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A bowl of Indian fried rice with peanuts and chilies.

Indian Fried Rice with Peanuts, Chilies, & Cilantro

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5 from 4 reviews


From Priya Krishna’s Indian-ish


  • The original recipe calls for 8 tablespoons of ghee total, but I think it’s equally delicious with 4 tablespoons. If you’re not afraid, use 8!
  • Ghee: Inspired by the book, I made a batch of ghee. Unsalted butter or olive oil are fine substitutes.
  • Curry leaves may require some hunting to track down. I bought mine at the Karam Asian Grocery & Halal Meat in Schenectady. If you don’t feel like searching for them, simply omit.
  • Peanuts: I’ve been using Planters roasted and salted … it hasn’t been making the dish too salty.


  • 3 cups cooked basmati rice or 1 cup dried basmati rice, rinsed
  • kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice plus more to taste
  • 4 to 8 tablespoons ghee or olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon black mustard seeds
  • 10 fresh curry leaves
  • 1 cup roasted unsalted peanuts
  • 2 small hot chilies, halved lengthwise
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced thinly
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or more to taste


  1. If you need to cook the rice, here how: Instant Pot Method: Place the rice, 1 cup water, and 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt into the Instant Pot. Set the IP to: manual, high heat, 6 minutes, natural release 10 minutes (or more). Fluff with fork. Stovetop Method: Place the rice, 1.5 cups water, and 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt into a medium pot. Bring to a simmer. Cover. Reduce heat to low. Cook 15 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Let stand 10 minutes (or longer) before fluffing with a fork.
  2. If you have leftover basmati rice on hand, bravo—start here: In a large bowl combine the cooked rice, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and lime juice. Set aside.
  3. In a medium skillet over medium heat, warm 2 to 4 tablespoons of ghee or oil (depending on your preferences, see notes above). Once the ghee or oil begins to shimmer, add the mustard seed. As soon as they begin to pop and dance around in the oil, which will happen very quickly, remove the pan from the heat. Add the curry leaves, making sure they get fully coated in the oil. The leaves will immediately begin to crisp up.
  4. Return the pan to medium-low heat and add the peanuts. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the peanuts turn a medium shade of brown and become fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Pour the peanut-spice-oil mixture over the rice and toss gently to incorporate.
  5. In the same pan over medium heat, warm the remaining 2 to 4 tablespoons ghee or oil. Once it begins to shimmer, add the chilies and onions. Season with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onion begins to caramelize, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir this mixture into the rice. Add the cilantro and toss to combine. Taste. Add more salt and lime to taste — go big with both; you won’t be disappointed.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Indian