Cumin-scented rice (Jeera chawal)

Serves 4


  • 2 tbsps rapeseed or light olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 bay leaves, crumpled
  • 225g/8oz basmati rice, washed and soaked for 15-20 minutes and drained
  • Salt or to taste

Cumin flavoured basmati rice is perfect even with the simplest curry.

Heat the oil in a non-stick saucepan over a medium heat and add the cumin seeds and bay leaves. As soon as the seeds begin to pop add the drained rice. Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes until the grains are coated with the flavoured oil.

Add the salt and pour in 470m/16 fl oz hot water. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and cook for 8-9 minutes without lifting the lid. Remove from the heat and leave it undisturbed for at least 10 minutes, then fork through and serve.

My tip: Do not use wooden spoons to serve the rice as this will squash the delicate grains. Metal spoon is the best tool for this purpose.