Bagara rice is a traditional rice dish made with rice, whole spices, mint and coriander leaves. It is one of the well known dishes from the Telangana region of Southern India. Bagara rice is mostly made for special meals and occasions like festivals or weddings. It is not only very flavorful & delicious but is also much simpler to make than a biryani.
Hyderabadi cuisine is immensely popular for its rich cultural foods like hyderabadi biryani, Haleem, Double ka meetha, Kababs, Salan, Dalcha & many more.
Hyderabadi bagara rice is known as Bagara khana or bagara annam in the local languages. It is mostly eaten with a good vegetarian or meat based curry.
This recipe will give you bagara rice that is so much flavorful & unique in its own that you can just eat it without any side. Here are my tips.
Spices: Traditionally made dish uses only whole spices like shahi jeera, cardamoms, cloves, bay leaf and cinnamon. Generally no ground masala is used. However I do use a tiny amount of the ground spices which totally makes a difference here.
Ginger and garlic in equal quantities is ground and used. Homemade paste makes a difference again. Avoid store bought paste as the flavors do not really come out well.
Mint leaves and coriander leaves are very essential for the flavor. In my home, no bagara rice without them as the rice doesn’t taste good.
Green chilli is used for heat and flavor. Without this the rice may taste bland. If you do not prefer hot foods, then use chilies that are low on heat. I also partially deseeded the chilies and used. If you have kids home, skip them completely.
Basmati rice: I use aged basmati. You can use any other kind you have. But adjust the amount of water depending on the rice. Use the same amount of water as you would use to cook your rice regularly.
Traditionally bagara rice is made in a pot but can easily be made in a pressure cooker or Instant pot. I have the instructions for all of these methods below.
Bagara rice recipe
Ingredients (1 cup = 240ml )
- 1 cup basmati rice (or any aged rice, refer notes)
- 2 tablespoons ghee (use upto 3)
- 1 small bay leaf
- 1 inch cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon shahi jeera or caraway seeds
- 3 cloves
- 3 green cardamoms
- 1 black cardamom
- 1 small onion sliced thinly
- 1 to 2 green chilies slit (skip for kids)
- 1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
- 3 tablespoons mint leaves chopped (pudina)
- 3 tablespoons coriander leaves chopped
- ½ teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
- 1¾ cups water for pressure cooker (1¼ cup for Instant pot, 2 cups for regular pot)
To powder (refer notes)
- ½ inch cinnamon
- 2 cloves
- 3 green cardamoms (use only the seeds)
How to make the recipe
- Add rice to a bowl and rinse well atleast thrice. Pour 3 to 4 cups water and soak for atleast 30 mins.
- Meanwhile slice the onion and green chilies. Make a fine paste of ginger and garlic. Fine chop mint and coriander leaves.
- Crush ½ inch cinnamon, 2 cloves and 3 green cardamoms to a fine powder. I did it in a mortar pestle.
- After 30 mins drain water from the rice completely.
How to make bagara rice
- Heat a pot or pressure cooker with ghee. Add shahi jeera, cloves, green cardamoms, black cardamom, bay leaf and cinnamon.
- When they begin to sizzle add the onions and green chilies. Saute until they turn slightly golden.
- Stir in the ginger garlic paste and fry until a nice aroma comes out.
- Add drained rice, mint leaves and coriander leaves. Fry on a moderate high heat for 2 mins.
- Next add salt and ground spice powder. Pour water and give a good stir at the bottom.
- Taste the water and add more salt if needed.
- If cooking in Pot: Cover and simmer on a low flame until all the water is absorbed and the rice is fully cooked. If the rice is underdone and there is not enough moisture, you may add few more tbsps of hot water. Give a good stir and cook.
- If cooking in pressure cooker: Cover and cook on a medium high flame for 1 whistle. When the pressure releases naturally, open the lid and fluff up the bagar rice with a fork.
Instant pot bagara rice
- Press the SAUTE button on the Instant pot and pour ghee to the inner pot. Add all the whole spices – shahi jeera, cloves, green cardamoms, black cardamom, cinnamon & bay leaf.
- When they begin to sizzle, add onions and green chilies. Saute until golden.
- Stir in the ginger garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Then add the drained rice, mint and coriander leaves.
- Press CANCEL button and saute the rice for 1 minute. Then add salt, ground spice powder and water.
- Deglaze by scrubbing the bottom of the pot with a spatula. Taste and add more salt if needed.
- Secure the Instant pot with the lid and position the steam release handle to sealing.
- Press PRESSURE COOK button (or manual button) and set the timer to 5 mins.
- The instant pot will beep when it is done. Wait for the pressure to release naturally for 5 mins. Release the rest of the pressure manually by moving the steam vent from sealing to venting.
- Gently give a good stir and fluff up bagara rice with a fork. Serve it with any curry or raita.
NUTRITION (estimation only)
If you are a beginner or new to Indian cooking, I highly suggest you to check the supporting step by step photos for best results. Step by step photos with description available below after the recipe card.
1.Rinse rice thrice in lots of water and soak them. While the rice soaks, slice a small onion, 1 green chilli and make a paste of ginger and garlic.
2.Pluck a handful of mint leaves and an handful of coriander leaves. You may use the stalks of coriander but not mint. Add them to a bowl of water. Rinse them well a few times. Drain the water and later chop them.
3. Deseed 3 green cardamoms and make a fine powder of them along with 1 clove and half inch cinnamon.
How to make bagara rice
4.Pour ghee to a hot pot or cooker or instant pot. When the ghee turns hot, add all the whole spices – bay leaf, cinnamon, shahi jeera, cloves, green cardamom and black cardamom.
5. When they begin to sizzle, add the onions and green chilli. Fry them in ghee until golden.
6. Then add ginger garlic and saute for 30 to 60 seconds.
7. Add the rice, mint leaves and coriander. If using Instant pot, press the cancel button and proceed.
8.Saute the rice for 1 to 2 mins. Add salt and the ground spice powder.
9.Pour water and mix. Taste the water and add more if needed. If using instant pot, deglaze by scrubbing the bottom of the pot with a wooden spatula.
10. Cover the pot/cooker or the IP. If cooking in a normal pot, cover the pot and cook on a low heat until the rice is cooked fully. Towards the end if the rice is still under cooked, sprinkle few tbsps of hot water and give a good stir. Cover and cook until done.
If cooking in a pressure cooker, cook on a medium high heat for 1 whistle. When the pressure releases, open the lid and fluff up the bagara rice with a fork.
If using Instant pot, press the pressure cook button and set the timer to 5 mins. Position the steam release handle to sealing. When the IP is done cooking, it will beep. Wait for the pressure to release naturally for 5 minutes. Then release the rest manually by moving the vent from sealing to venting.
Give a gentle stir and fluff with a fork. If you find the rice not soft enough for your liking. Cover it immediately and rest for 10 mins.
Serve bagara rice with any curry or raita.