This Carrot rice is lightly spiced and delicious. Made with cooked rice, grated carrots, herbs, spices this mild dish is very easy to prepare. Have some leftover rice and carrots? Why not make this satisfying hearty carrot rice recipe which can be easily customized to the ingredients you have.
About this recipe
In the Indian cuisine, there are many ways any one recipe is made. So it is with this carrot rice. Either you can throw in all the ingredients in a pan or even an Instant Pot to make carrot rice or make it like the way I have done.
Cooked rice is mixed with a flavorful sautéed mixture of spices and carrots. This method of making carrot rice is typically followed in the South Indian cooking.
Since this carrot rice is mildly spiced, it goes well with kids. There is a subtle sweetness coming from the carrots. The sautéed onions, cashews and raisins add much sweet notes to the dish.
Use any method, but making any rice-based dish is easy and takes less time. This carrot rice recipe is made quickly.
How to make Carrot Rice
1. Soak ½ cup rice in a bowl in enough water for 30 minutes. Drain and then set aside.
TIP: You could use any Indian variety of rice like sona masuri, surti kolam or parimal rice or even basmati rice. I used hand pounded sona masuri rice. If you live outside India, the Indian varieties of rice are easily available online or on amazon.
2. Add the rice to a 2 litre pressure cooker with 0.75 to 1 cups water. Pressure cook for 2 whistles. You can also cook the rice in a pot or pan adding some more water. Then drain the water once the rice is cooked.
Since this rice was hand pounded rice, I pressure cooked for 3 whistles and added 1.25 cups water.
3. When the rice is cooking, peel and grate 2 medium sized carrots. Set the grated carrots aside. Thinly slice 1 small onion and chop one green chili or half of a serrano pepper.
4. When the pressure settles down on its own, open the lid of the cooker. Gently fluff the rice and allow it cool completely.
I cooled the rice grains in the cooker itself. But you can also take the rice grains on a large plate/tray and cool them.
5. In a pan heat 1.5 tablespoons oil. Add the thinly sliced onions.
TIP: Any neutral flavored oil works well in this recipe. Red, white and yellow onions, even scallions, pearl onions or shallots are fine to include. See, I told you this recipe is easily customizable!
6. Stir and sauté the onions on a low to medium flame until onions start to turn light golden.
TIP: Adding a pinch of salt makes the onions cook faster.
7. When the onions begin to get light golden, add 10 to 12 cashews, kept whole or halved, 10 to 12 raisins.
TIP: Do not have cashews or raisins? Simply skip them or add the nuts that you have – almonds, pistachios, walnuts or pine nuts.
8. Mix very well.
9. Sauté until the raisins become plump. By the time the raisins become plump, the onions will also get golden. If you want the cashews to become golden, then sauté everything separately.
10. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep this sautéed mixture of fried onions, cashews and raisins aside.
Making carrot rice
11. In the same pan, some oil will be left. Lower the heat. Add ½ tsp mustard seeds, 1 small tej patta (Indian bay leaf), ½ inch cinnamon, 1 to 2 green cardamoms and 2 cloves.
TIP 1 : I hear you! Do not have all the Indian spices? – Throw in the basic ones you have – cumin seeds, cinnamon, cloves and green cardamoms. Mustard seeds can be skipped.
TIP 2: If you do not have whole spices like cinnamon, cardamom and cloves. Simply include ¼ teaspoon garam masala powder or curry powder.
12. Stir and fry until the mustard seeds crackle.
13. Then add in the chopped green chilies, 5 to 6 curry leaves and a pinch of asafetida (optional). Stir and fry for half a minute.
TIP: If you do not have curry leaves or asafetida, simply skip these. Some heat is needed in the dish. So you can swap green chili peppers to any hot pepper of your choice. Just add about ½ teaspoon of it. Or swap for ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper or red chilli powder.
14. Add the grated carrots.
15. Mix thoroughly.
16. Sauté the carrots for about 3 minutes on a low to medium heat.
17. Add the steamed rice and mix. The rice grains have to be cooled completely before you add them.
18. Season with salt. Again mix very well and switch off the heat.
19. Lastly add the fried onions, cashews and raisins. Also add 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves (cilantro).
TIP: Replace fresh parsley for cilantro.
20. Mix very well. You can also garnish the carrot rice with the fried onions, cashews and raisins instead of mixing them.
21. Serve carrot rice with hot or warm.
I serve this carrot rice with a side of a raita or salad. You can even pack it as a tiffin box lunch with a side of chutney or a veggie stir fry.
The tangy sour flavors of an onion tomato salad combine so nicely with the mild, sweet flavors of this carrot rice.
In fact a tangy tomato salad or even a mayo salad will pair greatly. If you do not have any veggies, simply serve carrot rice with a simple plain curd (yogurt).
Though you mostly won’t have any leftovers, but in case if you do have, then refrigerate and consume within a day. Do not keep for a longer time in the fridge. Rice is best had freshly made.
- Rice: You could use any Indian variety of non-sticky rice to make this recipe. I make carrot rice with Indian varieties of rice but any non-indian varieties or strains of rice would also work well. Just that you will need to adjust the water and cooking time. If you live outside of India, you will find the Indian varieties of rice in your local Indian grocery store or on amazon.
- Oil: Neutral flavored oils are a better option for this recipe. That being said, even coconut oil works wonderfully.
- Onions: Variety of onions can be included. Say shallots, pearl onions, scallions, red, white and yellow onions. Isn’t that great?
- Dry fruits and nuts: If you do not have cashews or raisins, simply skip them or add the nuts that you have.
- Spices: This recipe is a South Indian version of carrot rice. So the spices included are the ones used frequently in South Indian Food. Though you can skip mustard seeds, but do add include cinnamon, cloves and green cardamoms. Instead of mustard seeds you can also add cumin. Cumin would give a different flavor profile to the dish but will taste good. Curry leaves and asafetida can be omitted.
- Green chillies: A bit of heat balances the sweetness in the carrot rice recipe. So you can swap green chili peppers to any hot pepper of your choice. Simply add about ½ teaspoon of it. Or swap for ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper or red chilli powder.
- Using leftover rice: If you have leftover steamed or cooked plain white rice – then you need only 3 cups of it. Simply follow all the recipe steps from sautéing the onions, spices, carrots and then mixing rice with the sautéed mixture. With precooked rice, this recipe can be made in a jiffy.
- Cooking rice in a pan: You can easily cook rice in a pan. Add the rice, salt and 3 to 3.5 cups water in a pan. Simmer on medium-low heat until the rice grains are fluffy and tender. Drain the extra water. Let the cooked rice grains cool at room temperature.
- Spicing: For small kids, you can skip the green chillies. If you like spicy food, then you can definitely add more green chillies or couple it with red chilli powder or cayenne pepper. You can even add ¼ teaspoon of turmeric powder for a yellow colored rice. If you do not have whole spices like cinnamon, cardamom and cloves. Substituting about ¼ teaspoon garam masala powder will work too.
- Veggies: Apart from carrots, some bell peppers (capsicum), cabbage and steamed green peas or boiled corn kernels when added will make it a hearty meal.
- Gluten free recipe: To make this carrot rice gluten free, skip the asafetida or use a gluten-free asafoetida.
- Scaling: You could easily make a large batch of this carrot rice recipe.
More rice Recipes
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Carrot rice is lightly spiced and delicious rice recipe and can be made quickly. It also goes well as tiffin box lunch.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Soak rice in a bowl in enough water for 30 minutes. Drain and then set aside.
You could use any rice like sona masuri, surti kolam or parimal rice or even basmati rice. I used hand pounded sona masuri rice.
Add the rice to the pressure cooker along with 0.75 to 1 cups water and salt (optional). Pressure cook for 2 whistles.
Since this rice was hand pounded rice, I cooked for 3 whistles and added 1.25 cups water.
You can also cook the rice in a pot or pan adding 3 to 3.5 cups water. Then drain the water once the rice grains are cooked.
When the rice is cooking, peel and grate 2 medium sized carrots. Keep the grated carrots aside. Also slice 1 small onion and chop one green chili.
When the pressure settles down on its own, open the lid of the cooker.
Gently fluff the rice grains and allow them to cool completely. I cooled the rice in the cooker itself. But you can also take the rice grains in a large plate or tray to cool them.
In a pan heat the oil and add the thinly sliced onions.
Stir and saute the onions on a low to medium heat until onions start to turn light golden. Add a pinch of salt for cooking the onions quickly.
When the onions begin to get light golden, add the cashews and raisins. Mix very well.
Sauté until the raisins become plump. By the time the raisins become plump, the onions will also get golden.
Remove the onions, cashews and raisins with a slotted spoon and keep aside.
Making carrot rice
In the same pan, some oil will be left. Lower the heat. Now add mustard seeds, tej patta, cinnamon, cardamoms and cloves.
Stir and sauté until the mustard crackles.
Now add the chopped green chilies, curry leaves and a pinch of asafetida (optional).
Stir and saute for half a minute. Add the grated carrots. Mix very well.
Saute the carrots for about 3 minutes on a low to medium heat. Depending on the size of gratings, the sautéing can take less or more time.
Add the steamed rice and stir. Season with salt. Again mix very well and switch off the flame.
Lastly add the fried onions, cashews and raisins. Also add chopped coriander leaves.
Mix very well. You can also garnish carrot rice with the fried onions, cashews and raisins while serving.
Serve carrot rice with a side raita or salad.
- The recipe can be doubled or tripled.
Carrot Rice Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 351 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Vitamin A 5440IU109%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 1mg67%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 1mg59%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 30mg150%
Vitamin B6 1mg50%
Vitamin C 53mg64%
Vitamin E 5mg33%
Vitamin K 8µg8%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 307µg77%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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This carrot rice recipe from the archives (May 2015) has been republished and updated on 12 January 2021.