Heat the lard in a saucepan.
Add the garlic and onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are translucent, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the cumin and bay leaves and cook until the cumin is fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Add the rice, stirring to coat with the lard.
Add the water and salt; bring to a simmer.
Cover and cook over low heat for 18 minutes.
Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.
Fluff the rice with a fork, discard the bay leaves and serve.