Geel Rys (South African Yellow Rice) Recipe

Geel Rys (South African Yellow Rice) Recipe

Stovetop rice making eludes a lot of people and the ubiquitous rice cooker (and even microwave rice cooker) lets you have perfect rice every time without thought or effort. Even the avid Japanese and Indian food eaters among us are often helpless when confronted with the task of making rice without some sort of cooker.

Though I have my own quick and easy method of making perfect basmati, this South African rice preparation is a new favorite. It takes the South Asian style of using turmeric instead of saffron to make the rice yellow, but has a character more like Persian or Parsi rice than your typical Indian pilau or Balinese yellow rice.

Prep time: 15-20 minutes
Serves: 8 (with Potjie or Bobotie)
Adapted from Rainbow Cuisine: A Culinary Journey Through South Africa


  • 2 cups medium grain rice
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • whole cloves
  • thick round piece of ginger
  • turmeric
  • salt


  1. Cut off eight thin slices of ginger.
  2. In a medium sized saucepan (that you have a lid for), combine the rice with five cups of water.
  3. Add the ginger, raisins, 10 cloves, a teaspoon of turmeric and a half teaspoon of salt to the rice.
  4. Cover the pot and bring it to a boil.
  5. As soon as you see the rice water begin to bubble, lower the heat on your stove to the lowest setting and let it simmer.
  6. After ten minutes, remove the lid and poke the rice with a fork. If there is liquid remaining at the bottom, let it cook for another two to five minutes. If your fork is clean, pull the rice off the heat.
  7. Mix to evenly distribute the raisins and fluff the rice and serve immediately.


Note: Have leftovers? If you have extra rice left, but no more Bobotie or Potjie, you can just eat the rice with chutney (Blatjang) for a delicious and filling lunch or snack.