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Purple rice (red cabbage rice)

15 Mins Cook
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NomNom Recipes 28

Purple Rice is garlic buttered rice that gets its vibrant color from the red cabbage! You’ll love this 2-in-1 meal that doesn’t just have salad and starches, but also combines starches and lots of veggies in one meal. It goes well with everything: Western, Asian, Mediterranean, Indian, Mexican!

NomNom Recipes 28
Purple rice (red cabbage rice) – NomNomWow

Purple rice

You know that night on the weekend where you marinate chicken to make a “quick dinner” for the week, and then you realize you didn’t plan any side dishes to fill the meal up?

Well, today’s recipe is just one of those recipes that will save you. It is one of the side dishes called 2-in-1 because it contains plenty of vegetables and starch, so it is filling. Two sides and opposites like mashed potatoes and vegetable salad.

What it is: A very mild kale flavor with notes of butter and garlic that will appeal to those who cannot afford kale for dinner. Bonus: really fun colors!!!

Ingredients in purple rice

  • Jasmine rice – I like using jasmine rice in this dish because you get that lovely subtle fragrance. Other rice – the recipe will work with long grain rice, medium grain rice and basmati rice, though you will need an extra 1/4 cup of water or vegetable stock/broth. This is because jasmine rice requires less liquid to cook than other varieties of rice (more on this in my plain jasmine rice recipe!).The recipe is not suited to brown rice, arborio/risotto rice, paella rice, wild rice or faux rice (cauliflower rice, quinoa etc) as the cook times and methods differ so I’d need to alter the recipe.
  • Red cabbage – Also called purple cabbage, this is what gives the rice the vibrant purple hue! You can use plain ole’ green cabbage if you want, but where’s the fun in that?? 
  • Garlic and onion – Flavour base aromatics. You will adore the butter garlic flavour in this rice!
  • Butter – As above, for promised buttery flavour! You’ll be surprised how buttery it tastes even though we’re only using 30 grams / 2 tablespoons of butter.
  • Vegetable stock – The rice cooking liquid, tastier than water! Use low sodium stock. If yours is full salt, skip the salt in the recipe.
  • Salt and pepper – Seasoning for the rice.
  • Green onion – For fresh garnish at the end, though I wouldn’t say it’s critical.

How to make purple rice

One big, greasy rice cooking rule that applies to everything you cook: don’t stir and don’t look as soon as you put the lid on the pot! Unless, of course, you like your rice to be unevenly cooked, sticky and runny.

  1. Use a large saucepan or small pot, around the size of mine which is 28cm/11″. If you use a saucepan that is too small (~20cm/8″) then the rice-cabbage mixture will be too deep which will cause the rice to cook unevenly. Sauté the garlic and onion in the butter until it smells amazing / onion is translucent. Then cook the cabbage for a few minutes until it starts to soften (rather than being stiff and pokey). Don’t let it get completely wilted and soft because it will cook more with the rice.
  2. Add rice and stir to coat in the garlic butter.
  1. Add stock then scrape down the sides and push the cabbage-rice under the surface of the liquid, as best you can. The main thing is that you want all the rice under the liquid. A few grains poking above the surface will be fine, they will steam-cook.
  2. Cook 12 minutes – Bring the liquid to a simmer, then put the lid on and lower the heat to medium low, or low if your burner is very strong. Leave to cook undisturbed for 12 minutes. Do not lift the lid to peek and most definitely do not stir! That will disrupt the rice cooking and you’ll end up with unevenly cooked rice that’s mushy and gluey.Check – At the 12 minute mark, working quickly, remove the lid and tilt the saucepan to ensure all the liquid has been absorbed. If it has not, leave it on the stove for another minute or two.
  3. Rest 10 minutes – Remove the saucepan from the stove with the lid still on and rest for 10 minutes. Never skip the rice resting step! The rice will finish cooking and the liquid on the surface of each rice grain gets absorbed = fluffy rice.
  4. Fluff then serve, garnished with a sprinkle of green onion!

What to serve with purple rice

This cabbage rice has a fairly neutral taste with lovely butter and garlic flavors. This means it goes well with almost any and all cuisines, both Western and Asian.

The possibilities are endless, but here’s a starting point. Here are a few quick meals to serve with purple rice.

Purple rice (red cabbage rice)

Purple rice (red cabbage rice)

Purple Rice is garlic buttered rice that gets its vibrant color from the red cabbage! You'll love this 2-in-1 meal that doesn't just have salad and starches, but also combines starches and lots of veggies in one meal. It goes well with everything: Western, Asian, Mediterranean, Indian, Mexican!
prep time
10 Mins
cooking time
15 Mins
total time
25 Minw



  • 30g / 2 tbsp unsalted butter

  • 2 garlic cloves , finely minced

  • 1/2 onion , finely diced

  • 3 cups finely shredded red cabbage (tightly packed)

  • 1/2 tsp cooking salt (kosher salt)

  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

  • 1 cup jasmin rice , no need to rinse or soak (Note 1 for other rice)

  • 1 1/4 cup vegetable stock , low sodium (or chicken stock or water + 1 stock cube- Note 2)


  • 1/4 cup green onion , finely chopped


Melt the butter in a large or small saucepan over medium heat. (Note 3)
Stir-fry vegetables - Stir-fry for 1 minute until onions and garlic become soft. Add cabbage, salt and pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cabbage is tender but not completely tender (as it takes longer to cook with rice).
Breaded Rice – Add rice and mix well to flavor.
Add vegetable broth. Scrape the edges and press into the cabbage-rice mixture to cover all of the rice.
Cook 12 minutes - Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to medium-low (or low on a stronger burner), and simmer for 12 minutes. Don't peep or move!
Rest 10 Minutes - Turn off heat, remove pan from stove, and leave uncovered for another 10 minutes.
Stir and serve. Use a rubber spatula or spatula to rise the rice, then transfer to a serving platter. Sprinkle with green onions and serve!


Rice types – Recipe will also work with long grain, basmati and medium grain rice BUT you need to increase the stock by 1/4 cup (60ml), because jasmine rice needs slightly less liquid to cook through. (See plain jasmine rice recipe for more info.) Rinsing – Not required to prevent rice from being mushy because this recipe uses the right water-to-rice-ratio for jasmine rice (which is 1 cup rice to 1 1/4 cups water). Most recipes get it wrong = mushy rice. Also no need to rinse to clean the rice if it was purchased in a packet at the supermarket as it will be clean. If you do need to wash the rice to clean it then shake excess water off very well and reduce stock by 2 tablespoons (to account for waterlogged rice). Liquid – stock will make this rice tastier. If using using water, add 1 chicken or vegetable stock cube (dissolved) or 1 tsp stock powder. Cooking vessel size matters! Use a large saucepan, mine is 28cm/11″ wide, use one around this size. Don’t make this in a small one (~20cm/8″ wide) because the rice-cabbage mixture will be too deep for the rice cook evenly. Leftover rice will keep for 2 days. Freezing will work but the cabbage will go a tad watery though if you toss through well this shouldn’t be a problem. Nutrition per serving, assuming 5 servings.
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