Jeera Rice or Cumin Rice, is a popular Indian side dish where rice is cooked with aromatic cumin seeds. It is traditionally cooked with Basmati Rice, which is a long grained rice known for it’s sweet aroma and a slight nutty flavor. It is the perfect accompaniment to all lentils and curries. This simple yet versatile rice dish is the base of many great dishes like Jeera Pulao (Cumin Pilaf with sautéed onions) and Vegetable Pulao (Rice Pilaf with chopped vegetables).
Basmati Rice comes in many varieties. I like using Tilda Basmati Rice, or, Kohinoor Basmati Rice XL. Both have extra long rice kernals, which I love! Cooking times of Basmati rice and water-to-rice ratio can differ depending on:
- It’s age
- How long the grain is
- How you like your rice- el dente (like in Biryani), or soft & fluffy
- Lastly, how well you drained it after rinsing it (yup- that’s a factor too).
In a simple stove-top version of this recipe, rice is typically rinsed 2-3 times and then soaked for 15 – 30 minutes before cooking, that creates a soft and fluffy texture, while each grain of rice stays separate. Then, you heat a sauce pan on medium-high heat, add Ghee or butter to it, add cumin seeds and wait for them to sizzle. Now add the strained rice and sauté for 30 seconds. Add salt, water and let is come to a boil. Then, turn the heat to medium and set a timer for 7-8 minutes. Turn off the flame and let the rice rest for 5-10 minutes. Open the lid and gently fluff with a fork. Done!
It took me a few tries in the Instant Pot to get it ‘just right’ for my family. The magic number for me is 6 minutes for Basmati Rice. I cooked a few batches with a 1:1 ratio of rice to water, but found that adding 2 tablespoons extra water plus 1 teaspoon butter/ghee or oil made them more fluffy, which was perfect for us. If you like your Basmati rice a little el dente, stick to 1:1 ratio. If you like them more soft, add 1 1/4 cup water for 1 cup rice. But the time remains the same 6 minutes, NPR for 10 minutes.
Fill-it, Shut-it, Forget-it version: For plain Basmati Rice, skip the cumin and just add all remaining ingredients in the Instant Pot. Press Manual (high), 6 minutes, NPR 10 minutes.
For cooking times and recipe for Brown Rice, click here.
Jeera Rice/ Cumin Rice in Instant PotPrint Recipe
Rinse the basmati rice 2-3 times and soak for 20 minutes. Strain the soaked basmati rice in a sieve to get all the water out. Turn on IP on Sauté. Wait 30 seconds and add ghee/butter/oil and cumin seeds.
When the cumin seeds begin to sizzle (a few seconds), add rice and sauté another 30 seconds. Add salt and water and stir. Close the lid. Set the valve to 'sealing'. Press Manual (high) for 6 minutes, NPR for 10 minutes. Alternatively, you could just dump everything in and turn ON the Instant Pot on the same setting. It will have a milder cumin flavor, but will still be present.
Open the lid and gently fluff the rice with a fork. Cumin rice is best served warm with lentils soups, curries or any grilled entrée.