How to Make Yellow Rice at Home
Yellow rice is exactly what it sounds like - rice that has a yellow color. Also known as saffron rice or arroz amarillo, is a flavorful rice dish that is popular in many cultures, particularly in Latin America, the Caribbean, and parts of Asia.
What kind of rice you use and the ingredients used to give it a yellow color depends on where you live and your family's culture.
While researching yellow rice, I found recipes using long-grain, short-grain, medium-grain, basmati, and Jasmine rice. It gets its vibrant yellow color from adding spices such as saffron, turmeric, or annatto.
Different combinations of these ingredients and others will be used depending on where you are from.
As A Side Dish
Yellow rice is often served as a side dish with meat, poultry, seafood, or vegetables. It adds a beautiful color and aromatic flavor to the meal. Variations of yellow rice exist across different cultures so you may find slight differences in ingredients and cooking techniques depending on the region or personal preferences.
Popular Dishes Featuring Yellow Rice
- Arroz con Pollo: A classic Latin American dish that combines yellow rice with chicken, often seasoned with various spices, vegetables, and sometimes olives or capers.
- Paella: A traditional Spanish rice dish that includes yellow rice as a base and is typically cooked with a combination of meat, seafood, and vegetables such as chicken, shrimp, mussels, chorizo, bell peppers, and peas.
- Biryani: A popular Indian and Pakistani rice dish that incorporates fragrant yellow rice with layers of marinated meat (such as chicken, lamb, or beef), vegetables, and a blend of aromatic spices like cumin, cardamom, and cinnamon.
- Jollof Rice: A West African dish made with yellow rice, tomatoes, onions, and various spices. It can be prepared with meat, fish, or vegetables and is known for its vibrant color and rich flavors.
- Yellow Rice with Beans: A simple yet delicious combination of yellow rice and beans, often seasoned with onions, garlic, and spices. It can be served as a side dish or as a main course, and variations of this dish are found in many Latin American and Caribbean cuisines.
- Nasi Kuning: A traditional Indonesian dish where yellow rice is cooked with coconut milk and turmeric, giving it a rich and aromatic flavor. It is often served with various accompaniments like fried chicken, satay, egg, and vegetables.
- Arroz Amarillo con Gandules: A Puerto Rican dish that features yellow rice cooked with pigeon peas (gandules) and seasoned with sofrito (a sauce made with onions, garlic, peppers, and herbs), spices, and sometimes pork or ham.
These are just a few examples, and countless variations and regional dishes incorporate yellow rice as a key ingredient. The versatility of yellow rice allows it to complement a wide range of flavors and ingredients, making it a popular choice in many different cuisines.
I've purchased and served commercial yellow rice, but if you look at the list of ingredients on the package, I know I could do without many additives and chemicals. And when you see how easy it is to make your own yellow rice at home, you'll see why I'm suggesting it at home.
This version uses turmeric to give the basmati rice a nice yellow color. It's said to have been used in India for thousands of years as a spice and medicinal herb.
It's the hot health food right now because of its reported anti-inflammatory properties. Many other benefits are being described all over the Internet, but I'll let you search for yourself to come up with your own opinions.
Yellow Rice Recipe
- olive oil
- 1 yellow onion peeled and diced small
- 3 cloves garlic peeled and minced
- 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
- 1½ cup white basmati rice
- salt & pepper to taste
- 3 cups water
- 1 lime
- Heat a small pot or saucepan over medium heat until hot.
- Add 4 tablespoons olive oil to the pan and when hot but not smoking, add the onion. Saute for about a minute, then add the garlic.Continue cooking for another 4 - 5 minutes until the onion and garlic are fragrant and begin to soften. Stir frequently.
- Add the turmeric, stir and cook for about one minute or until the turmeric smells toasted.
- Add a pinch of salt to the pot and then 3 cups of water. Increase the heat to high and bring the liquids to a boil.
- Once the water comes to a boil, add the rice, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 15 to 18 minutes. You'll know it is done when all the water gets absorbed. Be careful not to let the rice burn on the bottom of the pan.
- Remove the pan from the heat and add the juice from the lime to the rice. Stir, taste and adjust the seasoning with salt & pepper.