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South African Yellow Rice Recipe (Geel Rys)

yellow rice
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How To Make Delicious Yellow Rice

Yellow rice is white rice, with added spices like turmeric or saffron. (Salt, butter, sugar, and cinnamon are added for extra flavor.)

For the South African version of Yellow Rice, (also known as geel rys), raisins are also added for color and flavor.

Whether you’re doing white or yellow rice, rice is generally a good source of minerals because it includes iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus,  zinc, and sodium. As a side dish, rice will go with almost anything that you serve it with. It’s extremely versatile—there are tons of different recipe variations you can create. 

This rice recipe is also quite versatile. It goes particularly well with Bobotie – a traditional South African dish. It’s also very good with spicy foods. If you are adding raisins, the sweetness of the raisins blends really well with spicy curries for a sweet and spicy flavor.

South African Yellow Rice (Geel Rys)

Prep Time: 5mins | Cook Time: 10-15mins | Servings: 4-6 | Difficulty: Easy

4 cups water
2 1⁄2 cups long-grain rice
2 teaspoon turmeric
1 cinnamon stick (optional)
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 -2 tablespoon sugar
11⁄2 salt
1 cup raisins
3 tablespoons butter
bay leaf (optional)

How to Cook
  1. Add all the ingredients, except the butter, to a pot and bring it to a boil.
  2. Reduce the heat to low, put the lid on, and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the rice is fully cooked and dry. If you like your rice softer, add more water.
  3. Remove your pot from the heat and set it aside, covered, for another 5-10 minutes.
  4. If you were using a cinnamon stick, discard it.
  5. Add the butter, and fluff the rice with a fork.
  6. Serve hot.



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Hi. We’re the Chelten’s. We visit South Africa 1-2 times per year, so we want to share our experiences with you so that you may make educated decisions when you plan your next trip to the rainbow nation.

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