Basil rice is a rice dish that is prepared using basil leaves; this type of rice dish, using different recipes, is prevalent in many different cuisines around the world. The combination of basil herbs and rice can be quite tasty, with the basil imparting a delicate flavor to the rice. A variety of vegetables, spices and nuts are also often added to the basil rice to make the dish tastier and more nutritious.
Cooking with basil is not just a great gourmet choice, it is also a particularly healthy one. The herb, which has long been used in many health remedies in the Indian Ayurvedic system, is well known for having very strong antioxidant properties, and for being a very effective deterrent against microbes and viruses. Consuming basil rice as well as other basil side dishes on a regular basis can prove to be very beneficial for maintaining good health.
When cooking with basil, the herb is generally used fresh and is added last to the dish; it is recommended that the basil leaves not be cooked for an extended time as this can spoil their overall flavor. Basil does not store well, although it can be packed in plastic and refrigerated for a couple of days. It might be a good idea to grow the basil plant in the kitchen garden and use the leaves as required.
The basil rice dish, in its quite basic form, is very easy to prepare. Apart from rice and basil, other ingredients used can include ginger, garlic, cinnamon, cumin, bay leaves, cloves, cardamon, oil, salt, green chiles, green peas, onion, tomatoes, coriander, mint, mushrooms, beans, masala and cashew nuts. Any kind of rice can be used, but Basmati rice is particularly recommended for its long grain and subtle flavor.
The rice is soaked in water for about 15 minutes while the rest of the vegetables are washed and chopped. The oil is heated in a pan and cumin seeds are added to it. The other herbs, onions, garlic, ginger, and chiles are added and sauteed. The chopped vegetables are added next, followed by the masala, the soaked rice and water. The mixture should be stirred well as it cooks. The dish will be ready in ten to 20 minutes. The basil rice can be garnished with coriander and cashew nuts and it is best eaten while it is hot.