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South African Yellow Rice

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South African Yellow Rice with Raisins

South African yellow rice with raisins, also known as Geelrys, is a flavorful and spiced rice recipe that is simple. Fragrant and aromatic with turmeric (affiliate link) and cinnamon and dotted with plump sweet raisins, this easy side dish is perfect for families.

ceramic bowl filled with south african yellow rice. Serving spoon and two crossed cinnamon sticks are on the top of the rice. Bowl is sitting on wooden cutting board

This yellow rice with raisins is a great side dish that pairs well with any meal and helps take plain white rice into amazing.Traditionally Geelrys is served with Babotie, but its so good you should serve it with basically everything. 

This recipe comes from South Africa, and gets its flavors and spices from ties to the people who traveled from the Dutch West Indies. Its aromatic flavors come from turmeric (affiliate link) and cinnamon, it gets a note of sweetness from the sugar and plump raisins, and a little richness from the butter. 

Side dishes like this are my favorite – complex and lovely flavors, but all the work of just throwing things in the pan and letting them do their thing. 

Other family friendly African recipes:

side view of grey ceramic bowl with yellow rice. A serving spoon and cinnamon stick is on the rice.

How to make Yellow Rice with Raisins

You can make Geelrys with any kind of rice, but I prefer Basmati rice. 

For the full recipe, make sure you scroll down to the recipe card below, but here is a general idea of how to make this dish:

  1. Measure all the ingredients.
  2. Put the ingredients together in the pot of a rice cooker.
  3. Place the lid on the rice cooker and push “Cook”.

Told you it was easy!

You can also prepare this recipe on the stovetop or in an Instant Pot. For an Instant Pot, cook on high pressure for 4 minutes, and then allow to naturally release pressure for 10 minutes.

collage showing images on how to make yellow rice

Prepping ahead of time

This recipe is so simple to make, there isn’t much you can do to prepare ahead of time.

However, this recipe reheats really well, so you can make the recipe ahead of time.

Geelrys can be stored in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. It reheats in the microwave well. 

How to serve this to your family

This rice is simple to serve to your family. It pairs with any meat dish well. 

I like to serve this family style on the table, because I think the cinnamon stick in the dish is fun, but you can remove the stick and serve each individually.

overhead view of wooden board with ceramic serving dish filled with geelrys rice

How to make yellow rice kid friendly 

This rice is great to serve to kids! The familiarity of the rice is paired with an unexpected bright yellow color, but its tempered by kids recognizing both the cinnamon and the raisins in the rice.

Combining curiosity and responsibility is a great way to get kids interested in trying new foods. 

Dinner conversations with kids

I LOVE using the dinner table as a great place to open conversations about what we are eating. There is no better time to discuss textures, flavors, smells, and more! Treat it like a fun science experiment, and try these conversation starters:

  • Before you take a bite, lets look at and smell the rice. What do you think the rice will taste like
  • What can you smell?
  • What flavors can you detect?

Read more about how to explore the sense of taste with your kids.

small grey plate with geelrys and fork, with serving bowl in background

Kids in the kitchen: How your kids can help you cook

Getting your kids in the kitchen is an amazing way to help them be more interested in trying new foods and confident in their own abilities. This side dish recipe is great because it helps them be more confident in their measuring and serving skills. 

This recipe is perfect for beginner cooks because it is so easy! And it is a great recipe for kids to experiment and become more comfortable with new flavors – which means they are more likely to eat it!

  • Kids aged 1-3 can help you measure the ingredients and help you put all the ingredients into the pot.
  • Kids aged 4-6 can do everything above.
  • Kids aged 7-10+ can help you do everything above, plus help you serve the rice.

*Please note that these recommendations are generalized, and to please use your personal discretion with your child’s skill level. And always, always supervise! Read more about how to have your children help you in the kitchen.

grey ceramic serving bowl with geelrys rice and cinnamon sticks

Other rice recipes you will enjoy:

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There’s nothing I love more than seeing you make my recipes! If you make this Geelrys, don’t forget to leave a comment below and rate the recipe!

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overhead view of plate with african yellow rice, a fork is sitting on the side of the plate
Yield: 4 Servings

South African Yellow Rice with Raisins Recipe

grey ceramic serving bowl with geelrys rice and cinnamon sticks

South African yellow rice with raisins, also known as Geelrys, is a flavorful and spiced rice recipe that is simple. Fragrant and aromatic with turmeric and cinnamon and dotted with plump sweet raisins, this easy side dish is perfect for families.

Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 22 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1 cup basmati rice (or any white rice)
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Measure all the ingredients.
  2. Place the ingredients in the pot of a rice cooker.
  3. Place the lid on the rice cooker and push "Cook".
  4. Wait for the rice cooker to finish. Fluff the rice with a fork and serve.

Instant Pot Instructions:

Place all the ingredients in the pot of an Instant Pot. Make sure the valve is set to "sealing". Pressure cook on "HIGH" and then allow to naturally release pressure for 10 minutes. Quick release any remaining pressure.

You can also cook this recipe on the stovetop like you would plain rice - just add all the other ingredients in the pot, too!

Notes

This recipe reheats well. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 119Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 271mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 1gSugar: 8gProtein: 1g

Nutrition information is an estimate and is provided for informational purposes only. For the most accurate information, please calculate using your specific brands and exact measurements.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram, and don't forget to tag #gingeredwhisk.

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