Fragrant rice with cauliflower, turmeric, ginger and lemon

A colourful, delicious main or side dish!

Sometimes called aromatic rice, versions of this dish are really popular in numerous Middle Eastern, Indian, North African and Asian cuisines. Not only do they look beautiful thanks to the vibrant colour that is sometimes achieved with saffron instead of turmeric, they’re also delicious and extremely nutritious. Cauliflower, turmeric, ginger and lemon all have amazing health benefits and taste fantastic together. I usually keep things on the simple side and just add some toasted almonds, chopped dried apricots and fresh herbs to the rice when it’s cooked, but you could easily switch things up with walnuts, pine nuts, dried cranberries or dried cherries.  This dish is fantastic on its own, but it’s also great alongside your favourite meat or fish dish.

Fragrant Rice with Turmeric and Ginger


  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) olive or canola oil
  • 1 shallot, peeled and minced
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) fresh turmeric root, peeled and grated (or 1/2 teaspoon/2.5 mL ground turmeric)
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 mL) freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup (250 mL) basmati rice, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup (250 mL) finely chopped cauliflower florets
  • 2 cups (500 mL) water
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) slivered or sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) finely chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) finely chopped parsley


  • Put the oil in a medium-sized pot (one with a tight lid) and place over medium heat. As soon as it’s warm (about 90 seconds), reduce heat just a little and add the shallot and ginger to the pot. Sauté for 2 minutes, then add the garlic and turmeric; sauté for 2 minutes more until the mixture is very fragrant.
  • Add the salt, pepper, rice and cauliflower and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the water and increase heat so the mixture comes to a boil. Put the lid on the pot and reduce heat to low.
  • Cook for about 15 – 18 minutes, until the rice is tender and all the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat stir in lemon juice, apricots, almonds, mint and parsley. Transfer to a serving dish and serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves 4.

Fragrant Rice with Turmeric Ginger and Lemon


Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. If you enjoy this space be sure to check out my Rogers TV Ottawa cooking show, Paula Roy's Favourite Foods, available on local cable, streaming and a dedicated playlist on Rogers TV's YouTube channel.

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