Super Quick & Easy Indian Masala Rice

For my very first recipe to share with you I thought I would pick something special that is as sentimental as it is quick, easy and delicious. About 8 years ago when my now-husband was just a college friend he invited me over to his cramped studio apartment between classes to whip up this super fast and tasty Indian rice dish. At the time I had virtually no previous exposure to Indian cooking and was entranced by the simple blend of spices and amazing results. Was I also impressed by the fact that he was cooking for me? Well that’s a story for a different day…

Indian spice trio: turmeric, black mustard seeds and chili powder

What I love about so much of Indian food is that it is naturally gluten-free, relying heavily on rice, vegetables and healthy, unprocessed ingredients. However, many people (including myself in the past) often think that making delicious Indian food at home is too difficult and time-consuming or requires a pantry full of exotic spices. Using just 3 simple spicesturmeric powder, chili powder and mustard seeds-this recipe is the perfect example of how Indian cooking can be fast, easy, delicious and gluten-free!

This dish can be eaten alone but also tastes great with a side of roasted potatoes, a dollop of yogurt, chutney or Indian pickles. Because it is so quick and requires so few ingredients it’s perfect for when you’re feeling lazy, in a rush or for when your fridge is completely empty and all you have left is a lonely onion. Who likes to leave onions feeling lonely?

If you are new to Indian cooking this recipe is also the perfect introduction to the Indian cooking method of “tempering” which is essentially flavoring your cooking oil/fat and allowing any spices to release their natural oils and full flavors through heat. In this recipe the dish is tempered with mustard seeds-you will notice the first and perhaps most important step for making this dish tasty is heating the oil and allowing the mustard seeds to “pop” and release their slightly earthy/nutty flavor. Be patient and allow the mustard to fully pop-this step cannot be skipped!

I hope you enjoy! Who knows, maybe this recipe will mark the start of a special day for you like it did for me!

Super Quick & Easy Indian Masala Rice
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This super quick and easy Indian fried rice dish is packed with flavor thanks to the trio of spices of turmeric, black mustard seeds and chili powder
Author:
Recipe type: Entree, Rice-dish
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 2-3 servings
Ingredients
  • 1-2 TBS vegetable oil
  • 1.5 tsp black mustard seeds
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1.5 tsp chili powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1 small to medium red onion, sliced into thin slivers
  • 1 cup (measured raw) of cooked, white rice, cooled
  • cilantro for garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. Heat oil over medium heat in a high sided pot. When oil is hot (shimmering and moves easily around pot) add the mustard seeds
  2. Wait for all of the mustard seeds to begin to "pop". Once they have popped, add the onions and sauté for about 2 min, mixing well with the mustard seeds
  3. When the onions have begun to soften, add the turmeric, chili powder and salt to taste. Sauté for another 3 min until onions are very soft
  4. Add the cooked, cooled rice to the pot and mix very well with the onion/spice mixture. Make sure to break up any white rice clumps. Sauté and mix rice continuously for about 2 min
  5. Garnish with cilantro (optional) and enjoy!
Notes
*Make sure to wait for the mustard seeds to fully pop-they should become slightly larger in size and become light gray in color. If you do not allow the mustard to pop the dish will taste gritty and sandy

*Prep Time includes time for cooking the rice. Actual prep time without cooking the rice is about 3 min

*Add more/less chili powder according to your preference. As is the dish is mildly spicy

 

  1. Heat oil over medium heat in a high sided pot. When oil is hot (shimmering and moves easily around pot) add the mustard seeds
  2. Wait for all of the mustard seeds to begin to “pop”. Once they have popped, add the onions and sauté for about 2 min, mixing well with the mustard seeds

    mustard will begin to turn a light gray as it pops
  3. When the onions have begun to soften, add the turmeric, chili powder and salt to taste. Sauté for another 3 min until onions are very soft

    Saute onions with the “masala” or spice mixture
  4. Add the cooked, cooled rice to the pot and mix very well with the onion/spice mixture. Make sure to break up any white rice clumps. Sauté and mix the rice continuously for about 2 min

    Mix well to ensure all of the rice has the spice flavoring!
  5. Garnish with cilantro (optional) and enjoy!