My dad only knew how to make two things for most of my life: Chai and Indian-style fried rice. Today he makes many delicious recipes, but his Indian fried rice is still a favorite. I always think of him when I make fried rice because he would make fried rice from leftover rice in the refrigerator whenever my mom was away.
Indian fried rice is called “Vagharelo Bhaat” in Gujarati or “Fodni Bhaat” in Marathi.
Fried rice is a great way to reheat rice, completely transforming the leftover rice into a delicious meal. It is the simple addition of Indian spices that gives it a new fragrance and second life. It uses very little oil so it is still pretty healthy, and best of all, it only takes 10 minutes.
Vagharalo Bhaat isn’t much different than Chinese fried rice, but with Indian flavors and spices in place of Chinese. You can opt to add in some greens and vegetables, like carrots, peas, broccoli, or whatever you have on hand. Some people will also add some cooked chicken, for Chicken Fried Rice, but I prefer the vegetarian version of this dish.
If you don’t have leftover basmati rice, check out our restaurant-style basmati rice recipe for tips on making it yourself. You can use any other long-grained rice, like jasmine, if you would like. You can also use Asian-style rice, but you won’t get the right texture. Asian-style long-grain rice is prized for its sticky starchiness, while the different varieties of Indian rice are prized for their lack of starch.
- 2 tsp oil
- 1/2 onion roughly diced
- 1 tsp chopped green chili or to taste
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 cups cooked rice I use Basmati rice
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/4 tsp chili powder or to taste
- 2 tbsp water
- salt to taste
- 1 tbsp cilantro chopped
- Heat oil in a pan until it shimmers. Toss in the cumin seeds and let cook for about 15 seconds. Toss in the onion and green chili. Stir. Add a little salt and cook until the onions are soft, stirring every couple minutes.
- Add rice, water, chili powder, turmeric and stir.
- Cook until rice is heated through.