Basmati rice is eaten throughout India, usually on a daily basis, and because Indians prefer to make too much, rather than too little food, there is always some left over. We also rarely throw away food, considering it a gift from nature, a blessing, and precious. So cooked rice is often converted to a delicious and satisfying spicy fried dish that works fabulously well as a lunchtime meal, and also as a light and satisfying supper. Here is the simple, Gujarati version of fried rice, but there are so many regional variations, so you can always experiment, and even make it more substantial by adding a few vegetables when frying the onions. Sometimes chopped peanuts are added too.

AnalaAyurveda. Sonja Shah-Williams. Ayurvedic Medicine practitioner

Cooking with leftover rice

Ingredients to serve 2:

2 mugs of cooked basmati rice

A small onion, finely chopped

A fat clove of garlic, finely chopped

A small green chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped

A few dried chilli flakes (optional)

1 tbsp rapeseed oil

A tsp ghee

1 tsp black mustard seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

1/4 tsp ground turmeric

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp ground coriander

Salt to taste

A tbsp of coriander leaves to garnish


Heat the oil and ghee in a medium frying pan or wok, and add the mustard seeds. When they pop, add the cumin seeds. Once they begin to fizzle, add the onions and allow to slightly brown before adding the garlic and green chilli. Cook for a minute before adding the ground spices. Mix well before adding the rice and salt, and perhaps an eggcup full of water. Mix well and cook for a few minutes, until the rice is completely coated with the spice mixture. Check seasoning and serve piping hot, with the coriander leaves on top. I often add a few chilli flakes if the green chilli isn’t particularly hot.

I always have a little fresh natural yoghurt on the side of the bowl too.