Spice rice


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Fire Islands: Recipes from Indonesia

Fire Islands

By Eleanor Ford

Published 2019

  • About

This rice is pale gold and very scented. Rice is more typically eaten plain, but in parts of Indonesia there are dishes resembling the pilafs and biryanis of the Middle East and South Asia. The spices - cloves, cardamom, cinnamon - of the old spice trading routes suffuse it with flavour.


  • 400 g (2 cups) jasmine rice
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 cm (¾ inch) ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 cloves
  • 4 cardamom, lightly cracked
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon


Wash the rice thoroughly, swirling the grains in four changes of cold water until most of the cloudiness has gone.

Heat the coconut oil in a saucepan and fry the onion until softened. Add the garlic, ginger and spices and cook for a minute longer. Stir through the rice so it is lightly coated and glistening.

Add 625 ml ( cups) water and shuffle the rice into an even layer. Set over a high heat and bring to a rolling boil. Bubble for 15 seconds, then turn down the heat to the lowest setting and cover tightly with a lid. Leave to steam for 15 minutes without disturbing.

Remove from the heat without peeking in and leave the rice to continue steaming under the lid for another 10 minutes. Gently fluff the grains with a fork before serving.