How to cook Perfect Rice for Biryani

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
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

Ingredients

2 cups rice
6 cups water
1 bay leaf
3-4 green cardamoms
1-2 black cardamom
3-4 cloves
1 stick cinnamon
Few peppercorns
1 tbsp ghee / oil
Salt to taste

Method

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-

Tikki Chole Biryani

Punjabi Chickpea Biryani

Hyderabadi Quabooli Biryani

 

Here is what I have posted for The Biryani, Pulao Khichadi Festival –

Day 1 How to cook Rice with Absorption Method

 

Print Recipe
How to cook Perfect Basmati Rice for Biryani
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
Course Rice
Prep Time 05 Minutes
Cook Time 10-15 Minutes
Passive Time 30 Minutes
Servings
Course Rice
Prep Time 05 Minutes
Cook Time 10-15 Minutes
Passive Time 30 Minutes
Servings
Instructions
  1. Wash the rice till the water is crystal clear .
  2. Soak it for 30 minutes .
  3. Place 6 cups of water to boil in a big pot .
  4. Add the whole spices , ghee/ oil and salt .
  5. After the water comes to a rolling boil , add rice .
  6. Let the rice boil on full flame till 80% cooked .
  7. Remove from fire and using a sieve drain all the water .
  8. Pour cold water over rice , this shall stop the future cooking of rice .
  9. Let the rice stand in the sieve , so that all the extra water is drained out .
  10. Do not cover the rice , let it dry for a few minutes .
  11. The rice is ready to be used for any biryani which needs further cooking .
Recipe Notes

14 thoughts on “How to cook Perfect Rice for Biryani”

  1. I can but not somehow comfortable cooking layered biryanis, I keep crossing my fingers while doing the final 20% cooking of the rice. Just wanted to ask. Do you watch the time and cook for only 8 minutes while initially cooking the rice in the open pot and does that time work for any amount of rice ?

    1. Suma , I do not check by watch , but yes anywhere between 8-10 minutes is good . I have never had any problems .
      The next time you try , don’t cross your fingers – he he – and you will have a perfectly cooked Biryani .

  2. This is such an informative post Vaishali. Before this BM, I used to struggle a lot while cooking Basmati. Somehow I learned it in these past few months. Wish I have known this earlier, my days would have been easier.

  3. Vaishali, you should do the mega marathon one month before the rest of us so that we can learn and pick all the tips. Am bookmarking all these posts. They are such fabulous lessons. Awaiting the biryani recipe!

  4. Fantastic post, Vaishali. I follow all the same tips if I am planning on layered biryani which I rarely prepare :). The last picture just stole the show.

  5. Awesome share again and you are so correct that the rice for biryani needs to be cooked only 80 perc. I learnt this the hard way, by learning, as many recipes use to call for 95 perc, and the biryani use to go mushy.

  6. A very informative and useful posts for al those who struggle with making perfect biryani. If the rice is done correctly it is more than half or the battle done:).

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