Carrot Rice is a delicious, healthy and flavor-packed meal made with basmati rice, fresh carrots, spices and herbs. Make this easy one pot dish for a quick meal and serve it with papad, Yogurt or Raita of your choice. Carrot rice is a staple in my home and is pretty much made every week since it’s very easy. It is kids’ friendly and my whole family loves it. This carrot rice also goes well in an office and school lunch box.
About Carrot Rice
Carrot Rice is simply cooked rice mixed with a tempered and spiced stir fried carrot mixture. Though this can be made to a one pot rice pilaf like this Vegetable Pulao, I prefer the stir fry method as it imparts unique flavors to the dish without overcooking the carrots and herbs.
This is something similar to the Fried rice but here we don’t actually stir fry the rice and no sauce is used. However if you wish to make this a one pot dish like a pilaf using your pressure cooker, then simply follow my second method that I mentioned in the post below.
The steps are same in both the methods but in a different sequence. This makes a huge difference as I said the carrots are not overcooked at all. So the sweet flavor and the crunchy texture of carrots is retained.
I use Indian Garam masala to spice up the carrot rice. Feel free to use curry powder, pav bhaji masala, vangi bath or bisi bele bath masala. I have tried this recipe with all of these.
For a spicier version, add green chilies to the tempering and use more chilli powder as required. To add more protein to your meal, you can simply whisk 3 eggs in a bowl and pour it to the stir fried carrots after they are partially done. Cook until the eggs are soft cooked.
How To Make Carrot Rice (Stepwise Photos)
Method 1 – Prepare Rice
1. Rinse 1 cup rice well a few times and cook it al dente. Do not make the rice mushy. If cooking in a pot pour 2 cups water and add the rinsed & drained rice. Cover and cook on a low heat until fully cooked.
2. If cooking in a pressure cooker directly, pressure cook for 1 whistle. Use the same amount of water as you would cook it regularly. Rice has to be grainy and not mushy here. Cool this completely.
Make Carrot Rice
3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil or butter in a pan. If using cashews, fry them until golden and remove to a plate. Add the whole spices:
- 1 small bay leaf or 1 sprig curry leaves
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 green cardamoms (optional)
- 1 inch cinnamon (optional)
- 2 cloves (optional)
4. When the spices splutter, add 1 small chopped or sliced onion. Saute until they turn lightly golden or brown.
5. Next add 1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste or 2 fine chopped garlic cloves. Saute until the garlic smells good for about 60 seconds.
6. Add 1 cup finely chopped carrots or grated carrots. Saute for a while. Optionally you can also add half cup frozen green peas or sweet corn. If using corn from the cob they need to be boiled first until tender and then use here. If using frozen corn or peas, just rinse them and use.
7. Sprinkle little salt as required and cook on a low flame until slightly tender.
Add spice powders
8. Then add
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon red chili powder (reduce for kids)
- ¾ teaspoon garam masala
- 2 tablespoons mint leaves or coriander leaves (finely chopped). Mix everything well and saute for a minute.
9. Cover the pan and cook on a low flame for 1 to 2 minutes. This helps the veggies to absorb the flavors well. The mixture is slightly moist now, this prevents the rice from becoming dry even when stored in lunch box for few hours.
10. Switch off the stove. Add cooked and cooled rice, sprinkle salt & 1 tablespoon lemon juice. I also use little extra virgin olive oil at this stage.
11. Mix everything well. Taste test and add more salt or lemon juice as needed. Add fried cashews if using.
Carrot rice can also be served with a simple raita or a bowl of plain curd. For the lunch box, I pack with a simple vegetable stir fry. This time it was the baby corn capsicum stir fry.
How to make Carrot Rice in cooker (Method 2)
This method works good with only chopped carrots. You can also use peas and corn. Rinse and soak rice for 20 mins. Follow the same Instructions for tempering till you saute the carrots for 1 to 2 mins.
Add 1 and a ¾ cups water (1¼ cup water for instant pot). Adjust salt as needed. Add soaked and drained rice to the boiling water. Cook until rice is fully done.
If cooking in pressure cooker, cook on a medium heat until you hear 1 whistle. If cooking in an instant pot, pressure cook for 5 mins. When the pressure releases, open the lid .Carrot rice is ready, sprinkle some chopped coriander leaves and squeeze lemon juice.
Carrot Rice Recipe
For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- 1 cup basmati rice (raw or any rice of your choice)
- 1 tablespoon oil or ghee
- 1 small bay leaf or a sprig curry leaves
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 green cardamoms or ½ tsp mustard (optional)
- 1 inch cinnamon piece (optional)
- 1 small onion (sliced)
- 1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste or 2 chopped garlic or ½ inch chopped ginger
- 2 medium carrots grated (or 1 cup chopped finely)
- 2 tablespoons coriander leaves or mint leaves chopped
- ¾ to 1 teaspoon garam masala or curry powder as needed
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon red chili powder or paprika (optional)
- 12 cashews or roasted peanuts (optional)
- ½ teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (adjust to taste)
- Wash and soak rice for about 20 minutes. While the rice soaks, prepare the veggies mentioned in the ingredients list. After 20 mins drain the rice and set aside.
- Bring 2 cups water to a rolling boil, add drained rice and cook covered on a low heat until fully done. Fluff with a fork and cool completely. To cook in a pressure cooker, cook for 1 whistle with 1¾ cups water. You can also cook in an instant pot for 6 mins with 1¼ cups water.
How to Make Carrot Rice
- Heat a pan with oil and add cumin, cardamoms, cinnamon and bay leaf.
- When they begin to splutter, add onions and saute until transparent or golden.
- Saute ginger garlic paste till the raw smell goes away. Add carrots and saute for one to two minutes. Sprinkle salt and cook till carrot is slightly tender.
- Add spice powders – chili powder, garam masala and mint or coriander leaves. Stir and saute for a minute for the raw smell of chili powder to go away.
- Cover and cook on a low heat for 1 to 2 mins.
- Add cooked and cooled rice and sprinkle very little salt.
- Mix everything well and squeeze in some lemon if you like. Taste test and add more salt if needed.
- Garnish carrot rice with toasted cashews. Serve with a Raita.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
© Swasthi’s Recipes
Carrot Rice Recipe first published in July 2015. Updated and republished in July 2022.
I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills.
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