Jeera Rice – Indian Cumin Rice

This is a very popular Indian side dish, which can be prepared with raw rice, but it is also a way to upgrade white rice leftovers and give them a new dress.

Jeera means cumin, but in this recipe more spices are added and this version is very much appreciated in my family.

Jeera Rice – Indian Cumin Rice

  • Servings: 3-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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You need

  • 1 1/2 cups basmati rice
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or pure vegetal oil
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2 -3 green cardamoms, lightly crushed
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 small piece cinnamon stick, about 1 cm
  • 1 star anise (optional)
  • 1 black cardamon (optional)
  • 1tej patta (Indian bay leaf)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups water


  1. Rinse the rice until the water run out clear and soak the rice for 30 water in cold water. Drain
  2. In a pot heat the ghee or oil over medium heat until hot.
  3. Add cumin, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, star anise and black cardamom. Roast until the cumin begins to crackle. Add bay leaf and stir quickly.
  4. Add the rice and cook stirring constantly for about 2 minutes.
  5. Add water and salt increase the heat and bring to boil again.
  6. Reduce the heat, cover and let cook until water is adsorbed.
  7. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Note: If using rice leftovers, simply roast the spices in ghee/oil, add the cold cooked plain rice add 2-3 tablespoons water and stir well to combine. Cook stirring constantly until the rice is warm, remove from heat, cover and let rest a few minutes before serving.



Arancini – Stuffend Rice Balls from Sicily


The arancini or arancine (named after the little oranges) are a popular specialty in Sicily where they are enjoyed especially on the day of Saint Lucia on the 13th of December.

The classic recipe includes a filling of “ragù di carne” (more or less a classical bolognaise sauce) and mozzarella, but in many case you will find different additions especially green peas and other cheese as provolone.

For this recipe I used the Bolognaise sauce my dear son prepared two days ago (lucky mother 😉 and the risotto I prepared the day before as side dish in order to use the leftovers.

The essentials: cooked rice, meat sauce with tomatoes, cheese and coating with egg and bread crumbs.

Traditionally they have to deep fried, but I prefer to bake them in the oven on order to make them lighter and healthier.

Summer Pasta with Basil, Tomatoes and Cheese

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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You need:


  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 1/2 cups of rice
  • 1/2 cup of white wine
  • 4 cups of meat or vegetal broth, boiling
  • Water, boiling
  • 1 pinch Saffron
  • 2 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese

ragù di carne

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 150 g minced beef
  • ½ cup of white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes (from the tin will work well)
  • 4 basil leaves. chopped ( alternative 1 basil leaf)
  • 1 small carrot , grated (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped celery (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For assembling, coating and finishing

  • 100 g mozzarella, chopped and well drained
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs

For cooking

  • Oil for frying or olive oil for spraying if baking in the oven


  1. Place onion and butter in big pot and fry until translucent.
  2. Add rice and fry for a few minutes stirring constantly until fragrant.
  3. Add wine and fry until adsorbed.
  4. Add broth and saffron. Simmer stirring occasionally until tender. From time to time you will may to add little boiled water if the rice is still too hard. This will take about 25-30 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat fold in the parmesan cheese and let cool down completely.
  6. In the meantime prepare the meat sauce; fry the onion in the oil and when translucent add the meat. Fry stirring constantly until the meat has changed the color.
  7. Add the wine and cook until evaporated.
  8. Add tomatoes, basil, carrots and celery. Add salt and pepper to taste and cook until all liquid is adsorbed. Let cool down completely.
  9. For assembling place 2 tablespoon of cooked rice in the left hand, press the rice together and poke a hole in the middle and add 1 tablespoon ragù filling in the center and add a piece of mozzarella, then plug the hole with extra rice. Repeat until all the rice is used up.
  10. Combine egg and flour in a small bowl. Prepare a deep dish with the breadcrumbs.
  11. Frying method: Heat the oil in a deep pan, no more than a third full, to 170°C, or until a breadcrumb sizzles on contact. As it is heating, dip each rice ball into the egg mixture to coat, then into the breadcrumbs, heaping them on top until it is well covered. Cook in batches until golden brown, making sure the oil comes back up to temperature between batches, and drain on kitchen towel. S
  12. Baking method: Dip each rice ball into the egg mixture to coat, then into the breadcrumbs, heaping them on top until it is well covered. Place the balls on a baking try with parchment foil. Spray some oil until coated and bake in a preheated oven at 180°C until golden brown. Some of them may break while cooking but these much lighter than the fried ones.
  13. Sprinkle with a little salt while still warm and serve hot or cold.


Spiced Rice


This is a very easy, tasty Indian inspired side dish that fits with many dishes depending on the spice you use. I would like to call this recipe “jeera rice”, but since I did not have whole cumin (aka jeera) on hand I had to add little cumin ground and adapt the spices to what I had on hand.

You can adapt the quantity of spices (and the kind) to your need and taste, up to you…

Spiced Rice

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Autor: Spiced-Rice

You need

  • 1 1/2 cups basmati white rice, cleaned, washed, soaked in water for 30 minutes and drained
  • 2 tablespoons vegetal oil
  • 3 green cardamoms, lightly crushed
  • 2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 inch cinnamon stick
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds (I used only 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin instead)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups water (or better only 2 1/2 cups)


  1. Heat oil in a pot on medium (not hot!) heat.
  2. As soon it is hot add cardamoms, coriander, bay leaf, cinnamon stick and cumin seeds (as I had only ground I added only a few seconds before adding the rice in order to prevent burning).
  3. Allow seed to crackling for a few seconds but keep under control; you don’t want to burn it!
  4. Add the drained rice and cook on medium flame, stirring continuously for 4 minutes.
  5. Add water and salt and bring to a boil.
  6. Lower flame and allow only to simmer covered until all the water has been absorbed and the rice is cooked.
  7. Remove from heat and keep warm until serving.

Horchata – Mexican Rice Beverage

Horchata 3

Our son served us this refreshing drink as a wonderful souvenir from Mexico, but it very popular in Southern Countries as Texas and California as well.

This sweet refreshing drink is mostly served chilled or over ice originated in Valencia (Spain) and has become a favorite summertime refreshment throughout Spain and South America.

But there is another story about this drink! Many years ago, as I was still a little child, I remember I got a delicious white drink with almonds flavor called “orzata” (Italian) or Orgeat syrup in English.

It seems that this kind of drink originated in several places around the globe as the Egyptians as well the Mayas already prepared this with different kind of seeds.

The name “horchata”or “orzata” comes the grain from a plant called Hordeum vulgare (Latin), orzo (Italian), cebada (Spanish) or barley (English) as this drink was make by a mixture of barley and almonds.

It’s almost impossible to give THE best recipe of horchata as there are so many different possibilities to prepare this refreshing drink.

Most recipes says you have to sieve the rice, but if you stir the mixture you will see that the rice automatically separates from the liquid and this step is not really necessary. I let this up to you!

You can choose how much milk or water you prefer but I really like only one quarter of milk or even less.

You need:

  • 1 cup white rice
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (extract or paste)
  • 1-2 teaspoon cinnamon ground, to taste (quantity depends on taste and on quality)
  • 2/3 cup sugar


  1. Blend half of the water and rice until finely grinded.
  2. Add the second half of the water stir and let sit at room temperature for at least 3 hours.
  3. Sieve with a cheesecloth to remove the rice (optional).
  4. Add milk, vanilla, cinnamon and sugar
  5. Stir well and chill before serving.
  6. Fill into glasses and top with little cinnamon.

Variations based on cinnamon:

  • Replace milk with almond milk.
  • Replace milk with water, but add 1/2 cup of peeled almonds to the rice and blend together.
  • Replace milk by the desired quantity of condensed milk or powdered milk (blend it first).
  • Replace 1 cup of rice by 1/2 cup rice and 1/2 cup flaked unsweetened coconut.
  • Replace water by milk.
  • Replace milk by water.

Variations different flavors:

  • Ginger and lemongrass
  • Coffee and cinnamon
  • Cacao and cinnamon
  • Berries
  • Melon seeds instead of rice
  • Tigernuts (chufas) instead of rice

Horchata 7