Jeera Fried Rice with Tilda's Brown Basmati & Wild Rice & Mallika Basu's Tilda Supper Club

Basmati brand Tilda is on a mission ~ encourage people to eat more rice. Coming from a geographical region (Bengal,  one of the rice basins of India) where people happily eat rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner, it's a mission close to my heart. Of course I don't want people to eat carbs for three meals but a little more rice in their diets would be exciting. To suit the modern palate and incorporate rice into healthy lifestyles Tilda has come up with a whole new range of healthy grain combinations and flavours. Rice is definitely no longer boring and white. Neither is it difficult to cook, more on that below.

Tilda's signature rice is the basmati, a long grain, aromatic  grain which grows in the rice belts of India and Pakistan. This grain is used to create rich & sumptuous rice dishes like biriyanis and pulaos on special occasions and feast days. It's a rice Indians love and hoard (because it's the most expensive rice available in the extensive Indian rice market) throughout the year to be cooked during special feasts.

Coming to the UK, husband and me, we took to Tilda's basmati rice like duck to water. No longer was it reserved for special days, as indulgence we started using it for our  everyday meals. Basmati cooks really fast, and the smell when this rice is cooking is gorgeous (yeah you are right, I can cook this rice in my dreams, so many times have I cooked it), and of course those perfectly cooked long grains go a treat with our daals, curries and stir fries. When our parents visited us here in the UK, they also luxuriated over eating basmati rice every day. However once the honeymoon got over, we realised we need to move onto whole grains and after much debate, we switched to brown rice. Initially we missed our long grained polished white rice but once we got used to the chewy, nutty flavour of the brown rice, it's become a staple. I am also discovering how versatile the brown rice is, you can make a wide variety of dishes with it and since it's not as fragile as the white rice, it's easier to work with.

Few weeks back I got an invite from one of my favourite food divas Mallika Basu about a supper club she was doing in collaboration with Tilda. Of course since my favourite brand and Mallika were getting together, I jumped at the chance of attending the event. With this supper club Mallika's intention was to showcase a wide range of rice based dishes beginning with the starters and ending with the desserts and to exhibit how versatile rice is, as an ingredient, if you know how to play with it. Of course being a fellow Bengali (remember our superior rice eating habits) Mallika aced the job.

Photo credit: Tilda & Mallika Basu
Not only did Tilda feed us that evening, they also gave us a bunch of their different rice bags to try out and play with. Among them were their ready to eat rice packets. Now like I confessed already I am a rice snob and ready to eat rice is something I don't do. But these bags were lying right there on my kitchen self, begging to be tried and I must say I was curious. One of those hectic week day evenings when I was   tired and short on time, convenience won. I opened one of the ready to eat rice packs and used it to make a quick fried rice. I must say I was pleasantly surprised. It cut down on my dinner prep time substantially and it tasted just like our regular rice meals.

Let me share with you my quick jeera fried rice recipe.

i. 250 grams pack of Tilda's Brown Basmati & Wildrice
ii. Any veggies you want to use, I used
   a. half a cup of carrots
   b. half a cup of peas
   c. 2/3 spring onions
   d. one medium red onion
   e. one pod of garlic
   f. half an inch of ginger
iii. Half a tea spoon of jeera/cumin seeds
iv. One table spoon of sunflower oil
v. Salt & pepper to taste
vi. Pinch of sugar

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes

i. Chops all the veggies finely
ii. Heat oil in a wok, add the cumin seeds, once they start sizzling, add the onions and the pinch of sugar, fry for a couple of minutes
iii. Add the rest of the veggies, fry for a minute or so
iv. Add the already prepared rice from the packet
v. Add the seasonings and mix everything well, but gently
vi. Keep stirring gently while the rice and the veggies fry for 4/5 minutes
Your jeera rice is ready, this can be eaten on it's own or nicely paired with a stir fry or the dry curry.

Verdict: There is a reason why super markets in the UK are flooded with ready to eat rice packs. They are convenient, both for those short on time and also for those who are intimidated by the idea of making rice. Though I would still prefer to cook my rice on regular days  I would maybe stock a few bags for emergencies like that evening. Had the rice pack been not available, I would have ordered a take-away that evening, which would have be not as healthy, to say nothing of the cost.

If you have enjoyed this post, you may also like to read my experiments with Tilda's Wholegrain Basmati Rice & Quinoa.

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