Julia’s Aromatic Basmati Rice

Sunday February 19, 2017

When I eat dinner prepared by an Indian cook, often they will make rice with whole spices dotting it. From excellent cook and foodie friend Julia Scannel, her quick weekday night fluffy rice she learned when working on a book of recipes Cooking With the Spices of India self-published by Culinary Alchemy, one of my favorite little cookbooks.

Adding whole spices to rice while it is cooking is common in the warm pungent cuisine of India. The whole spices add a gentle scent and subtle flavor to the rice, especially apparent in the rice close to the spices. It is so addictive and yummy, while not being too spicy hot or different that kids won’t eat it.

You need to go to a specialty grocery to purchase the whole green cardamom pods, a member of the ginger family from the rain forests of Malabar in southern India and a component of curry, chai, and perfumes. The green pods are different than the bleached white ones that are used ground in Scandinavian cuisine and baking. Cardamom is the most costly and precious spice after saffron and vanilla. I keep them in the freezer, where they keep indefinitely. The spices are left whole during serving, but are not eaten.  Serve with yogurt-marinated, oven-baked tandori chicken and a chutney.


Machine:  Medium (6 cup) rice cooker

Serves 3 to 4


  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick cinnamon (4-inch)
  • 3 whole green cardamom pods


Place the rice in a fine strainer or bowl, rinse with cold water, and drain once.

Combine the rice, water, salt, and spices in the rice bowl.  Stir just to combine, then cover and program for the REGULAR cooking cycle.

At the end of the cycle, let the rice rest 15 minutes on the KEEP WARM cycle.  Serve hot.

Excerpted from The Ultimate Rice Cooker Cookbook, by Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann. (c) 2002, used by permission from the Harvard Common Press.

Recipe and text copyright Beth Hensperger 2017

Please enjoy the recipe and make it your own. If you copy the recipe and text for internet use, please include my byline and link to my site.

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