This easy 30-minute Mediterranean rice is the perfect side to your favourite meals! Long grain basmati rice is cooked with onions, broth, warm whole spices and turmeric for that vibrant yellow colour. Garnish this perfectly fully yellow rice with crunchy almonds and serve!
What is Mediterranean Rice?
Mediterranean rice is yellow basmati rice that is commonly served with many Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes, such as chicken shawarma, beef shawarma, Mediterranean fish, joojeh kabab, and so many more.
You'll often find this served at shawarma restaurants when you order a shawarma plate, alongside other rice options like rice with vermicelli and a simple chopped salad. It's made across the middle east as well as countries like Greece, Spain, Iran, North African countries, Afghan, Indian and Indonesian countires.
This version of yellow rice is my own and has a middle eastern flavour profile using whole spices, onions and chicken broth. I always make yellow basmati rice (as opposed to shorter grain rice varieties) because it's the easiest to cook, and yields excellent results.
This recipe is quite easy and beginner friendly, and will get you perfect rice in 30 minutes. If you're new to cooking rice though, be sure to check out the tips I share in this rice recipes roundup post!
Ingredients You'll Need to Make This Recipe
Here are the basic ingredients you need to make Mediterranean yellow rice:
Long grain basmati rice is my rice of choice. It yields excellent fluffy rice and its the easiest rice variety to cook.
Onions and chicken broth are used to infused a delicious umami flavour in this rice. If you don't have broth on hand, you can use water. But make sure you try it with broth at least once!
The whole spices you'll need are peppercorns, cloves, green cardamom, and a cinnamon stick. If you don't have a few of these, no worries, just use what you have.
Turmeric, salt and pepper are the ground seasonings used. Turmeric is the key ingredient to get that vibrant yellow rice.
Olive oil or any vegetable oil is also needed to cook down the onions and yield a fluffier rice that won't be sticky!
How To Make Mediterranean Rice, Step By Step
Let's walk through the steps required to make the fluffiest yellow rice.
Start by finely dicing the onions and sauté in the olive oil for 5 minutes until softened, using medium heat. Then add the whole spices and toast them for a few minutes, stirring often.
Next, add the turmeric, salt and pepper and stir for a few more minutes to toast the spices and develop flavour.
Meanwhile, wash your rice well until the water runs clear and drain it. You don't need to soak the rice for this recipe.
Add the rice to the pot and stir to combine with the spices. Stir it very gently to avoid breaking the rice grains.
Add the chicken broth to the pot, and bring to a simmer.
TIP: Always use a 1:1.5 rice to water ratio when cooking long grain basmati rice.
Once the water simmers and you start to see the surface bubbling, cover it with a tight fitting lid, turn the heat to low, and leave it to cook for 20 minutes.
TIP: To ensure a tight seal on your pot, place a paper towel on top of the pot then place the lid. This ensures no steam escapes which helps to cook the rice evenly.
After 20 minutes, open the lid and fluff the rice gently with the back of a spatula or using a fork. Cover again and allow it to rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Garnish the rice with fried almonds or pine nuts, fried raisins, and parsley for a bright pop of colour. This yellow basmati rice can be served right away with your main.
How to Serve Mediterranean Yellow Rice
I strongly recommend you serve this rice with chicken or beef shawarma, when you're not serving it as a wrap. However, the aromatic spices and subtle flavour pair beautifully with any protein. My other favourite dish to serve this yellow rice with is this fish cooked in tomato sauce.
Variations of Yellow Rice
If you are wondering whether a different type of rice can be used - sure! You can use medium grain rice for this recipe, but be sure to adjust the rice to water ratio to roughly 1:1 depending on the variety you're using, otherwise you will have mushy rice.
You can also add garlic with the onions, as well as herbs like parsley, dill, or cilantro for a more herby flavour.
More Rice Recipes You Will Love:
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30-Minute Mediterranean Rice (Yellow Basmati Rice)
- 3 cups long grain basmati rice
- 4.5 cups chicken broth substitute water
- ¼ cup olive oil (or 4 tablespoons)
- 1 onion
- 1.5 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon whole peppercorns
- 5 whole cloves
- 5 whole green cardamom
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- In a large pot over medium heat, heat up the olive oil before adding in the finely diced onions
- Sauté until the onions have softened
- Add the whole peppercorns, cloves, cardamom and cinnamon sticks and continue to stir for a few more minutes
- Add in the salt and the turmeric and continue sautéing for another minute
- Wash and rinse the basmati rice before adding it into the pot
- Stir gently for a few minutes, being careful not to break up the rice grains. Add the chicken broth (or water). Bring to a boil
- Once the surface of the rice is bubbling (which should take 3-5 minutes), cover with a tight fitting lid, reduce the heat to low and cook for 20 minutes undisturbed
- After 20 minutes, turn the heat off and open the lid. Fluff very gently with a fork or the back of a spatula. Cover and allow it to rest for 10 minutes
- Garnish with parsley, toasted almonds and raisins if desired before serving
- If you are not using long grain basmati rice, for example, if you're using medium grain rice, make sure to adjust the rice to water ratio from 1:1.5 to roughly 1:1 to avoid mushy rice. Not all rice varieties cook the same way!
- If you don't have all the whole spices listed, feel free to omit some and use what you have.