipe card below)
Step by step instructions:
- Begin by melting the butter in a Dutch oven or large pot. Once melted, add the large diced yellow onion and 3 minced garlic cloves to the pot. Sauté over medium heat until tender and fragrant, about 4-5 minutes.
2. Add 2 cups of rinsed basmati rice, 1 ½ teaspoons of ground turmeric, 1 teaspoon of ground cumin and 1 teaspoon of sea salt to the butter and sautéed garlic and onion. Stir well for about a minute, ensuring the rice is well coated in the spices and butter.
3. Pour 4 cups of low sodium veggie stock over the rice. Stir to combine. Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce to low heat and cover. Simmer until all the liquid has absorbed - about 15-18 minutes.
4. Remove from heat and remove lid. Quickly cover the pot with several paper towels and replace the lid over the paper towels to allow the remaining steam to absorb. Leave covered for another 10 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork. Taste and adjust seasoning.
5. Move to a serving dish and top with fresh chopped parsley and toasted pine nuts. Serve with your full falafel gyro Middle Eastern spread, as a base for your grain bowl, or as a side for your favorite fish dish.
To store, transfer to an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. This Easy Fragrant Middle Eastern Yellow Rice can be frozen for up to 3 months. As you know, frozen rice grains can break when thawing, but the flavor will still be impressive. To reheat, warm in microwave until heated through, or in a saucepan with a tablespoon of water for 4-5 minutes.
FAQ's and Serving Suggestions:
If you're cooking for non-pescatarians, chicken stock (preferably low sodium chicken broth) is a good substitution. If no stock is available, 4 cups of water will do the trick - just plan to add an extra half-teaspoon of salt when cooking the rice to make up for the extra flavor from the stock that you're missing.
I haven't made this dish using brown rice, but I'm sure it is possible. Just check your brown rice package for instructions, as it will require more stock or water and a longer cook time than white basmati rice. So be sure to use the package instructions and ratios for best results.
Jasmine rice is the best substitute for long grain basmati rice, but any long grain rice will work well in this recipe. If using sushi rice or short grain rice, just be aware that the package instructions may have a slightly different cook time or cooking process, so be sure to follow the package instructions for best results. The texture and cook times may vary, but almost any type of rice will work.
Yes! Just substitute olive oil, coconut oil or vegetable oil for the butter and use veggie stock or water, and you have a fully vegan yellow rice recipe.
This golden yellow rice is extremely flavorful on its own, but it can be modified to suit your tastes and the main course you're serving. Toasted pine nuts or sliced almonds would be delicious as a topping, as would fresh cilantro. Golden raisins or dried cranberries would add a pleasant balancing sweetness to the dish. If you have saffron burning a hole in your spice drawer, bloom a few saffron strands in your stock or a little water to add light saffron flavor and even more beautiful color to this fluffy rice.
This is the perfect side dish for Middle Eastern food like falafel gyros, Jerusalem salad and shawarma sauce. Because it is flavorful enough to carry a meal, no sauce is required in your main dish. But I also find Spanish and Portuguese dishes involving smoked paprika and citrus are a good match for the Middle Eastern flavors of this yellow rice, including Portuguese garlic shrimp and cucumber gazpacho salad.