Parsi Caramelized Brown Rice…my affair with Parsi food started about 15 years back, when I started traveling to Bombay for work…one day, a friend took me home for dinner and after that my cribbing about going to Bombay and rush to finish work to catch the same day return flight stopped (and my food exploring in Bombay started)…at that time cooking was the last thing on my mind but over the years have picked up a few recipes…this is the first Parsi dish I ever learnt to cook…the sugar surprised me as I took my first bite but combined with Dhanshak, the flavor works beautifully…the sugar sweetens the rice slightly, the caramel adds the depth and the spiced ghee works like charm!!
Parsi Caramelized Brown Rice
- Basmati rice, 2 cups
- Green cardamom, 3-4
- Cloves, 4-5
- Bayleaves, 2
- Cinnamon, 1” stick
- Black peppercorns, 8-10
- Onions, 1 large, finely sliced
- Ghee/Clarified butter (or oil), 2 tbsp
- Sugar, 3 tsp
- Salt, to taste
- Water, 4 cups
Wash the rice till water runs clear, soak for 15-20 minutes in cold water and drain in a colander
Heat the ghee in a heavy bottomed deep pan. Lower the heat and add green cardamoms, cloves, bayleaves, cinnamon, star anise and black peppercorns.
When they start to sizzle, add the onions. On low heat, fry the onions till they start turning pale golden brown.
Add the sugar and stir until sugar starts to melts and then caramelize and onions takes on the colour. Keep a constant watch and low heat – all that caramelized goodness can very easily burn and go bitter.
Add in the drained out rice and salt. Gently mix everything so that the rice gets nicely coated with onion mix – do the mixing gently so that the rice grains don’t break up.
Add in the water now and increase the heat. Give a final stir.
Once the water comes to a boil, cover with a tight fighting lid and lower the heat. Let it cook till all the water evaporates and rice is cooked.
Lightly fluff up the rice with a fork. Cover the mouth of the pan with a thick kitchen towel and put the lid back on. Remove the lid and towel after 10 minutes.
Typically served with Dhanshak (meat with lentils) but goes quite well with all other dals, curries and kababs as well.
- Typically cumin seeds and black cardamom are also added, but I normally skip for my version.
- Do adjust the amount of water used to the kind of rice you use.
- If you are not convinced that sugar will taste nice in the rice, you can try no sugar version posted here. The sugar version gives a darker richer brown colour – below is how both versions of rice look.