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Ginger Turmeric Aromatic Rice

Ginger turmeric basmati aromatic rice – a unique and delicious Middle Eastern side dish perfect for pairing with your favorite entrees.

Ginger Turmeric Aromatic Rice

This blows instant white rice out of the freaking water.

When I was a kid, 62% of what I ate was white rice with butter and soy sauce. The end.

Okay, 78%.

Carbs + Fat + Sodium = Scrumtrulescence to the nth degree, which is why 91% of what I ate as a child was white rice with butter and soy. There may have been a canned pea in there somewhere, but not by my own choosing.

As an quasi adult, this Ginger and Turmeric Aromatic Rice is the butter and soy to my rice. It’s an all grown-up version of a comforting dish. I recommend it henceforth be the replacement for all your rices, not just because it’s tasty, but also because it includes the magical root, turmeric.

Which brings me to my next point. For today’s edition of root vegetables 101, we’re talking about turmeric.

You guys, this plant is insane. No matter your feelings on root vegetables, or vegetables in general, your life needs to be infused with turmeric. It will make you all the healthies.

What the Hillary Swank is Aromatic Rice?

The title has a therapeutic ring to it, but what is it?

What is Aromatic Rice?

Aromatic rice is simply medium or long-grain basmati or jasmine rice. It has a nutty flavor, is commonly prepared with saffron threads or ground turmeric, and is typically incorporated into Asian, Indian, North African, and Middle Eastern cuisine.

Some cultures serve aromatic rice with fresh chopped cilantro, pine nuts, and/or dried fruit. The rice adds vibrance and flavor to a meal, and is served alongside sauce-y vegetarian or meat dishes.

I have shown you turmeric in smoothie-form with my Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie, Beet, Turmeric, and Mango Smoothie, and Mango Lassi recipes; however, it’s high time we cook with it.

What is Turmeric?

Turmeric is from the root of the Curcuma longa (any botanists in the house? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?), which is a leafy plant related to ginger. 

For such a small root, turmeric packs an insanely healthful punch and has been touted in the medical industry for its ability to prevent and fight cancer.

Let’s talk basics.

Ginger Turmeric Aromatic Rice

Turmeric 101:

What does turmeric look like?: Put simply, turmeric looks like the orange version of ginger root, only its smaller than ginger. The orange peel gives way to a bright orange interior. Careful, because although turmeric’s color is brilliant and pretty, it stains your clothes, plastic, and wood.

What does turmeric taste like?: Turmeric may look like ginger, but it tastes nothing like it. It has a peppery and bitter flavor. The fresh version does have a slight creaminess to it, the way fresh ginger has. Be careful with how much turmeric you use, lest your dish end up with a bitter flavor.

Health benefits of turmeric: Turmeric has been used as a natural remedy in Chinese and Indian culture for centuries. It is a natural anti-inflammatory, and has been used to treat jaundice, inflammatory bowel disease, cystic fibrosis, arthritis, and cancer. Turmeric also eases digestive discomfort, and boosts your immune system. Full of antioxidants, turmeric helps cleanse and heal your liver.

How to select and store fresh turmeric: Choose fresh turmeric that is firm with an un-damaged peel. Store turmeric in a plastic bag in the crisper of your refrigerator. It should last between 3 and 4 weeks. If it hasn’t been cut or damaged, you can store whole turmeric roots in a root cellar for a couple of months.

How to cook with fresh turmeric: In order to cook with it, peel the skin using a paring knife and either finely chop it or grate it. You can use it in the same types of dishes you would ginger, and most curry dishes call for turmeric.

In the past, I’ve used ground turmeric for aromatic rice, but this time around I used fresh. I also added fresh ginger and garlic, dried cranberries, and pine nuts. The rice comes out full of color and fresh flavor.

I enjoy the rice with Chicken Tikka Masala and Paleo Butter Chicken, and will definitely be making it time and again when I cook ethnic food.

I’ve used both brown rice and white basmati rice in this dish and love them both equally. Be sure to read the instructions on the back of the package of rice you’re using if you go with anything other than white basmati. Brown rice will require more water and cook time.

Turmeric. It un-does all your debaucherous doings. Do that.

My cookbook, Paleo Power Bowls, is now available! CLICK HERE to check it out. Thank you for your support!

If you make this recipe, please feel free to share a photo and tag @The.Roasted.Root on Instagram!

Ginger Turmeric Aromatic Rice
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4.21 from 29 votes

Ginger and Turmeric Aromatic Rice

Ginger and Turmeric Aromatic Rice is a flavorful healthful rice to serve alongside just about any entree
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Total Time50 minutes
Course: Side Dishes & Snacks
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Servings: 3 to 4 servings
Calories: 271kcal
Author: Julia


For serving:

  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro chopped
  • ¼ cup pine nuts toasted


  • Add all ingredients for the rice except for the dried cranberries to a small pot, cover, and bring to a full boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, covered, until rice has absorbed all liquid, 15 minutes (or according to package instructions). NOTE: if using a rice other than white basmati rice, follow package instructions for amount of water and cook time.
  • A few minutes before rice is finished cooking, stir the dried cranberries into the rice - this allows them to plump up and lends more flavor to the rice. Re-place the cover and continue to cook.
  • Taste rice for flavor and add more sea salt if desired. Serve with fresh cilantro and pine nuts alongside your favorite main dish.


Serving: 1of 3 | Calories: 271kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 5g | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 10g

Ginger turmeric basmati aromatic rice – a unique and delicious Middle Eastern side dish perfect for pairing with your favorite entrees.

Recipe Rating

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Monday 8th of May 2023

Can you use Cauliflour rice?


Monday 8th of May 2023

Hi there! I've never tried this exact recipe using cauliflower rice as a replacement, so I'm not sure what adjustments would need to be made. I'm betting the amount of liquid needs to be decreased and the cook time will be less as well. I would try using the same seasonings from the recipe but sauté the cauliflower rice in those seasonings. Let me know if you try it! xo


Saturday 26th of February 2022

Can I make this with ground turmeric I get in the spice section of the store?


Saturday 26th of February 2022

Hi Wanda,

Yes, absolutely! use 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of ground turmeric, depending on your personal taste. xo


Thursday 25th of February 2021

AMAZING!! I tried this rice tonight and could not stop eating it. The fragrant when I took the lid off the pot was intoxicating. The flavors were wonderful and my tastebuds will never be the same. Even my husband liked it and took seconds and he's very anti-rice 🙄😂 I served it with Moroccan stew chicken. Excellent combination. Other suggestions are welcome.

Thank you so much for this recipe!!


Saturday 27th of February 2021

Wahoo! I'm so happy you and your husband enjoy the rice! I'm always amazed at how flavorful it turns out...really levels up a meal! Thanks so much for the feedback! xoxo


Thursday 26th of December 2019

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Friday 18th of August 2017

I made this with dinner tonight on the fly, as I had most of the ingredients, minus the fresh turmeric root and pine nuts. I made it just like you said but my rice wouldn't completely cook. I kept adding more water in hopes it would soften but no. I think I cooked the darn thang 50+ minutes! While the rest of my dinner was already done and trying to stay warm in the oven. It was very frustrating to say the least! It never got completely cooked but I served it up anyway telling my family how mad I was about it.. This is not the first time cooking brown rice has done this to me! And for some weird reason it's hit and miss. I'm an experienced cook too. I'm gonna research the topic and see what I can find about cooking different brown rices. My husband liked it anyway, my adult son didn't care for it (he's picky still!) and I think I would have enjoyed it much more if it were cooked all the way. I don't like chewy rice. I think next time I will follow the liquid requirements and cooking time on the actual package of the rice I'm using.


Wednesday 23rd of August 2017

Hi Carri,

I'm so sorry the rice didn't work out for you! I would definitely agree that following the liquid and cook time requirements would be the best way of going about it if you try the recipe again. Thanks so much for the feedback!

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