What makes this white recipe different from regular white rice is the spices and the browning of the onion and rice in the oil, which changes the flavor and color of the rice slightly. Also the green chili adds some flavor to the rice without making it spicy. I think if you try it you will see it is nice change from regular steamed white rice. I remember I always used to make a regular white rice and then one day my sister in law Asma (rest in peace, allah yarhumha) said to me we always cook it with onion and spices. So here is the recipe for a spiced white rice, which pairs well with zahawig, stewed vegetables (dabeekh) or some kind of cooked meat or chicken.Cooking rice can actually be challenging if you havent done it before. But once you understand some basic things then I think it becomes pretty easy. My husband once tried cooking rice (of course he never cooked anything his whole life because in Yemen men rarely cook) and the rice got really sticky and you could barely see the individual grains. This happened because he first of all put way too much water in it and second of all he was stirring it while it was cooking which should never be done. Rice generally requires a rice to water ratio of 1:1.5 or 1:2. Basmati is a thinner grain so thats why its on the lower end of that ratio. It might take a few times to get it right, but after that part, every other step is easy.
2 cups of rice
3 or 4 cups of water, this depends on the brand of rice you use ( I used 3 cups of water for the brand of basmati rice which I used)
salt to taste, I used 2 tsp. (I prefer a good amount of salt, but if you want you can start off with 1 or 1.5 tsp.)
2 tbsp. oil
half onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 green chili
5 cardamom pods
several pieces of cinnamon bark
1. First rinse the rice and set aside.
2. Heat the salt, oil and onions in a medium sized pan on medium heat and cook for ten minutes. Then add the garlic and cook for a few minutes, until before the garlic burns.
3. Add a few tablespoons of rice to the oil and saute the rice until brown, about 10 minutes. Stir it to gently, making sure it doesn't burn.
4. Add the rest of the rice and gently mix a few times to coat in oil. Then add the water, cinnamon, cardamom, and the green chili. Boil the rice uncovered on high or medium high until nearly all (95%) of the water is absorbed or evaporated. At this point test the rice and see if the rice is cooked through. It should be almost completely cooked but slightly hard inside. Then lower the heat to low/warm and cover the rice. Let the rice steam for about 10 minutes or until you are ready to serve the rice. (If you find the rice is already completely cooked after boiling it, then skip the steaming part and just let all the water evaporate)