Green Garden Herby Basmati Rice with Basil, Mint, Chives & Rosemary

December 19, 2016

Test Kitchen-Approved

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

Serves: 4 to 6
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 1 hrs


  • 3 cups basmati rice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh chives, chopped
  • 5 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper (adjust to taste)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt (adjust to taste)
In This Recipe


  1. Wash and drain the rice.
  2. Place rice in rice cooker with a removable insert. Cover with approximately 1-inch of water.
  3. Add olive oil, onion, basil, mint, chives, cilantro, rosemary, salt and pepper.
  4. Turn on rice cooker and mix ingredients. Continue to mix ingredients a couple of more times in the first 3 to 4 minutes of cooking so that all ingredients are evenly spread throughout.
  5. Cook rice for approximately 1 hour, or until the indicator lets you know the cooking is completed. A smaller rice cooker may only take around 45 minutes. The timing can vary depending on the size and model, but trust their settings. I've never had an issue.
  6. Once cooking is finished, remove lid and place a plate on top of rice cooker bowl. Holding the sides with oven mitts, flip the golden rice cake with confidence!
  7. Enjoy heaven in bite!
  8. TO MAKE THIS WITHOUT A RICE COOKER, follow these steps. (The results were equally enjoyable.)
  9. Wash and drain the rice. Place rice in the pot and cover with approximately 1-inch of water.
  10. Add olive oil, onion, basil, mint, chives, cilantro, rosemary, and salt and pepper. (The black pepper beautifully highlights the herbs here and offers a nice kick. But feel free to adjust to taste if you prefer a less “peppery” end result.)
  11. Bring water to boil, allow to boil for 2 to 3 minutes, then mix ingredients and cover the pot. Reduce temperature to medium low. To avoid the rice from getting soggy, I used the Persian kitchen technique of placing a paper towel below the lid to capture the moisture.
  12. Cook on low heat for approximately 1 hour.
  13. Once ready, serve the fragrant and beautiful rice pilaf with whatever protein you like. I served it on the side of a delicious Food52 recipe for chicken and cabbage on a sheet pan (—it was fantastic!

More Great Recipes:
Persian|Cilantro|Grains|Mint|Rice|Rosemary|Vegetable|Chive|Basil|Make Ahead|Sheet Pan|Serves a Crowd

Reviews (22) Questions (0)

22 Reviews

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,<br />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."<br />
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<br /> 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.<br />
Chanteclar February 23, 2017
This is the way I would cook this recipe!<br />