Bullet Proof Spiced Basmati Rice

Bullet Proof Spiced Basmati Rice

Please forgive the title but it is designed to inspire confidence. So many people think and say that they cannot cook Basmati rice. Please believe me when I say that if it comes out badly, it’s not you, it’s the rice that’s at fault!! The beauty of this is that although this recipe starts on the hob, the rice is cooked in the oven which means you can happily leave it to ‘get on with it’ without all the spluttering and boiling over that can happen with the stove top method. That’s not to say that it can’t be finished on the hob. Of course it can! To serve four people as an accompaniment.

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To Serve

  • A good splash of vegetable oil of your choice
    2-3 tbsp
  • Clove of garlic grated
    1 fat
  • Length of ginger grated
    1 thumb sized
  • Brown onion – finely chopped
    1 medium
  • Green chilli – finely chopped (optional of course)
    ½ - 1 whole
  • Good quality Basmati Rice
    400 g
  • Chicken or Vegetable stock (dependent on your dietary preference) or water if in a hurry and have nothing else to hand
    500 ml
  • Garam Masala (you can use whole cumin seeds or panch phoran if preferred) *
    ½ tsp
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Grater
  • Large ovenproof pan with lid
  • Strainer



Preheat the oven to 170C.


Wash and drain the rice until the water runs clear. Once the water runs clear, leave the rice to drain in a sieve while you begin cooking.


Heat the oil in a heavy based ovenproof pan on the hob.


Add the garlic and fry gently for a minute or two until the ‘raw’ odour becomes fragrant. You really don’t want to colour the garlic as this can make it bitter. (If the garlic does go too dark I would recommend starting again).


Add the onion and ginger and again fry gently until the onion is translucent.


Add the drained rice, the green chilli if using, your chosen spice and some salt and fold it around in the oil so everything is well coated. Pour in your chosen stock or water and bring this to the boil.


Place a disc of parchment paper directly onto the surface of the stock **


Place the lid onto the ovenproof pan and transfer to the oven. Cook for 20 minutes.


Remove from the oven after 20 minutes and allow to rest for 5 minutes after which time you should have perfectly fluffy, separate and fragrant Basmati to serve with a curry of your choice.


Alternatively you can add some flaked poached Haddock and a softly poached or indeed fried egg for a deliciously protein rich decadent breakfast, light lunch or supper.


Tips *The addition of whole cumin seeds or Panch Phoran gives some visual interest and a little texture. Panch Phoran is Bengali 5 Spice and generally consists of equal measures of whole Black Mustard, Cumin, Fennel, Fenugreek and Nigella seeds. It’s readily available in Asian stores but Waitrose also has small tubs in the Cooks Ingredients range.


** The best way to make a parchment paper disc is to cut off a square of paper, fold in half and then in quarter. Then fold the quarter diagonally then reduce this triangle size twice more. Use the resulting shape to measure the radius of the pan and cut off the excess paper. Open out the shape and you will have a rough disc. Tuck this down onto the surface of the liquid.

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