Brown Basmati Rice with Ghee & Saffron

I love the smell of basmati rice. There isn’t any other rice quite like it. When you walk into the home of someone cooking it, you can usually look forward to something interesting, a one-pot dish paired with meat, like biryani made with chicken, dried plums, exotic spices and of course, fragrant basmati rice.

Now available at stores like Trader Joe’s is a brown basmati rice, a healthier version of the more commonly consumed white rice. It’s healthier because it has more fiber. White basmati, like other most other white rices, have been removed of their husk during processing, which strips it of many essential nutrients and the all-important fiber. Between white and brown basmati, I really don’t taste any huge difference in flavor. Essentially,  you can just make your recipe the way you would normally.  You may even need to eat less of the brown rice because it’s more filling due to the higher fiber content.

Brown basmati is just one of the two great ingredients used to make the recipe for Brown Basmati Rice with Saffron & Ghee.

The next great ingredient used here is ghee (also known as clarified butter). Ghee is made by heating unsalted butter until the water content evaporates. The liquid fat that remains as a result is then poured off and known as clarified butter. It’s wonderful and healthy to use for many reasons, but one is that it can withstand a high heating temperature so it’s perfectly safe for frying and doesn’t leave foods tasting ‘greasy’.

Ghee and basmati seem to be best friends. Their flavors mix so beautifully and aromatically, so I decided to use them in this simple dish to actually taste each one and only flavor it slightly more with a pinch of saffron.  Have you ever had basmati without any complex layers of ingredients, to simply taste the rice—and perhaps the ghee it’s cooked in?  You’ll really want to do that when you get your hands on some beautiful, grass-fed and organic ghee like the ones I got from Pure Indian Foods.

Based out of a farm in New Jersey, this long-standing company of five generations knows what they’re doing, and they’re bringing products to market that are both traditional and innovative. With flavors like Italian Ghee, Herbs de Provence Ghee and Garlic Ghee, I’ve never seen or tasted such quality and variety in supermarket ghee brands.

Another thing I really like about the brand is that the company has consciously decided not to package the ghee in plastic containers because they believe the chemicals in the plastic may mix with and contaminate the products.

The ghee is made from grass-fed cows raised on an organic diet. The ghee is not homogenized because they say that homogenization of milk and cream is actually linked to heart disease. Seems to me like a company who cares about their products and their customers.

Let your taste buds decide. I made the recipe below with the garlic ghee, but I think it would taste great with a few of their other varieties, too. See resources below for ordering information.

Brown Basmati Rice with Saffron & Ghee

Serves 4

Special Equipment

deep saute pan or Dutch oven

wooden spoon


2 tablespoons garlic ghee

1 yellow onion, diced

1 tomato (seeds removed), diced

1/8 teaspoon turmeric

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

1 cup brown basmati rice

2 cups water

½ teaspoon saffron

½ teaspoon salt, or more to taste

freshly chopped cilantro


  1. Add ghee to a sautè pan to warm. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add the tomatoes.
  2. Add the turmeric, ginger and rice. Stir with a wooden spoon to blend the rice with all of the ingredients.
  3. Gently pour in the water. Add the salt and bring the pan to a boil. Reduce heat to low, then add the saffron.
  4. Cover the pot with lid tightly. Cook on low for 40 minutes, without opening the lid at any time.
  5. Open lid slowly to gently remove steam.
  6. Remove rice from pot into serving dish and top with fresh cilantro.

Pure Indian Foods Corporation
P.O. Box 296
Princeton Junction, New Jersey 08550
telephone: 877-LUV-GHEE (588-4433)

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  1. I always hated ghee growing up. Those ones that come in tin cans from the store always have a weird smell. But I started making it myself at home and I love it. Does this brand taste more like homemade?

  2. I have seen ghee in the store before but never used it. I think I will try some and make this yummy sounding rice dish. I just started using Brown Basmati rice and would like to dress it up a bit 🙂

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