Biryani rice is a popular Indian side dish, especially in Southern India, known as plain biryani or Khushka rice.
There are many kinds and ways to cook biryani rice. But in this recipe, I chose this healthy biryani rice recipe that is vegan, simple, and plain with NO meat or veggies, made from a good quality basmati rice and aromatic herbs and spices. It is the perfect side dish to serve with any curry dishes, chicken butter masala, chicken tikka masala, etc.
What is Basmati Rice? Is it Healthy?
Basmati Rice is long-grain rice, available in both white and brown rice. It is common in South Asian and Indian Cuisines.
- White basmati rice, in general, is higher in carbs than brown basmati rice.
- Basmati rice is enriched with iron and B vitamins (folic acid, thiamine, and niacin) (1)
- White basmati rice is lower in arsenic (a heavy metal that damages health) (2).
- Brown basmati rice is a whole grain that is good for the health (3).
Biryani Rice Ingredients:
- Basmati rice: premium quality is required to get a fluffy and non-sticky biryani.
- Herbs and spices: Bay leaves, Cinnamon stick, Cloves, and Cardamom pods; gives a pleasant aroma to the rice.
- Oil: I used extra virgin olive oil, but you can use any neutral oil you prefer.
- Salt to taste
- Saffron: gives a nice color and flavor, and this is the secret ingredient that will level up your biryani.
- Warm Milk or Water; for soaking the saffron.
- Water: the ratio of rice to water is 1:1.5
How to Cook Biryani Rice?
- Soak and rinse: Start with soaking the rice for 10-15 minutes, then rinse a couple of times until the water is clear; this helps to remove the excess starch and avoid sticky, gluey rice, and that allows an even cooking of the rice grains (on the inside & outside) resulting into fluffy rice. (Sometimes, I don’t have the time for soaking, so I just make sure to rinse it well). Then drain well.
- Bring water to a boil: Add the herbs, salt, and oil to boil, then add the rinsed rice.
- Cover: Once the water boils, reduce the heat to low, then cover it with aluminum foil and a lid. That will help to cook the rice in the steam evenly.
- Soak the saffron: Warm the milk or water in the microwave for about 20 seconds, add the saffron, and leave it to simmer for 15-20 minutes. (For better results, soak the saffron before cooking the rice).
- Finish it up: Turn off the heat, pour the soaked saffron on the cooked rice, cover it, and leave it for 10 minutes. Fluff it up with a fork and garnish with fried onions, chopped cilantro, or raisins.
- it is important to wash the rice before cooking to remove excess starch and avoid sticky rice.
- If you prefer, you might add any vegetables to the biryani.
- Soak the saffron in warm milk or water before cooking the rice to get a better result.
- It is important to cover the pot with an aluminum foil; to keep the steam inside.
What to serve with Biryani rice?
This plain biryani rice can be served with any curry dishes, chicken butter masala, chicken tikka masala, etc., and a side of raita or korma. Garnish with fried onions, chopped cilantro, or raisins.
Store the leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Before reheating in the microwave or a saucepan, add one tablespoon of water; it will add some steam making the rice fresh and not dry.