How To Make Savoury Rice

In South Africa, savoury rice is a beloved dish that is often served as a side dish or as a main course. This flavorful rice is easy to make and can be customized with various ingredients to suit individual preferences. Whether you’re hosting a family gathering or simply craving a comforting meal, learning how to make savoury rice will surely elevate your culinary skills. In this article, we will share a step-by-step guide on how to create a delicious and aromatic pot of savoury rice.


To make savoury rice, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 2 cups of basmati rice
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon of coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon of garam masala
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • Handful of chopped fresh coriander leaves for garnish (optional)


1. Rinse the rice

Start by rinsing the basmati rice under cold water until the water runs clear. This step helps remove excess starch and prevents the rice from becoming sticky.

2. Sauté the onion and garlic

Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic, and sauté until they become soft and fragrant.

How To Make Savoury Rice

3. Toast the spices

Add the cumin seeds, turmeric powder, coriander powder, garam masala, cinnamon stick, and cardamom pods to the pot. Stir the spices for a minute or until they become aromatic.

4. Add the rice and water

Drain the rinsed rice and add it to the pot. Stir well to coat the rice with the spices. Pour in the water and season with salt to taste. Give everything a good stir.

5. Cook the rice

Bring the pot to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Let the rice simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed and the rice is tender. Avoid lifting the lid while the rice is cooking to prevent steam from escaping.

6. Fluff and garnish

Once the rice is cooked, remove the pot from the heat and let it sit, covered, for another 5 minutes. This will allow the rice to steam and become even fluffier. Finally, use a fork to fluff the rice and garnish with freshly chopped coriander leaves if desired.


Savoury rice is highly versatile, and you can personalize it by adding or substituting ingredients. Here are a few popular variations:

  • Chicken Savoury Rice: Add cooked and shredded chicken to the rice during the cooking process for added protein.
  • Veggie Savoury Rice: Toss in your favorite vegetables, such as peas, carrots, or bell peppers, for a nutritious twist.
  • Spicy Savoury Rice: If you enjoy a bit of heat, add chopped chili peppers or a pinch of chili powder to spice things up.


Learning how to make savoury rice opens up a world of delicious possibilities in your kitchen. This South African favorite can be enjoyed as a standalone meal or paired with a variety of dishes. By following our step-by-step guide and experimenting with different ingredients, you can create a mouthwatering pot of savoury rice that will impress your family and friends.