I've tried this recipe several times and I think I've figured out how it works best with the ingredients I usually have on hand.
Since we usually use whole cumin (i.e. the seeds), I usually toss those in the hot oil first with the garlic so that the oil has some flavour when the rice goes in. I also found that adding the onions and bell peppers after I've toasted the rice in the oil helps add more flavour. I usually put in black pepper and some paprika instead of jalapenos (not a common pepper in my traditional cuisine). I add the tomatoes in at the very end when I have added in the water to the rice and brought it to a boil.
If I find that after 20-25 minutes the water isn't completely gone, I usually turn the heat up a little higher (if there is a little bit left) OR take the lid off and use a chopstick to make little holes in the rice to let the steam escape (a trick learnt from my mother).
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I've tried this recipe several times and I think I've figured out how it works best with the...