Rice is the perfect, versatile side dish for any weeknight meal. This crispy fried onion rice pulao is an Indian twist on a standard rice side dish. Fresh fried onions give fragrant long-grain rice a fun, delicious twist with little effort! The best part is this side dish requires only five ingredients.
Pair this easy rice side with homemade butter chicken, or afghani chicken tikka to bring your favourite Indian restaurant home! This rice is also the perfect base for homemade chicken pulao, for an extra boost of protein.
- Long grain rice
- Yellow onion
A full list of ingredients with measurements is located on the recipe card, below.
Collecting all your ingredients - This will make cooking so much easier. Gather all the spices you will need, and keep them nearby.
Slicing the onions - Peel the onions and cut in half. Thinly slice into half moon slices.
Rinsing your rice - rinse and drain the rice 2-3 times, until the water rinses almost clear.
Fry the onions - In a skillet or a large pot, heat up a ½ inch (around 2 cups) of cooking oil over medium heat. Test the heat by putting the end of a wooden spoon into the oil. If bubbles form around the stick, the oil is hot enough. Fry the onions until they are golden brown, stirring them occasionally. This should take approximately 10 minutes, but keep an eye on them! Once they are golden brown, drain on a plate lined with paper towel.
Make the rice - In a sauce pan over medium heat, boil the water. Once it has come to a boil, add the rinsed rice, salt, butter, and fried onions. Cover, and reduce the heat to medium low. Cook for 15 minutes.
Let the rice rest - Turn the heat off after 15 minutes, and let the rice sit for 5 minutes with the lid on. Do not open or stir the rice!
Fluff and serve - One the remaining 5 minutes are up, open the lid and fluff the rice with a fork. Enjoy!
Use a neutral cooking oil to fry the onions! A neutral cooking oil is an oil that does not have a distinct flavour to it. I recommend using vegetable or canola oil. Avoid using olive oil, as the flavour is strong and it may start smoking with high heat.
- Yellow onions - for the sake of convenience, you can use store-bought fried onions. Note that there is a difference between french fried onions, and fried onions for the purpose of this rice.
- Long grain rice - you can use basmati rice, or even substitute with brown rice if you prefer!
- Butter - feel free to use olive oil instead of butter in the rice. The purpose of the fat is to prevent the starch from bubbling over in the pot.
- Water - use chicken broth or vegetable broth for extra flavour!
- Spices - add a pinch of cinnamon to the rice to give it a warm, earthy taste.
- Protein - Add in some lentils to make this rice a full meal, similar to Middle Eastern mujadara.
This is what I used to make this recipe - Please be mindful that different equipment and cooking utensils may yield varying results. Most of my favourite equipment can be found on my storefront.
- Large pot
- Large skillet
The prepared rice will keep well in the fridge for 2-3 days in an airtight container.
To reheat, microwave with a splash of water to rehydrate the rice.
You can also fry the onions in advance, and freeze them in a freezer bag with some paper towel. That way, you can add them to rice as you make it.
The key ratio to remember is 2:1. That means for every 1 cup of rice, add 2 cups of liquid.
Mushy rice happens when there is an excess amount of liquid. If you follow the 2:1 ratio, your rice will come out perfectly every time.
Pulao is a popular South Asian rice dish, that often involves adding additional spices, vegetables and sometimes meats.
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Crispy Fried Onion Pulao
- 2 cups Vegetable oil
- 1 Yellow onion (thinly sliced)
- 2 cups Water
- 1 cup Long grain rice (rinsed)
- 1 tablespoon Salted butter
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- Fry the onions - In a skillet or a large pot, heat up a ½ inch (around 2 cups) of cooking oil over medium heat. Fry the onions until they are golden brown, stirring them occasionally. This should take approximately 10 minutes. Once the onions are golden brown, drain on a plate lined with paper towel.2 cups Vegetable oil, 1 Yellow onion
- Make the rice - In a sauce pan over medium heat, boil the water. Once it has come to a boil, add the rinsed rice, salt, butter, and fried onions. Cover, and reduce the heat to medium low. Cook for 15 minutes.2 cups Water, 1 cup Long grain rice, 1 tablespoon Salted butter, 1 teaspoon Salt
- Let the rice rest - Turn the heat off after 15 minutes, and let the rice sit for 5 minutes with the lid on.
- Fluff and serve - One the remaining 5 minutes are up, open the lid and fluff the rice with a fork. Enjoy!