biryani rice also known as kuska

Biryani Rice Recipe (Kuska Rice)

By Swasthi on January 26, 2023, Comments, Jump to Recipe

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.

Biryani rice also known as kuska

While a lot of people say a dish without meat is not a biryani and a lot more say a dish that is not layered and 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 layered & dum cooked.

About Biryani Rice

Biryani Rice is a fake version of the authentic biryani as it has no meat, not layered and is not dum cooked. Down in the Southern parts of India this is one dish that is immensely popular in the budget & medium scale restaurants. It is also called as kuska or plain biryani.

India is a diverse nation and every dish is made in many regional ways. So you will find a biryani rice referred to as Kuska in some regions and the recipes vary widely.

This biryani rice 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 Onion 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.

More Rice recipes
Chicken biryani
Veg biryani
Egg biryani
Potato biryani
Paneer dum biryani

Biryani Rice also known as Kuska in South India

How to Make Biryani Rice (Stepwise Photos)


This recipe serves 4. If you want to make 2 servings cut down the ingredients to half. Or store the leftovers in the fridge for 2 days and reheat.

1. Wash and soak 2 cups basmati rice for about 20 to 30 mins. Meanwhile slice 1 medium onion to make half cup sliced onions and chop 1 to 2 medium tomatoes to make half cup chopped. I prefer to deseed the tomatoes before chopping. After 20 to 30 mins drain the rice completely to a colander. Set this aside.

Temper spices & make the base

2. Heat 2 to 2 ½ oil or ghee in a pot or pressure cooker. Add the following spices:

  • 1 bay leaf (tej patta)
  • 4 to 6 cloves
  • 4 to 6 green cardamoms
  • 1 star anise (chakri phool, biryani flower)
  • ½ teaspoon shahi jeera (or cumin seeds/ jeera)
  • 1 strand mace (javitri)
  • 1 cinnamon (dalchini) two inch piece
temper spices for biryani rice recipe

3. When the spices begin to sizzle, add sliced the sliced onions and fry until golden.

golden fried onions for biryani rice recipe

4. Add 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste and fry until it smells good.

ginger garlic paste for kuska rice

5. Make sure the raw smell of garlic goes away.

aromatic ginger garlic

6. Add chopped tomatoes and ¼ cup whisked curd (yogurt). Stir to prevent burning.

tomatoes for kuska rice

7. Stir in the following spices:

  • ½ to ¾ teaspoon red chili powder (adjust to taste)
  • ¼ teaspoon Turmeric
  • Handful of mint & coriander leaves chopped
  • ½ to ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tsp biryani masala powder (optional)

For the kuska rice, most ppl do not use biryani masala powder. But I highly recommend it.

spices to make biryani rice recipe

8. Cook until the tomatoes turn mushy and oil begins to separate from the mixture. It turns aromatic when it is done.

biryani rice masala

9. Pour 3½ cups water & stir well. Taste test for salt. The water has to be slightly salt. Adjust salt if required. Bring it to a rolling boil on a high heat.

addition of broth for kuska rice recipe

Cook Biryani Rice

10. Add drained rice. Give a gentle stir.

Add rice

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 use a pressure cooker. If your rice is undercooked with no moisture at the bottom, you may pour another ¼ to ½ cup hot boiling water and stir gently.

cooking kuska rice in pressure cooker

12. When the biryani rice is done, open the lid and fluff up.

plain biryani rice fluffed 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
bagara baingan
mirch ka salan
Non-vegetarians can serve this with
chicken curry
egg curry

biryani rice kuska

Related Recipes

Recipe Card

biryani rice kuska

Biryani Rice Recipe (Kuska Rice)

South Indian Biryani rice also known as kuska is a one pot super flavorful dish made with rice, spices, tomatoes, herbs and small amount of yogurt. Serve it with salan, biryani gravy or any other curry of your choice.
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For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card

Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time35 minutes

Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )

  • 2 cups rice (preferably basmati)
  • cups water or stock (chicken or veg stock, 2½ cups for Instant pot)
  • 2 to 2 ½ tablespoons Oil
  • ½ cup onion thinly sliced (or about 1 lmedium)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
  • ½ cup tomato chopped ( or about 1 large, deseeded)
  • ½ to ¾ teaspoon Salt (adjust to taste)
  • Handful mint leaves (pudina or coriander leaves)
  • ¼ cup curd (fresh yogurt, do not use sour one)
  • ¼ teaspoon Turmeric (haldi)
  • ½ to ¾ teaspoon red chili powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1 to 1½ teaspoon biryani masala powder (or garam masala)

Whole Spices for kuska

  • 1 bay leaf (Indian tej patta)
  • 4 to 6 cloves (laung)
  • 4 to 6 green cardamoms (elaichi)
  • 1 star anise (biryani flower, chakri phool)
  • ½ teasponn shahi jeera (or cumin seeds/ jeera)
  • 1 strand mace (javitri)
  • 1 cinnamon (dalchini) two inch piece


How to Make Biryani Rice (Kuska)

  • 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,biryani masala (or garam masala), pudina, coriander, salt and turmeric.
  • 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.

Instant Pot Biryani Rice

  • Pour oil to the steel insert of the Instant pot and press the saute button. Add all the whole spices, followed by onions.
  • Saute until the onions turn golden. Stir in the ginger garlic and saute for 30 to 50 seconds.
  • Add tomatoes, yogurt, red chilli powder, biryani masala, mint, coriander, salt and turmeric. Saute until the yogurt and tomatoes cook down to a mushy paste.
  • Drain the water from the rice and add it here. Pour 2½ cups water and deglaze the pot. Taste test and add more salt if required. Secure the Instant pot with the lid and position to the steam release value to sealing.
  • Pressure cook for 6 minutes on high pressure. Let the pressure drop manually for 8 minutes, after that release manually. Gently fluff up the rice with a fork and serve biryani rice with any curry or a simple raita.


  • The water to rice ratio depends on the kind of rice. Please adjust that depending on the kind of your 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)

Nutrition Facts
Biryani Rice Recipe (Kuska Rice)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 382 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Sodium 64mg3%
Potassium 241mg7%
Carbohydrates 80g27%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 9g18%
Vitamin A 235IU5%
Vitamin C 4.9mg6%
Calcium 73mg7%
Iron 2.1mg12%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Mention @SwasthisRecipes or tag #swasthisrecipes!

© Swasthi’s Recipes

Biryani Rice Recipe first published in November 2014. Updated & republished in July 2022.

Biryani Rice Recipe (Kuska Rice)

About Swasthi

I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills. More about me

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5 stars
I have made this a few times now and it is nothing short of amazing. It tastes incredible and highly recommend. All my friends and family rave about it! And now I am getting requests to do it again. Thank you, love love love it!!

5 stars
OMG my daughter is a very picky eater but she is expanding her tastes. She LOVED the rice!! This the kid that for years just ate pasta or rice with cheese. She just raved of the smell!! (I have no sense of smell). So this was a HUGE hit and she wants me to make extra for leftovers!!

5 stars
Hi, this recipe looks delicious. I am kind of stuck because I don’t see anywhere where it says the measurements of coriander and pudina. How much of them should I use?

5 stars
Hiya Swasthi – I tried making this with brown basmati rice – it was pretty tasty, but the texture was a bit heavy – what adjustments would you recommend for using brown rice?

5 stars
We absolutely loved this rice! It was easy to make and a pure delight. I had to get a bit creative with some if the ingredients, greek yogourt and 3 whole chili peppers works just fine apparently lol. Thank you!

5 stars
This biryani rice turned out awesome! I made this in the stovetop cooker. I am new to instant pot so didn’t know how to make it exactly. Please add some instructions for IP.

5 stars
This was the most delicious thing I have ever tasted – a really really good recipe… those are soooo hard to come by. Once in a lifetime recipe.

5 stars
I tried it and came out delicious. I once ate this in a restaurant in Chennai. This one tasted almost same but with less oil.

5 stars
This rice was absolutely delicious.
Thank you.

Thank you for your recipe I am going to try it today.

5 stars
Tried this recipe and it turned out well. I chose to add some ready biryani masala so it was a little spicy but still good. Thanks for the recipe.

5 stars
Hi Swasthi, thanks a lot for that very successful recipe, it is just perfect and precise one. I love it.

5 stars
This is one of the best recipe. It’s a no fail recipe. I even tried it with Quinoa. It taste delicious and hide the bitterness of the quinoa. Thank you Mam for the recipe

5 stars
Thank you for these amazing recipes. We love Indian food and have tried different recipe sites. Your recipes are spot on and better than our favorite restaurant. Thank you for sharing your talent with the world of food lovers!!

5 stars
Thnku so much…I follow all ur recipes,☺️☺️

5 stars

Thanks you so much Swathi for posting these recipes with methods and photos, nice work and I only trust your recipes when I cook, even simple receipe like upma I cook as per your recipes. I simply love this site, thank you so much and you are recipes are always a hit!

Easy n quick to make.
Very good receipe for beginners.
Today’s lunch in my house.
My son commented super?

5 stars
Very Nice Recipe mam,I am now cooking biryani rice with your help.

Yes I also think that.

5 stars
Simply super recipe

5 stars
Very Gud and easy to do recipes. Thanks