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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
- 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
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
- 1/ 1/2- 2 teaspoons ground black pepper (adjust to taste)
- 2 1/2 teaspoons salt (adjust to taste)
- Wash and drain the rice.
- Place rice in rice cooker with a removable insert. Cover with approximately 1-inch of water.
- Add olive oil, onion, basil, mint, chives, cilantro, rosemary, salt and pepper.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- Enjoy heaven in bite!
- TO MAKE THIS WITHOUT A RICE COOKER, follow these steps. (The results were equally enjoyable.)
- Wash and drain the rice. Place rice in the pot and cover with approximately 1-inch of water.
- 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.)
- 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.
- Cook on low heat for approximately 1 hour.
- 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 (https://food52.com/recipes/64451-sheet-pan-roast-chicken-and-cabbage)—it was fantastic!
- This recipe is a Community Pick!