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Cumin brings back childhood memory of helping my mother in the kitchen to make cutlets (Sri Lankan snack made of fish or beef) during the month of Ramadan.She always asked me to add cumin to cutlets each time I help her. She used to store it in a brown glass jar. I love the warm and earthy aroma of ground cumin and always sniff the bottle before I added the ground cumin to cutlets.

Cumin is a spice which has earthy warm aromas and is widely used in most cuisines throughout the world. Adding cumin to your diet is believed to aid in digestion and has many health benefits. It is also used to flavour curries, dips, sauces and even sweets for its flavour.

I make cumin rice on days that I want a slight variation to steamed rice. This rice does not need much preparation and can be made with ease. It goes well with anything from curries to roasted meats.

Time: Total of 52 minutes (2 minutes preparation, 15 -30 minutes soaking the rice + 20 minutes cooking)

Serves: 3 – 4 persons


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1 1/2 rice cooker cup/ 150 grams basmati rice, soaked in water with ½ tsp salt for 30 minutes or at least 15 minutes and drained

3 rice cooker cup hot water ( you may need little more or less water depending on the type and dryness of the rice)

4 cm piece cinnamon

1 tsp cumin

1 medium onion, sliced

1 bay leaf

1 tbsp oil +1 tsp ghee or clarified butter or butter

Salt to taste


1.Heat the oil along with ghee or butter.

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2.When it is hot add the bay leaf, cinnamon stick and cumin and fry for a few seconds; add the sliced onion and fry till it turns to a light golden colour.

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3.Increase the heat to medium. Add the drained rice and saute until the rice is hot and slightly dry. Reduce the heat.

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4.Carefully add the water (you may wear a mitten as hot steam will escape when you add hot water to heated rice). Give it a quick stir.

5.Cover with a lid and cook until the water is absorbed into and the rice is cooked through (either you mash it between your fingers or bite a few grains to see whether the grain is  no longer gritty).

*You may use a rice cooker to continue the cooking process after step 3. I find it easier to cook in the same saucepan to save up washing.


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