Biryani rice is a popular Indian rice dish made with basmati rice & biryani essentials like spices, herbs, yogurt and onions. It is nothing but a one pot vegetarian plain biryani rice made without any meat or veggies. Also known as Kuska rice or plain biryani in South India, this is a very flavorful and spicy dish that can be made in a jiffy. Biryani is one of the most loved dishes in India and there are so many kinds of biryanis made.
While a lot of people say a dish without meat is not a biryani and a lot more say a dish which is not dum cooked is not a biryani. However the truth is that there is no one way it is made. But yes an authentic biryani is said to have meat and is always dum cooked.
So this biryani rice is a fake version of the authentic biryani as it has no meat and is not dum cooked. Down in the Southern parts of India this is one dish that is immensely popular in budget & medium scale restaurants. It is also called as kuska or plain biryani.
It is simply flavor packed and can be eaten without any sides. But in restaurants it is usually served with a gravy known as salna. A lot of people also eat this with kurma or even with raita.
Vegetarians eat with a vegetarian side and meat lovers serve it with chicken salna or chicken kurma or any meat based gravy.
To make biryani rice, all the biryani essentials like premium quality rice, whole spices, mint leaves, coriander leaves, onions and yogurt are used. Tomato is one unusual ingredient that is used here mostly because the dish tastes bland without it.
Since there is no much chopping or blending work involved this recipe is super quick to make. You can make this biryani rice in a regular pot, stovetop pressure cooker or in an instant pot.
How to make biryani rice
1. Wash and soak rice for about 20 to 30 mins. Meanwhile prepare the onions and tomatoes. After 30 mins drain the rice completely to a colander. Set this aside.
2. Heat oil in a pot or pressure cooker. Add bay leaf, star anise, cardamoms, cloves, cinnamon, shahi jeera and mace. Saute until the shahi jeera splutters.
3. Add sliced 3/4 cup onions and fry until golden.
4. Add 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste and fry until it smells good.
5. Make sure the raw smell of garlic goes away.
6. Add tomatoes and yogurt. Stir to prevent burning.
7. Add 1/2 to 3/4 tsp red chili powder, little turmeric, handful of mint, coriander, salt and 1 tsp biryani masala powder (optional). For the kuska rice, most ppl do not use biryani masala powder.
8. Cook until the tomatoes turn mushy and oil begins to separate.
9. Add 3 1/2 cups water. Bring it to a boil.
10. Add drained rice. Mix well.
11. Cook on a medium flame until very little water is left. Refer the picture. Lower the flame completely. Cover the pot or pressure cooker with a lid and cook for exactly 5 to 6 mins. I used a pressure cooker.
12. When the rice is done, open the lid and fluff up.
Serve with raita or with any of the biryani gravy. This rice goes very well with any veg or non veg gravy. Some serving suggestions for vegetarians are
soya chunks kurma
mirch ka salan
Non-vegetarians can serve this with
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- 2 cups rice (preferably basmati)
- 3.5 cups water or stock (chicken or veg stock)
- 2 to 2 ½ tbsp Oil
- ½ cup onion thinly sliced (or about 1 lmedium)
- 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
- ½ cup tomato chopped ( or about 1 large, deseeded)
- Salt as needed
- Handful mint (or pudina & coriander)
- ¼ cup curd or fresh yogurt (do not use sour one)
Spices for kuska
- 1 bay leaf (or tej patta)
- 4 to 6 cloves (or laung)
- 4 to 6 green cardamoms (or elaichi)
- 1 star anise (or chakri phool)
- ½ tsp shahi jeera (or jeera)
- 1 strand mace (or javitri)
- 1 cinnamon (or dalchini) two inch
- ¼ tsp Turmeric (or haldi)
- ½ to ¾ tsp red chili powder (or lal mirch powder)
- 1 to 1 ½ tsp biryani masala powder (any readymade will do) (optional)
How to make kuska rice biryani
- Rinse and soak rice for at least 20 minutes. Drain water completely. Set aside.
- Heat a pressure cooker or a heavy bottom pan with oil. Add spices and fry till they turn fragrant.
- Next add onions and fry till onions turn golden.
- Add ginger garlic paste and fry till it gets fragrant. Do not burn
- Transfer tomatoes,curd, red chili powder, pudina, coriander, salt and turmeric. If using biryani masala powder add it now.
- Fry till tomatoes turn mushy, soft and pulpy. The mixture begins to leave the oil as well.
- Pour water or stock and bring water to a boil. adjust the salt (you could vary the amount of water based on your rice)
- Add rice and cook till very little water is left. refer the pic
- Cover the pressure cooker with the lid, cook on a low flame for 3 to 5 mins. Do not let the cooker whistle.
- if cooking in a pan or casserole, just cover tightly and cook till the rice is fully done. it could take around 5 mins. If using normal rice, allow to whistle once.
- Let the pressure go off, then fluff up the biryani kuska rice.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
© Swasthi’s Recipes