We really enjoyed this Curried Rice Sautee dinner the other night. Grains, meat, vegetables. It's a one-pot dinner in a bowl! Although, it is perfect for a wholesome lunch too. The earthy tones of curry and cumin add so much fun flavor to the dish. It's definitely a must-try!
I really didn't feel like cooking. It was one of those lazy weekends where I did things that I absolutely had to. Nothing more, nothing less. But at the same time, takeout was out of the question. We ordered takeout several times that week; it was a busy work week (probably that would explain why I was so lazy on the weekend).
Anyway, I wanted to make something that would be a home-cooked meal but would not take my Saturday from me.
That's how this recipe was born. Dinner was done in just over 30 minutes - and even then, half of that time was just the rice cooking under a covered pot.
Sometimes we get one of those days, but it's good to enjoy them guilt-free! Making something like this Pan Seared Salmon with Vegetables dish or these Super Easy Sautéed Chicken Thighs is quick and easy. The family is fed with a homemade meal and "My List" on Netflix is 3 movies shorter. No harm done!
Why we love this recipe
- One pot meal: with everything cooked in one pot, cleanup is so much faster and easier.
- The flavors! The never-boring flavors of curry and cumin add earthiness and spice to the dish.
- Versatile: serve it for lunch or dinner. Make it with any ground meat or make it vegetarian. Cook other vegetables.
- Perfect as leftovers: make a bigger pot and serve it for several days. It will taste even taste better the next day!
- Rice: Long grain rice is best for this recipe, but really you can use any type you like, though I don't recommend using sticky rice, such as sushi rice.
- Ground Meat: I used ground turkey and ground chicken, but ground beef will be great as well.
- Vegetables: we use onion, zucchini, and mushrooms - please see "substitutions and variations" below for other options.
- Spices and Seasonings: you'll need some salt, pepper, ginger powder, paprika, cumin, and, of course, cumin powder.
- Cilantro: to garnish
see recipe card below for the full ingredients list and quantities
Substitutions and Variations
- corn/peas: adding frozen corn and/or peas will work great in addition to, or instead of, the zucchini and mushrooms. You can toss them in straight from the freezer and they will cook in the pot with the rest of the ingredients. About one cup. You can also use the frozen vegetable mix that comes in a package with carrots, beans, peas, and corn.
- chicken thighs: substitute ground meat for chicken thighs. Cut the thighs into bite-size pieces before sauteing.
- make it spicy: once the dish is cooked, add some hot sauce, to taste. Or, you can add 1/2 teaspoon of hot paprika when adding all the other spices. Add more or less, depending on your preference for spiciness.
- make it vegetarian: leave the meat out and just use the vegetables and rice.
Add the oil to a large pot or a dutch oven and heat over medium-high. Stir in the chopped onion and saute for about 30 seconds.
Add the meat and cook, breaking it up into small pieces, for 2-3 minutes. Stir in all the spices and seasonings.
Add the mushrooms and zucchini to the pot and mix well. Stir in the rice and sautee for 2-3 minutes. Pour in 3.5 cups of water and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to a simmer and cover the pot with a lid. Cook the rice for 15 minutes, or until the it is tender and has absorbed all the liquid. Sprinkle with cilantro to garnish.
- It's best to use long grain rice; it cooks fluffy and does not stick together. Long grain parboiled rice is great too!
- Pre-boiling the water in the kettle saves you a little bit of time. Fill the kettle with water so it's ready when you need to pour it into the pot. Bringing to a boil in the pot will be so much faster.
- Once the curried rice is cooked, give it a taste and add a little bit more curry powder if you prefer a stronger curry flavor.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can. You can pour tap water instead of pre-boiled kettle water; it will just take it a little longer to come to a boil in the pot.
Yes, you can definitely use broth/stock - vegetable or any meat stock will work. Stock will enhance flavor, just make sure to adjust the amount of salt added to the rice, even if your broth is low sodium. It's better to add a little more salt and/or spices later than to oversalt. You can also combine water and stock - for example use 2 cups of water and 1.5 cups of broth, and again, adjust the amount of salt used.
If you've added a little too much curry powder, or the optional hot paprika, and your curried rice is now way too spicy, stir in some sour cream. Coconut milk will work as well, but I did not try it in this recipe.
Store leftovers in the pot or an airtight container in the refrigerator for upto 3 days. Make sure it's cooled down completely before placing it in the fridge. You can make it ahead as well and then store it in the fridge and consume within the 3 days.
Freezing: The rice, ground meat, and the vegetables will keep will in the freezer for upto 3-4 months. It's great for meal prep! You can make a large pot of the recipe and, once the rice has cooled to room temperature, divide it amongst freezer bags in desired portion sizes, squeeze out any extra air and place in the freezer.
Reheating: rice from the fridge or the freezer can be reheated in the microwave, or the oven. Make sure to use a microwave-safe dish. Microwave rice from the fridge for about 2 minutes per serving and frozen rice for about 3 minutes. Frozen rice can also be thawd in the fridge overnight.
You can also use the stovetop to reheat rice, just make sure to transfer the pot to a non-stick pan or pot and add a little bit of water (about 1 tablespoon of water per 1 cup of rice). Bring the rice with the water to a boil, reduce heat and cook, stirring occassionaly so the rice doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan, until the rice and meat have heated and the water has evaporated.
If you have a lot of leftovers, make sure to reheat only the amount you will need, so the leftover rice is not heated more than once.
Try these easy-to-make recipes:
Curried Rice Sautee Recipe
- 2 tablespoon olive oil extra virgin
- 1 yellow onion chopped
- 1 lb ground meat turkey, chicken, or beef
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon paprika Spanish or sweet
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 10 oz button mushrooms sliced
- 1 zucchini large, diced
- 2 cups rice long grain, uncooked
- 3.5 cups water
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro chopped
- Add the oil to a large pot or a dutch oven and heat over medium-high. Stir in the chopped onion and saute for about 30 seconds.
- Add the meat and cook, breaking it up into small pieces, for 2-3 minutes. Stir in all the spices and seasonings (curry powder, cumin, salt, garlic powder, ground ginger, and paprika). Fill the kettle with water and bring it to a boil - see the first note in notes section below.
- Add the mushrooms and zucchini to the pot and mix well. Stir in the rice and sautee for 2-3 minutes. Pour in 3.5 cups of the water you boiled in the kettle and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to a simmer and cover the pot with a lid. Cook the rice for 15 minutes, or until the rice is tender and has absorbed all the liquid. If the rice has absorbed the liquid but is not tender enough (to your liking), add a little more water, cover it with the lid, and simmer for another 5 minutes or so. Do a little taste test and add some more curry powder if you like more curry flavor. Sprinkle with cilantro to garnish.
- boiling the water in the kettle saves a little time. You can add tap water to the pot rather than pre-boiling it in the kettle, but it will take a little longer to bring the water to a boil.
- If you like more curry flavor, you can add more curry powder to taste. More once the dish is cooked.
- A little spice: If you like your curry rice a little (or a lot) spicy, add a little hot paprika.