Toasted Black Pepper & Cumin Fried Rice

Looking for a rice recipe all jazzed up with fragrant spices fried in ghee? This is the one to try. Its a delicious fried rice dish made with mixed veggies, toasted black pepper, cumin seeds, and curry leaves that are fried in fragrant ghee.

About the recipe

I call this a cross between a South Indian lentil and rice dish called pongal and a veggie pilaf. I wanted to make pongal for a Sunday lunch I was hosting, but pongal wasn’t meant to be on this day.

You see, pongal is cooking rice and lentils together and then spicing it up with toasted black pepper and cumin seeds that is fried in ghee. Well, my pongal turned out too mushy and I still had to make a dish for my lunch, so I had to pivot and make something else. Enter this toasted black pepper and cumin veggie pilaf.

I took the spice mix that I made to add to my pongal and instead added it to the veggie pilaf. The dish turned out really good! I served it with eggplant gotsu which is a saucy tomato stew along with a side of yogurt raita . Its yummy and satisfying and makes for a wonderful meal.

Decor Drinks and Food

Along with the recipe I’d also like to share a few pics of our Sunday afternoon lunch on a gorgeous day in the garden. I made a South Indian menu from my native Tamil cuisine and this black pepper rice was one of the dishes.

Sunday Lunch with Family
South Indian Tamil Menu

Coconut chutney
Lentil sambar
Toasted black pepper and cumin veggie pilaf
Eggplant gotsu
Potato curry
Yogurt raita

A tour of the garden to burn off a few calories 😃

Dessert time 🍧🍰🍓

Greek yogurt chia seed parfait with fresh berries
Fresh fruit

serves 2-4


1 cup basmati rice
2 cups frozen mixed veggies
1 tsp whole black peppercorn
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp asafetida powder
5-6 curry leaves
2 tbsp ghee
Fresh cilantro for garnish


In the Instapot add the rice and frozen veggies plus 1 tsp salt. Add 2 cups water and stir. Cook the pilaf in the rice setting.

In the meantime dry roast the black pepper and cumin seeds until fragrant about 5 minutes. Take off the stove and let it cool. Then grind in a spice blender to make a coarse spice blend. Set aside.

Once the rice is ready gently stir it with 1 tsp of oil.

In a large pan warm 2 tbsp ghee. Add the pepper cumin spice blend , asafetida and curry leaves and toast in the ghee for about 5 seconds. It should smell fragrant of spices and curry leaves. Add this to the cooked rice and stir-in. Pilaf is ready!

Serve with garnish of fresh cilantro along with a side of raita and gotsu.

One thought on “Toasted Black Pepper & Cumin Fried Rice”

  1. What a beautiful spread! Love all the colors of all the food, the vessels and the setting! Yummy fried rice!😋

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