Cooking perfect rice for Biryani is rather tricky , but if you follow the correct method you will never go wrong .You will get each grain separate and the Biryani will turn out perfect.
Biryani is a dish which is mainly made with rice , vegetables or some kind of meat . We could call this as layered rice too . Biryanis originated in Persia and were brought to India by the Mughals. There are umpteen ways to make Biryanis , but to make a good biryani one must cook the rice perfectly . The quality of the rice has to be good , normally we use the long grained Basmati rice to make Biryanis , though some biryani s are also made with medium or short grain . However I shall talk of the long grain Basmati rice .
While cooking any rice we need to follow the basic methods of washing and soaking the rice . Henceforth we can cook the rice either by the Absorption Method , pressure cooker method , microwave method , rice cooker method or the open pan method .
While cooking a Biryani we need firm rice , which can be further cooked . If the rice is completely cooked the biryani would turn soft and mushy . One has to be very careful while cooking rice for biryani , so let’s see what are the important points that one needs to follow .
Choosing the rice
A good quality Basmati rice should be used for a biryani . The grains are long and have a nutty flavour which is further enhanced by the spices we use .
One can also use Golden Sella Basmati rice which are slightly thicker compared to the regular Indian Basmati brands, but have a nice long grain .
How much water to use
To cook Basmati rice in a open pan , with rapid method one should normally use at least three measures of water and one measure of rice . You could add more water but not less . Always make sure to use a big size pot , so that the rice cooks well without overflowing .
Whole spices play a very important part while cooking the rice for biryani . You could add them as soon as the water starts boiling . There are people who do not like these spices while eating the Biryani – they kind of disturb ! So just tie these spices into a nice muslin cloth and drop it into the water . Once the rice is cooked , just remove the muslin bag . The rice will be flavoured .
Adding ghee / Oil
Though adding ghee or oil is not mandatory but I would highly recommend . Ghee adds a wonderful flavour and aroma to the rice . These also help in keeping the grains separate and giving them a sheen .
Seasoning the rice
While the rice is boiling it is important to season it too . Add salt a little generously as it will be drained with the water .
One can add a pinch of turmeric to give a pale yellow color to the rice .
You could add a few drops of lemon juice for a sparkle .
Saffron is one of the most important and exotic ingredients for a Biryani . This should be used later while layering .
Cooking the rice to perfection
Add the rice to water only after the water has come to a rolling boil .
Do not stir or mix the rice .
Cook rice on full flame and do not move away from the pot .
Keep an eye , we do not want over cooked rice .
Check after 7-8 minutes .
Draining the rice
Keep your sieve or colander ready .
As soon as the rice is 80% cooked , immediately drain the water .
Mind you some recipes use this water , so make sure you reserve it .
Adding cold water
As soon as you drain the rice add cold water , it stops further cooking .
Drying the rice
Let the rice be in a sieve over a pot .
Make sure you do not cover the rice .
You could also spread the rice in a big tray .
Use the rice to layer the Biryani .
Once the layering is done , you need to further cook 20% . So the rice needs to be covered and placed on a griddle and on a very slow flame , so that the heat is distributed evenly .
Else the layering can be done in an oven proof dish and biryani can be baked , make sure to cover the biryani with a foil if using an oven.
This method of cooking rice is only when the rice has to be cooked further .
For today I have cooked a Kabuli Chana Kofta Biryani with Perfectly cooked Basmati Rice. I shall be sharing the Biryani recipe soon.
How to cook Perfect Basmati Rice for Biryani
2 cups rice
6 cups water
1 bay leaf
3-4 green cardamoms
1-2 black cardamom
1 stick cinnamon
1 tbsp ghee / oil
Salt to taste
Wash the rice till the water is crystal clear .
Soak it for 30 minutes .
Place 6 cups of water to boil in a big pot .
Add the whole spices , ghee/ oil and salt .
After the water comes to a rolling boil , add rice .
Let the rice boil on full flame till 80% cooked .
Remove from fire and using a sieve drain all the water .
Pour cold water over rice , this shall stop the future cooking of rice .
Let the rice stand in the sieve , so that all the extra water is drained out .
Do not cover the rice , let it dry for a few minutes .
The rice is ready to be used for any biryani which needs further cooking .
Here are some Biryani’s that have been cooked with this method-
Here is what I have posted for The Biryani, Pulao Khichadi Festival –