Biryani rice Recipe with step by step photos. Biryani rice is a light, aromatic rice dish and goes well with any rich vegetarian curry or dal. Gluten-free and vegan recipe.
I remember biryani chawal often being ordered by my parents when we would go out for dinners or parcel the food for home. It was one rice dish that was always ordered. My parents would have the rice with some chicken curry and I would have the rice with palak paneer or dal makhani. Strange but a fact. This was always my favorite combination squeezed with some lemon juice on top.
So much so, that my dad would get palak paneer or dal makhani and biryani chawal especially for me, when he would get food from out. After having biryani chawal in various places, I have come to a really good version of making this rice dish at home.
There are many variations of this recipe. in the south they make a similar dish which goes by the name Kuska rice. the vegetarian version is made with coconut milk or yogurt.
Biryani rice is basically spiced rice. the rice is cooked with spices. So what is the difference between Jeera rice and biryani rice. In jeera rice, the rice has flavors of cumin along with other spices. Whereas in biryani rice, the rice is just cooked with spices & herbs.
To add some texture and flavor to the rice, I have also garnished with fried onions and cashews. And yes these two do add a lot to this recipe of biryani rice.
For some color and aroma, I have used saffron. However if you are comfortable with artificial coloring, then you can use yellow or orange color. But my suggestion would be to go for natural based coloring ingredients.
This biryani rice, is best served with any rich curry like paneer butter masala, shahi paneer, malai kofta, baingan masala, bagara baingan. Also goes well with dal tadka or dal fry.
Along with biryani chawal serve some boondi raita or onion-tomato raita or a kuchumber and you have a meal fit for a king. Remember to have some nice Indian dessert towards the end of the meal like kulfi or falooda or gulab jamun.
How to make biryani rice
1. rinse 1 cup basmati rice for a couple of times in water, till the water runs clear of starch. soak the basmati rice in water for 30 minutes. Later drain and keep aside.
2. Heat 2 tbsp oil or ghee in a pressure cooker or a thick bottomed pan. Add ½ tsp caraway seeds along with the whole spices – 1 tej patta (Indian bay leaf), 3 to 4 cloves, 4 to 5 black pepper, 1 small star anise, 1 inch cinnamon, 3 to 4 green cardamoms and 2 to 3 single strands of mace. Saute them till fragrant.
3. Now add the 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste, 1 tbsp chopped coriander and 1 tbsp chopped mint leaves.
4. Stir and saute till the raw aroma of ginger-garlic disappears.
5. Add the soaked rice grains and 18 to 20 saffron strands.
6. Stir gently and saute for a minute.
7. add 1.5 to 1.75 cups of water. Depending on the quality of rice, you can add less or more water.
8. stir well.
9. Season with salt.
10. Squeeze 5 to 6 drops of lemon juice. Stir.
11. Cover the pressure cooker tightly with its lid and pressure cook on medium to high flame for 1 to 2 whistles or for 6 to 7 minutes. Depending on the size of the cooker, the time will vary. So for a 2 litre cooker, it takes about 8 to 10 minutes and for a 3 litre cooker, it takes about 6 to 7 minutes.
For cooking in a pan – if cooking in a pan, then cover the pan tightly with a lid. Let the rice cook till its just done. the rice grains should be cooked well and yet remain separate. They should not become soft or mushy. While cooking in a pan, check in between But don’t stir as this will break the rice grains. if you feel the water is less, then just add the required amount of hot water.
12. When the pressure settles down on its own, open the lid and gently fluff the rice.
Making garnish for biryani rice
13. Meanwhile while the rice is pressure cooking, prepare the garnish and its totally optional. Heat ½ tbsp oil in a small frying pan and add ⅓ cup thinly sliced onions.
14. Stir well and saute on a low to medium flame stirring often. add a pinch of salt so that the onions brown quickly.
15. Saute till the onions turn golden.
16. Remove and drain them on kitchen paper tissues so that the extra oil is soaked.
17. In the same pan, add 10 to 12 cashews.
18. Saute the cashews till golden.
19. Remove the golden cashews and place them on kitchen paper tissues.
20. while being served, Garnish the biryani rice with the fried onions, cashews and chopped mint leaves or coriander leaves.
More tasty rice recipes for you!
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- 1 cup basmati rice - 200 grams
- 1.5 to 1.75 cups water
- 2 tablespoons oil or ghee (clarified butter)
- 1 tej patta (Indian bay leaf), medium-sized
- 3 to 4 cloves
- 4 to 5 black peppercorns
- 1 star anise (small-sized) - optional
- 1 inch cinnamon
- 3 to 4 green cardamoms
- 2 to 3 single strands of mace
- ½ teaspoon caraway seeds (shahjeera)
- 1 teaspoon Ginger-Garlic Paste or 3 to 4 garlic cloves + ½ inch ginger - crushed to a paste in mortar-pestle
- 1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves (cilantro)
- 1 tablespoon mint leaves
- 18 to 20 saffron strands
- 5 to 6 drops lemon juice
- salt as required
- ⅓ cup thinly sliced onions or 1 medium-sized onion
- 10 to 12 cashews
- ½ to 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 to 2 tablespoons mint leaves or coriander leaves
- Rinse the basmati rice for a couple of times in water.
- Soak the basmati rice in water for 30 minutes. Later drain and set aside.
Sautéing spices, herbs and rice
- Heat oil or ghee in a pressure cooker.
- Add the caraway seeds along with the whole spices and saute them till fragrant.
- Now add the ginger-garlic paste, chopped coriander and mint leaves.
- Saute till the raw aroma of ginger-garlic disappears.
- Then add the soaked rice and saffron strands. Stir gently.
- Now add water, 5 to 6 drops of lemon juice and salt. Mix well.
Cooking biryani rice
- Pressure cook for 1 to 2 whistles or for 6 to 7 minutes.
- If cooking in a pan, then cover the pan tightly with a lid. Let the cook rice till its just done.
- The rice grains should be cooked well and yet remain separate. They should not become soft or mushy. While cooking in a pan, check in between but don't stir as this will break the rice grains.
- If you feel the water is less, then just add the required amount of hot water.
- Cover and let the rice cook till done.
- Whilst the rice is cooking, heat oil in a small pan. Add the sliced onions and fry till they become golden.
- Add a pinch of salt so that the onions brown quickly.
- Remove and drain them on paper tissues so that the extra oil is soaked.
- In the same pan, roast the cashews till golden.
- While being served, garnish the biryani rice with the fried onions, cashews, mint leaves.
- You can serve biryani rice with with any rich vegetarian curry or dal.
Ingredient Notes & Swaps
- Rice: Biryani rice is always made with basmati rice. Aged basmati rice gives the best taste and texture. Use a good quality and a trustworthy brand of aged basmati rice. With parboiled basmati rice (sella basmati), this biryani rice tastes good. Soak parboiled basmati rice for an hour and add some more water as needed when cooking.
- Spices: To get the perfect aroma, flavor and taste, I would suggest to use all the whole spices. However, you can omit star anise and caraway seeds if you do not have these. You can include cumin seeds in place of caraway seeds.
- Vegan substitutes: Make the dish with a neutral oil instead of ghee.
- Nuts: Replace cashews with almonds, pistachios, pine nuts or use a combination of these nuts for a rich version.
- Saffron: If you do not have saffron strands, for the light yellow color, you can add a generous pinch of turmeric powder. But note that the delicate flavor, aroma of saffron will be missing from the dish. You could add about 1 to 2 teaspoons of rose water or kewra water (pandanus water) for a lovely fragrant aroma.
- Water proportion: The amount of water will vary in relation to the variety, type and age of rice. For 1 cup of basmati rice, 1.5 to 1.75 cups of water work perfectly when cooking in a pressure cooker and 2 cups for cooking in a pan.
- Soaking rice: It always helps to soak rice grains prior to cooking them. Soaking not only makes the rice grains cook fluffier but also reduces the cooking time. You can soak rice grains for 20 to 30 minutes. If short of time, then you may need to add some more water, about 2 to 2.25 cups to the un-soaked rice while cooking in the pressure cooker.
- Rinsing rice: For fluffy, separate, non-sticky rice grains, rinse the rice grains thoroughly until the water is clear of starch.
Instant Pot Biryani Rice
- To make biryani rice in your Instant pot, follow the sautéing instructions of the spices, herbs and rice in the steel insert of your IP using the sauté function.
- Add 1.5 cups of water and mix in the salt. Seal with the IP lid with the pressure valve positioned to the sealing position.
- Pressure cook on high pressure for 5 minutes. After hearing the beep sound when the pressure cooking is complete, wait for 10 minutes and then do a quick pressure release. When all the pressure is released, remove the lid and fluff the rice. Serve hot with the prepared garnishes.
Cooking in a pan (stove-top)
- For making biryani rice in a pan, sauté the spices, herbs and rice in a heavy thick bottomed pan or pot on low to medium-low heat.
- Add 2 cups water and mix salt. Cover and simmer on a low to medium-low heat until the rice grains are tender and fluffy.
- Keep a check when the rice grains are simmering. If needed, you can add some hot water if the water has dried up and the rice grains are undercooked.
- Once cooked, fluff the rice and serve hot or warm.