What I ended up doing, which worked well:
- Toast rice before cooking until just a hint of golden brown appears, and a nutty smell is produced (as per allnet's and avinash's suggestions, which is why allnet's answer was accepted)
- Add minced garlic and diced Roma tomato to rice just before toasting is done (for 2 cups dry rice, I used 3 cloves garlic, 1 medium Roma)
- Add caramelized onions both before and after cooking rice. This is similar to the "fried onions" suggestion.
- Add an additional diced tomato after rice is cooked
- Finish flavor of cooked rice with rice wine vinegar, honey, and a touch of lime juice
My girlfriend called the final result the best of my cooking experiments, after chicken breaded with pakora batter. Thank you everyone that had suggestions!
I think toasting the rice made the biggest difference from previous versions. The rice released a very delicious flavor and smell. I could have used even more onion and garlic; although I thought the amount excessive based on the smell when cooking, the actual flavor was fairly mild afterward.
I will experiment with adding toasted cumin, mustard seeds, and ginger to my current result. Don't have good (read: homemade not crappy grocery store) stock or scallions to play with right now.