This was taught to me by an East Indian friend--she moved to the USA as an adult, but she knows her Indian cooking! Cooking rice this way is very simple, but adds real richness to any Indian dish. We never use plain white anymore!
All spice measurements are very approximate...I just dump some in, more of this and less of that...do what smells good to you!
2-4 Tbs oil (I like coconut oil, or any veg oil works fine)
2ish Tbs butter
1/2 c onion, chopped small
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped small (or garlic powder)
1 Tbs turmeric
1 Tbs cumin
1-2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
2 tsp cardamom
1 jalapeno pepper (optional--see instructions)
2 c long grain rice (like jasmine or basmati)
1 can coconut milk
enough water to add to the coconut milk to make 4 cups
Put butter and oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and all spices, stir a bit, then add rice. Stir as it warms until spices are evenly distributed and the rice begins to turn glassy looking. Add the coconut milk and water (I use the milk can to get my water and then pour it into a measuring cup, so I get every last drop of coconut milk!) Mix, cover, and turn to low heat until rice is done--usually about 15-20 minutes (depending on what type of rice you used).
Eat topped with whatever Indian dish strikes your fancy! (I'll be posting some, I promise, but the simplest thing to do is stick some chicken or lentils in and pan and spice them exactly the same way as the rice...voila!)
If you like it spicy, remove the seeds from a jalapeno pepper and then cut it in 3-4 pieces and drop them in with the spices. They will add zing! (don't eat the peppers). I prefer it without the peppers though
This is a modified recipe, as I prefer to use the whole can of coconut milk and not have leftovers...what my friend actually does is use 1c coconut milk, 1c evaporated milk, and then 2c water...