It's Sooo Good! | Iraqi Pink Rice Recipe

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Iraqi pink rice

I'll tell you what you can put there :
  • 1 cup of uncooked basmati or jasmine rice
  • 1 ½ cups of water
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Spices: black pepper, salt, chilis, etc. to taste
Click to enlarge

Iraqi pink rice is very much a staple food at the Jewish Iraqi table. It is served with almost every main course, and makes a tasty addition to your meal. This recipe serves 3-4 people as a side dish.

I'll tell you what you can do :

* For the best results wash the rice in a bowl of water, mixing it around, pouring the water out, and repeating again about 3 times. Along with the oil, this will prevent the rice from clumping. We're not making sticky rice here!

In a medium-sized pot, sauté the onions in oil on medium heat until they become transluscent, about 5 minutes. Next add the uncooked rice, and stir quickly for 30 seconds, coating it with the oil and onions. Now add the water and increase the flame to high.

At this point you'll want to add the tomato paste, salt, and pepper. The tomato paste will dissolve better if you remove a bit of hot water from the pot and mix it with the tomato paste in a cup before adding the mixture back in. Spice to taste, but you'll want at least 1/2 teaspoon of pepper and a teaspoon or so of salt.

When the mixture comes to a boil, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid, and immediately reduce the heat to a simmer. Allow it to cook 20 minutes, then turn off the heat, and allow it to sit an additional 2 minutes, still covered.

Now open the pot and mix it up. It's "sooo good"!




Because the rice is steam-cooked, it is important not to open the lid while cooking, and to add the correct proportion of water:

1 cup rice: 1.5 cups water

Don't make this dish in a rice cooker. This isn't Chinese food!

Best of luck,


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New! Write a comment about this recipe:

Matt writes: (31 Mar 2014, 23:25)
Dear Moti,

I love Iraqi food. I did 2 combat tours in Iraq and loved the food there. It seems I can't find any good chai to go with the meals. I favorite is the pita type of samoon stuffed with falafel or kebab with potatoes, lettuce, tomatoes, and they had 2 types of sauces. One was like a vinegar yellow sauce and the other a dark brown sauce. Have any idea on what the sauces are and where to get it a long with the Chia?
eddy writes: (18 May 2012, 15:54)
Dear Moti, im so happy to find out wat a pink rice really is. thanks
Moti writes: (05 Jun 2011, 23:21)
Dear Noob,

No, you do not need to put oil in the water while washing the rice. The oil is used only to sauté the onions.

Hope that helps!

Noor writes: (05 Jun 2011, 10:59)
Dear Moti,

Along with the oil, do u mean while washing it with water we include some oil as well? Sorry for being a total noob =(
Nadja writes: (08 Nov 2010, 05:10)
Dear Moti,

It was just what I want it to cook, the pinki rice,
Thank u very much.
Anne writes: (26 Jun 2010, 13:17)
Mar7ba Moti,
I just found your website and I'm thrilled to find Iraqi recipes. You are doing a great job!
I'm also Iraqi but of Assyrian descent and I cook this rice too but without the onions and add cooked lamb or beef chunks. I add the tomatoe paste before adding the rice, let it saute a little in the oil.
Serve with salad.

Reba writes: (01 Feb 2009, 14:21)
Dear Moti,
Our family rice recipe is the same as yours but we use a layer of paper towels between the lid and the pot for the last 15 minutes of cooking, drier rice, no Chinese cooking here!
Wonderful website, I am cooking your lentil soup right now; it smells sooo good!
Randy writes: (04 Apr 2008, 10:04)
Dear Moti, Thanks for responding so quickly to my question from Chowhound! I am going to try it tonite!
Randy writes: (04 Apr 2008, 10:04)
Dear Moti, Thanks for responding so quickly to my question from Chowhound! I am going to try it tonite!
Jen writes: (06 Dec 2007, 01:18)
Dear Moti,

Thanks for the Pink Rice recipe. It sounds wonderfully simple. Will make it soon. All the best for a fabulous new year.

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