Rice with caramelized sugar


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

The Complete Indian Regional Cookbook: 300 Classic Recipes from the Great Regions of India

The Complete Indian Regional Cookbook

By Mridula Baljekar

Published 2017

  • About

This dish, Peela Bhat, is the traditional accompaniment for Dhansak. To make it, the uncooked rice is briefly tossed in caramelized sugar before being cooked with fragrant cumin seeds and cardamom pods.


  • 275 g/10 oz/1١/3 cups basmati rice
  • 60 ml/4 tbsp sunflower oil or olive oil
  • 60 ml/4 tbsp granulated (white) sugar
  • 5 ml/1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2.5 cm/1 in piece of cinnamon stick
  • 4 cardamom pods, bruised
  • 6 cloves
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 5 ml/1 tsp salt, or to taste


  1. Wash the rice two or three times in cold water or until the water runs clear, then soak it for about 20 minutes. Leave the rice to drain in a sieve (strainer).

  2. In a heavy pan, heat the oil over a medium heat and add the sugar. The sugar will begin to turn brown in a few seconds.

  3. As soon as the sugar has browned, add the cumin seeds, cinnamon stick, bruised cardamom pods, cloves and black peppercorns, but do not stir. Let these sizzle for 15–20 seconds.

  4. Add the rice and salt to the pan. Stir-fry for 2–3 minutes, then pour in 600ml/1 pint/ cups warm water. Stir to combine, then bring the pan to the boil and let it boil steadily for 1 minute.

  5. Cover the pan tightly with a lid, or a layer of foil and then a lid if the lid isn’t tight enough, and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 10 minutes without lifting the lid.

  6. Remove the pan from the heat and leave it to stand, undisturbed, for 10 minutes.

  7. Fluff up the rice with a fork and serve as an accompaniment to any type of meat or vegetable curry.

Per portion Energy 324kcal/1353kJ; Protein 4.1g; Carbohydrate 56.4g, of which sugars 12.5g; Fat 9.1g, of which saturates 1.1g; Cholesterol 0mg; Calcium 17mg; Fibre 0g; Sodium 1mg.