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How to Cook Perfect Basmati Rice for Biryani — Methods, Tips, and Tricks

Biryani, the name itself, is delicious. The hot pile of basmati rice layered with perfectly cooked and spiced chicken, mutton, or vegetables (whichever you prefer) truly evokes the senses. We find ourselves in the heaven of taste where our tastebuds play with every fluffy grain of rice immersed in lusciousness.
But have you ever thought how come the basmati rice used in biryani looks so fluffy and perfect? Had this question — “How to cook basmati rice for biryani” ever crossed your mind?

So many times, right? Well, here, I'm gonna show you some steps that help you cook perfect basmati rice for biryani. But, first, let's take a sneak peek.

Wash and soak the basmati rice first
Before you start cooking basmati rice for biryani, take the required quantity and wash it. Wash it thoroughly and after that, soak it in enough water for about 20-30 minutes. Do not soak it for longer, or the rice will become mushy or break.
After soaking is done, drain the rice and keep it aside.

Boil water in a pot for biryani rice
Take a heavy bottom pot and boil water in it. For example, for 1 cup of rice, you can use 4 to 5 cups of water. Add these ingredients to the boiling water.

  • Bay Leaves - 2
  • Cloves - 5
  • Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp
  • Cinnamon - 3" 1 stick
  • Black Pepper - 10
  • Aniseed - 1
  • Oil - 2 Tsp
  • Cardamom - 5
  • Salt - 1.5 Tsp

Boil the water for about 10 minutes so that the taste of whole spices gets infused in it perfectly.

Add basmati rice
Add rice to the boiling water and stir at a regular interval. Boil it until the rice is 50-60% cooked if it’s for non-veg biryani. For veg biryani, boil the rice until it’s 75% cooked.
Note: Don't stir the rice frequently and at a fast pace; otherwise, it may get broken.

Drain it carefully
Take out a few rice grains, put them on a plate, and check with hand if it is cooked 50% to 60%. Now, drain the water using a strainer carefully. Your basmati rice is ready for layering in the biryani.

That’s how you cook basmati rice for yummylicious biryani!

Top Tips You Shouldn’t Miss

What type of rice to use for biryani?
Use premium quality basmati rice. You can also use plain rice, but it won't have fragrance or aroma. On the other hand, the long grains of basmati rice looks fluffy and gleaming when cooked in a biryani dish. Its tempting fragrance will fire up your hunger!

Do I have to rinse basmati rice before cooking?
Rinsing removes the starch and other unwanted ingredients. This makes your rice less gooey. But if you buy premium basmati rice from a trusted source, you don't need to rinse it. However, it depends on people’s preferences whether they want to rinse or not.

Should I use a large or small pan?
We don't recommend using a pan that's too large. A small pan ensures even heat distribution. Choose the pan size according to the portion of basmati rice. For example, for 4-6 parts of basmati rice, pick a 1.8 to 2.2-liter pan.

Should I use hot or cold water?
Hot water, of course! Get it to boil first, and then add the basmati rice. Remember, the amount of rice will depend on the amount of water you put in the pan.

What is the water to rice ratio?
It goes like this: One-and-a-half cups of water for one cup rice. This means the correct ratio of water and rice should be 1.5:1.

Fixing overcooked biryani rice

Did you end up with mushy or sticky rice due to overcooking? Although I know that's sad, don't worry! Instead, follow these tips to overcome such a sticky-biryani-rice situation.

Tip #1 — In case your basmati rice is overcooked, simply drain the water. Keep the cooked rice at your room temperature and let it cool down. This will help rice grains to become a little hard. And, it will not create a mess!

Tip #2 — When you add biryani curry to the overcooked basmati rice, make sure it’s not watery. If the curry is watery, evaporate the water by heating it on high heat.

Tip #3 — If your basmati rice for biryani is overcooked due to remaining steam, open the lid of the pot/pan and release the heat. Turn the rice to room temperature. The air around will work great to harden the basmati rice grain. Once it’s cool, add it to the biryani.

That's how you fix overcooked basmati rice for the biryani!
That’s it, folks! Cooking basmati rice for biryani isn't an arduous task. If you follow the earlier steps, you are sure to cook the perfect rice.
Happy cooking!