Carrot rice, otherwise known as Timman Jizar in Iraq, is one of the most delicious rice dishes I know, and one of the most underestimated as well. I don't know why, I tend to forget about it, but once I'm reminded... I HAVE to make it. Rice dishes and I generally get along way too well, and this is one of those dishes I have to stop myself from finishing. All by myself.
Tips for the best Carrot Rice
This carrot rice recipe is actually super easy. You cook the onions, tomato, and carrots with the spices then add the rice and let it simmer. But there are just a few little things I should tell you about to make sure your carrot rice comes out perfect:
- Use fresh shredded carrot. Not baby carrots! The carrots pictured usually have so much more flavour than baby carrots. I do sometimes use frozen carrot cubes but you get a lot less flavour. Shredding the carrots takes 5 minutes - I promise.
- Don't skip the onions and bouillon cube. Since this is a vegetarian dish, its relying on the onions and bouillon cube for that umami flavour.
- Use less water than you would with plain rice. I give you the exact measurement, so this should be easy. Don't be tempted to add more. Remember that there are vegetables in the mix and they also release liquid.
- Don't open the lid when the rice is cooking. As with any rice dish - leave it be! 20 minutes later, you have perfectly fluffy rice.
How to add meat to this dish
You can also add meat to this carrot rice to make it a complete meal, which is something that I often do. For chicken pieces, you can sear the chicken first, cooking it on each side for 5-10 minutes, then set it aside. Follow the same recipe steps, but add the chicken back in with the rice and cook. Depending on the type of chicken you're using (bone-in, boneless, etc) you should adjust the initial cooking time.
You can also cook this with ground beef, which turns out delicious. Simply cook the ground beef with the onions, tomato and carrots until browned, then follow the recipe steps. Make sure you cook the beef until all the liquid evaporates, so you don't want to introduce more liquid and come up with mushy rice.
How to serve Carrot Rice
You can make this for a light meal and simply serve it with salad or a side of plain yogurt (that's how we eat timman jizar in Iraq!). You can also cook it with meat as I described and serve it with a salad. Or you can make it as a side dish and pair it with any main dish, such as a steak, roasted chicken, or fish. Options are endless!
For more rice dishes, check out:
Carrot Rice (Timman Jizar)
- 1 onion
- 3 medium carrots shredded (about 1.5 cups packed) *see notes
- 1 to mato
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 and ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 chicken bouillon cube substitute for vegetable for vegetarian option
- 1 and ½ cups basmati rice
- 2 and ¼ cups water
- Start by finely dicing the onions and tomatoes
- Wash, peel and shred the carrots, discarding the green parts
- In a non-stick pot on medium heat, heat the vegetable oil and add the onions. Cook for a few minutes until softened
- Next add the tomato, and continue to cook for a few more minutes
- Add the shredded carrots, along with the bouillon cube, salt, pepper, cinnamon sticks and ground cinnamon. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring every few minutes
- Wash and drain the basmati rice, and add it to the pot. Stir and cook for 2 minutes
- Add the water and allow everything to start bubbling
- Once rice is bubbling, cover and cook on low heat for 20 minutes. Do not open the lid
- After 20 minutes, open lid and fluff rice with a fork. Serve & enjoy