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  • Payal

Masala Fried Rice with Burnt Garlic and Spinach

Recipe/written by: Payal

The fried masala rice recipe was one of the best things that came out of staying indoors during COVID19. My husband and I were trying to limit our visits to the grocery stores and tried to use up what was in our fridge/pantry before having to make another grocery run.

We had left over plain basmati rice, a whole lot of spinach, garlic, and veggies. I didn’t want the produce or anything to go to waste and thought of making fried rice. What we didn’t have was soy sauce, so instead, I tried to make it with Indian masalas! Not sure how it would come out, but the end result was DELICIOUS and it's now this fried masala rice is a staple dish for us (I especially enjoy with the burnt garlic and spinach)!

This fried masala rice dish is pretty versatile, you can add any veggies you have and adjust the masalas to your flavor profile.

Burnt Garlic and Spinach Masala Rice

Ingredients and Instructions:

Prep time: 20 minutes || Cook time: 15- 20 mins || Total time: 35 minutes || Yields: 2 servings


  • 3 cups cooked basmati rice (1 cup of raw rice will get you 3 cups/I like the rice to be firm)

  • 2 tablespoon of oil

  • 1.5 teaspoon of cumin seeds

  • ¼ teaspoon asafetida/hing

  • 2 fresh bay leaves (optional)

  • 1 cup sliced red onions

  • 5- 6 garlic cloves (roughly chopped- I like the frozen Dorot cubes)

  • 1 Jalapeno roughly chopped (can add more if you like more spice)

  • 1 red pepper (sliced)

  • 6 oz spinach (can add more)

  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric

  • ½ teaspoon garam masala

  • ½ teaspoon cumin powder

  • Salt to taste

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)

  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder (add more if you want more spice)

  • Juice from half or one whole lemon


Cooking Basmati Rice (how I make it):

  1. Wash rice 2-3x in cold water to remove excess starch

  2. Heat 1 tsp of oil and add cumin

  3. Add in the rice and let it saute for a few minutes

  4. Add 2 cups of water

  5. Let it boil

  6. Once water starts boiling; add salt to taste

  7. Simmer down the water and let it cook for 15 minutes

Tips: I use less water to get firmer rice, you can always add water if you find the rice to be raw. Use a wider based pot, and check in 15 minutes. Depending on the rice brand, sometimes it cooks faster. If it is not cooked within 15 minutes, I will add a little bit of water and check again in another 5 minutes.

Burnt Garlic and Spinach Masala Rice

  1. Heat a medium skillet over medium high heat and add oil

  2. Once the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds and let it splutter or until they are slightly brown

  3. Add asafetida/hing

  4. Add bay leaves and red onions- cook till transparent (2-3 minutes)

  5. Add garlic - let cook till slightly brown (2-3 minutes)

  6. Add Jalapeño and red pepper - cook till a little soft but still crisp (2-3 minutes)

  7. Add spinach (mix everything)

  8. Add turmeric, garam masala, cumin powder (optional), red chili powder, salt, black pepper

  9. Add the rice, juice from lemon and mix everything

  10. Let the rice stick on the bottom for the burnt taste

  11. Adjust to your taste

Tip: I highly recommend using an enamel coated pan; rice tastes better the next day too!

Hope you enjoy this easy, simple masala twist on fried rice!

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