One of our favorite meals hereabouts is this quick and easy Carrot Rice paired with a creamy Coconut Curry with potatoes and tomatoes. It's a quick weeknight dinner that's bound to leave you licking your fingers.
The Carrot Rice is a few-ingredient wonder flavored with the sublime aroma of cinnamon and cloves, and I'd first shared it with you more than a decade ago. It is such a treat, I have a hard time stopping myself from just scooping it out of the pot with my fingers and eating it until it's gone.
But as tasty as it is, it is also utterly nourishing, with the goodness of carrots, a veggie that makes just about everything you add it to both nutritious and beautiful.
In fact, I love how this carrot rice looks, with those orange shards of carrots mixed in with the long grains of the basmati rice.
A few whole spices give the rice a fragrance that's to die for.
As simple as this recipe is, I don't have too many tips and tricks for making it perfect--it's already quite foolproof. And it comes together in just over 20 minutes, so what's not to love?
Tips for making the best carrot rice:
- Use the largest holes on your hand grater or food processor to grate the carrots. You want the carrots and the rice to be approximately the same size when they cook. Keep in mind the carrots will shrink as they express their juices, and the rice will expand as it absorbs them.
- For the same reasons, slice the onions really thin. If the onion you use is big, cut the slices in half.
- You don't need to soak the rice for this recipe, which makes it come together even more quickly, since there's no prep ahead of time.
- Usually, when I share a rice recipe with you, I ask you not to stir the rice as it cooks. I will make an exception in this case. About halfway through the 20-minute mark when the rice is covered and cooked, give the rice a stir. This will help the carrots and rice mix better and cook more evenly.
- I like adding a few cashew pieces to this recipe, but they are completely optional if you want it to be nut-free.
What do I serve with this carrot rice?
I almost always make this carrot rice with a creamy and just as easy Coconut Curry. Together, they are magical.
Looking for more vegan rice recipes?
- Ven Pongal, a south Indian khichri
- Veg Tehri, a rice and vegetable pilaf
- Vegan Dirty Rice
- Lemon Garlic Rice
- Jeera Rice or Cumin Rice
- Lemon Rice
- Vangi Bath (South Indian Eggplant Rice)
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 2-inch piece cinnamon
- 5 pods green cardamom
- 5 cloves
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 medium onion (thinly sliced)
- 2 tablespoon raw cashew pieces (optional)
- 2 cups carrots (grated. Approx 2 carrots)
- 2 cups basmati rice
- 4 cups water (or vegetable stock)
- Salt to taste
- Heat the oil. Add the whole spices--cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and bay leaf--and stir for a minute until fragrant.
- Add the onions and cashews, if using, and a pinch of salt and saute, stirring frequently, until the onions become translucent but not brown.
- Stir in the carrots and saute for another couple of minutes until they start to cook. Stir in the rice along with salt to taste and mix well. As soon as the rice starts to turn opaque, add the water and salt. Give everything a good stir and let it come to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook the rice 10 minutes. At the 10-minute point, open, give the rice a good stir, and cover and cook another 10 minutes.
- Let the rice stand another 10 minutes before opening. Serve hot.