Recipe for Parsi Brown rice to serve with Dhansak
Let me clarify at the outset that this not the ‘healthy’ brown rice that is all the rage these days. If you came here looking for that brown rice, then here’s a video. But if you’re looking for a simple, delicious rice dish to go with any spicy curries or dal, then look no further.
The ‘brown’ in this Parsi brown rice comes from caramelised sugar, just the way your loaf of brown bread is coloured. Despite the caramel, this rice is not overly sweet, but has just a tinge of sweetness that is the perfect foil for a spicy dhansak.
I think I first had this at a Parsi restaurant in Bombay. Lightly golden in colour, mildly sweet and fragrant from the whole spices that are coaxed to release their aromas into hot ghee, this one rice recipe is a must try. Parsi Dhansak, Parsi Kachumber and Brown rice make a mean dinner party menu. You can choose to make Vegetarian dhansak or mutton dhansak as per your preference, and this brown rice will go with both of them quite nicely.
So here’s the recipe for Parsi Brown Rice – serves a small crowd of 4-5 people.
Parsi Brown Rice Recipe
- 2 cups basmati rice long grain
- 1 tablespoon ghee
- 2.5 tablespoons sugar granulated
- 6 cloves
- 1 " 4 cinnamon sticks pieces
- 3 - 4 cardamom green
- 1 - 2 star anise
- 2 bay leaf
- 1.5 teaspoons salt
- 4 cups water
- Wash the basmati rice 2-3 times and drain thoroughly. Keep aside.
- In a deep, heavy-bottomed pan (which has a tightly fitting lid), heat the ghee.
- Once the ghee is hot, add all the whole spices except bay leaf. Stir for 30 seconds until they bloom and release their aromas.
- Stir in the bay leaves for a few seconds.
- Add the sugar and stir it around. Keep the flame on medium and monitor closely. First the sugar will melt and then slowly change colour. Watch the colour change from light golden to dark amber (nearly brown) and you'll get a strong aroma of caramel. This is the most important step, to take the caramel far enough that it is dark and aromatic, but surely not burnt.
- At this point, add the drained basmati rice and stir for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the water and allow this to come to a boil. Add the salt, stir to mix and cover with the lid.
- On a medium flame, allow the rice to cook for around 9 minutes. Do not open the lid at this point as the rice will continue cooking in the steam.
- After 15 minutes, open the lid, fluff up the rice gently with a fork and it's ready to serve.