Aromatic rice recipe

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I was making a lamb curry and needed a side dish to go with it.  I half-remembered a recipe from Nigel Slater’s Appetite for a rice dish flavoured with aromatic spices.  The spices are the kind you’d find in Asian dishes: cumin, coriander, cinnamon, star anise.  I used basmati rice, which has a lovely fragrance of its own.

Aromatic rice

A side dish of rice with aromatic spices and sultanas inspired by a Nigel Slater recipe. Serve with curries and other Indian dishes. You can vary the amounts of spices according to taste. Try adding a small hot red chilli with the rice.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Indian
Diet Vegan
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 2
Author Caity


  • 1 small saucepan with lid
  • 1 fork for fluffing


  • 1 dsp cooking oil
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 6 cloves
  • 6 cardamoms slightly crushed
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 handful sultanas
  • 150 ml basmati rice
  • 300 ml cold water
  • salt to taste


  • Warm the oil in a saucepan and add all the spices.
    1 dsp cooking oil, 1 stick cinnamon, 6 cloves, 6 cardamoms, 1 star anise
  • When you can smell the aroma of the spices, add the rice and stir well to coat in the scented oil.
    150 ml basmati rice
  • Add the water, sultanas and salt.
    1 handful sultanas, 300 ml cold water, salt
  • Cover and bring to the boil.
  • Simmer for ten minutes. Do not remove the lid.
  • Turn the heat off and leave the pan alone for another ten minutes. Do not remove the lid or move the pan.
  • Fluff up the rice with a fork, removing the spices, if you don’t want to be fishing them out when you’re eating.


It’s important to leave the lid on when you turn the heat off because the rice is busy absorbing water without becoming soggy.
If you don’t want to watch out for the whole spices while you’re eating, you can pick them out before serving.

I served this with:

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