Thoroughly rinse the basmati rice to remove starch and to ensure the grains separate when cooked.
Bring the 2 cups of water to a boil and add in the rinsed rice and salt.
Then cover the pot, reduce the heat to low and cook for 15 to 20 minutes until the rice is tender and all the water has been absorbed. Fluff with a fork.
In a separate pan, add the ghee (or olive oil) along with the whole cumin seeds and bay leaves. Cook for about a minute on medium-high heat, until the cumin seeds are crackling. This process of cooking spices in ghee is called "tadka" in Hindi, or tempering.
Turn off the heat and pour the hot mixture over the prepared rice. Sprinkle freshly chopped parsley on top (optional). Serve hot. Remember to remove the bay leaves before serving.