Make Ahead

Green Garden Herb Basmati Rice with Dill, Cilantro, Rosemary & Chive

December 19, 2016
4 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
Author Notes

The first part of this recipe is for a rice cooker with a removable insert. To make this recipe without a rice cooker, skip to step 8.

The beautifully fragrant and earthy aroma of this dish is universally enjoyable. It reminds me of home, my mother’s cooking, and my grandmother's humble kitchen where we made this together once upon a time to celebrate the Persian New Year. It's a wonderful way to use fresh herbs from the garden in the spring/summer months, but also a hearty and comforting dish to serve with meats and fish—or on its own in the colder months. A feel-good, vegetarian dish which is quite satisfying. In the Hindi language, “bas” means “aroma” and “mati” means “full of.” If the starting point is “full of aroma” with just the rice, imagine what happens once you add the medley of gorgeous herbs and greens. You end up with heaven in a bite!

Basil and Roses

  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour
  • Serves 4 to 6
  • 2 cups uncooked basmati rice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh dill, roughly chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups fresh chives, chopped
  • 1 handful fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 handful fresh basil, chopped
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
  • 2-3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons coriander seeds (optional)
In This Recipe
  1. Fill a large pot with water (approximately 15 cups and bring to boil. Add turmeric and salt to boiling water. Don’t worry about adding too much salt, it will be drained later.
  2. Parboil rice for approximately 3-5 minutes until aldente (not fully cooked) and drain in a colander removing all liquid from pot. Liquid will be golden yellow from the turmeric so wear an apron!
  3. Add oil to bottom of the same pot you boiled the rice in. Add coriander seeds if using.
  4. Spread a handful of plain partially cooked white rice in the oil.
  5. Add and layer herbs followed by a layer of rice repeatedly, creating several layers of rice and herbs and forming a tall heap or a cone shape.
  6. Using the back of a wooden spoon, create 3 holes in the rice. This allows the rice to fry on the bottom creating the tahdig, while steaming the rest of the pot for light and fluffy steamed rice.
  7. Cover the lid with a layer of paper towels to capture condensation and steam over medium low heat for approximately one hour, or until the steam rises and the tahdig is golden.
  8. Once ready, serve the fragrant and beautiful rice pilaf with whatever protein you like.
  9. I served it on the side of this delicious Food52 recipe from last week for chicken and Cabbage in a sheet pan-   it was fantastic!
  10. The kitchen will smell divine and your pallet will be pleased. Enjoy!
  11. Soak rice in cold water for 20-30 minutes.
  12. Rinse rice with water, gently agitating with fingertips. Do this multiple times (3-4) until water runs clear.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Basil and Roses
    Basil and Roses
  • Rose Levy Beranbaum
    Rose Levy Beranbaum
  • annemax
  • Bistra Ravenheart
    Bistra Ravenheart
  • Marielena

23 Reviews

Susan A. December 3, 2020
I do not own a rice cooker. I made this once - and filed it under "Family Favorites" - obviously it was successful. I attempted it again this evening and the directions without a rice cooker make no sense. Is it possible that it was re-edited and the instructions got screwed up? It clearly states that if you do not have a rice cooker skip to Step 8. However by Step 8 - the recipe is almost complete. Steps 9 and 10 are not "steps" - they are comments about how appealing the dish is. Steps 11 and 12 are directions for rinsing the rice. I hope the creator of the recipe or someone from Food52 can read through the recipe and make corrections. I have no idea how I created it once successfully without a rice cooker - I can't believe I did it with these instructions.
Author Comment
Basil A. March 30, 2017
Thank you for all the great feedback, everyone! I hope you found the updated instructions for use without a rice cooker helpful. I just made this for the a family celebration of the Persian new year which is on the first day of spring. Thanks for sharing your experience with me and wishing you all a happy and beautiful Spring!
Marielena March 30, 2017
Thank you!
NancyFromKona March 4, 2017
Took this to a potluck and was deluged with requests for the recipe. My rice cooker has a 'sauté then simmer function' with which I was able to cook the onion until soft and sl. brown. Used up all the chive tops in the garden but still did not have a full cup so made up the difference with marjoram, tarragon and Thai basil. Put the herbs and onion into the olive oil, used them to coat the rice well before gently topping off with water because I could see that the herbs could float to the top since I did not follow the directions to boil off the water. Mine developed an awesome crust.
Sarah J. March 7, 2017
Thanks for the report, Nancy!! So glad this worked out for you.
Rose L. February 28, 2017
i had something very similar at Zahav and it was amazingly delicious. i'm puzzled by the rice cooker instructions here because it says to stir every minute until the water evaporates and then cook for 45 min. to 1-1/2 hours. but to my experience, the rice cooker shuts off after all the water evaporates.
JC February 27, 2017
Do you add the onion whole or do you chop it, mince it or slice it?
Margot C. February 26, 2017
I would love to make it, but the instructions make no sense.
Sarah J. February 26, 2017
Hi there, Sorry for the confusion. We have tested this recipe with a rice cooker, and it came out well! We're trying to nail down the recipe without a rice cooker—the proportions should work, but the timing will be different. We'll get it updated as soon as we possibly can. Thank you for your patience!
Sarah J. March 7, 2017
Hi Margot,
We've updated the recipe—hope it's clearer now!
btglenn February 26, 2017
This interesting recipe should be labeled rice-cooker based. The instructions for cooking in a stovetop pot are very limited and would not help anyone who has limited experience cooking rice! Not up to 52 recipe description standards even if the result works for rice cooker owners.
margothand February 26, 2017
In step 4, the author must mean turn on the rice cooker NOT "rice quicker."
annemax February 26, 2017
This recipe is badly written, and confusing. Will someone please READ it and edit it?
Bistra R. February 20, 2017
I have a multicooker - but it cant be flipped - its cool for rice dishes though
Chanteclar February 20, 2017
Cook rice 1 to 1 1/2 hours? Must be a mistake.
Chanteclar February 20, 2017
Cook rice 1 to 1 1/2 hours? Must be a mistake.
SpaCook February 23, 2017
It has to be. Have you tried it and, if so, could you provide adjusted timing?
Marielena February 20, 2017
I don't have a rice cooker, how can I recreate this on the regular stove?
fitzie February 21, 2017
For every cup of rice, you need 1-1/2 cups liquid. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover tightly and in 17 minutes you will have tender delicious rice, If you cook longer, you will get a crust on the bottom but I can't give you any specifics on this.
Marielena February 21, 2017
Thank you fitzie.
Annette L. February 21, 2017
I think I will look up a recipe for making Persian rice. That must have instructions for the crunch part. I seem to remember that the rice gets parboiled, then placed in a pot that has oil and thin slices of potato layered on the bottom, and that you steam or cook the
rice on top, to finish it. I can't wait to try it with the herbs! This must be delicious.
SpaCook February 23, 2017
There's a great one on splendid table's website.
Chanteclar February 23, 2017
This is the way I would cook this recipe!