Biryani Rice or Kuska Rice is a tasty and flavorful one-pot South Indian meal. It is usually prepared with Seeraga Samba rice or Basmati rice, Indian spices, along herbs. This Biryani rice recipe does not include any vegetables or meat, hence it has also got the name plain biryani. Kuska Rice is an easy, simple, and delicious quick meal. And it can be made served for lunch and dinner along with raita.
What is Biryani Rice?
Biryani Rice is one of the famous restaurant-style meals popular across South India. It is also called Kuska and the name came from the Urdu word "Khuskh" which means dry. Usually, this recipe is plain and has no veggies or meat in the ingredients list but with a similar taste and flavor to the traditional biryani which includes them.
This Biryani rice is prepared with a few ingredients like onion, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, curd, whole Indian spices, and herbs. This is a perfect vegetarian meal for those who want to taste biryani without meat. And it turns into Vegan-friendly flavored rice by just skipping curd in the recipe.
Biryani rice is one of the easy yet flavorful dishes that come to the rescue when you are left with no veggies or meat at home but still want to satisfy the craving for biryani without any time-consuming layering work. This one-pot meal is simple and absolutely easy to make at home.
There are so many variations when it comes to Kuska rice. Even though it is a popular South Indian dish, people make their own version according to the region they are living in and their family's tastes and needs.
In South India, people make this Kuska with Basmati or Seeraga Samba rice. Usually, the Kuska with Seeraga Samba rice is more common in Tamilnadu. And they also name it Tomato Biryani or tomato rice. It is also a very common dish that has its place on the menu card of small hotels, canteens, messes, and even in school and college hostels of the state.
In Ambur, a place in Tamilnadu, people use dry red chili paste to make this Kuska rice and it is similar to Ambur Biryani but without chicken pieces in it. The red chili paste gives a unique and authentic flavor to their dish. In other versions, they also add boiled eggs to make it plain egg biryani. And all these versions are absolutely great and taste divine when paired with any non veg side dishes like Pepper Chicken, Chicken Sukka, Chicken Chinthamani, Kodi Vepudu, etc.
This Biryani rice is typically flavored with simple Indian whole spices, chili powder, and herbs like mint and coriander leaves. But in other versions, people also tend to use biryani masala powder to enhance the flavor and taste. They also add onion tomato base masala to achieve the restaurant-style flavor. Isn't it great that enjoy restaurant-style food at home without making a trip to restaurants?
A similar kind of rice dish "Biryani Chawal" is popular in the Northern Part of India and some people also call it Kushka pulao or plain biryani rice.
About this Biryani Rice
The recipe I have shared here is the Biryani Rice prepared with Seeraga Samba rice like it is used in Mutton/Lamb Biryani. And I would recommend you to use the same rice if you would like to enjoy the traditional Tamilnadu style Kuska rice. Initially, I seasoned whole Indian spices, green chili, ginger, garlic, and onions until they turned soft.
After that, I added tomatoes and allowed them to cook until it turns mushy. Subsequently, I added mint and coriander leaves and gave a nice stir. Then I transferred the mixture to a blender and made it into a smooth paste and reserved it for later use. This is the main step for achieving a restaurant-style flavor, so I recommend not skipping this step to enjoy the authentic taste and flavor.
Following that, in a wide bottom pan, once again I seasoned whole Indian spices, and onions until they turned soft. Then I sautéed the tomatoes until they turned mushy. Following that, I added chili powder, garam masala powder, and salt and gave a quick mix.
Later, I added the reserved onion tomato masala paste to it and mixed it well. After that, I added curd and combined them well. And then added water and allowed it to boil for 5 to 7 minutes. Once it is boiled, add the Seeraga Samba rice, and green chili and cooked the rice to 70%. And I cooked for another 15 minutes in low heat with the pan lid closed.
Finally, I garnished the rice with mint and coriander leaves which gives a nice aroma to the end product.
Instant Pot Biryani Rice
This delicious Biryani rice can be prepared in the instant pot as well. To do that, in sauté mode, saute all the ingredients for making the masala paste. Switch off the IP and remove the onion-tomato mixture and blend it to a smooth paste in a blender and set it aside. Again with the saute mode, saute all the whole spices, onions, spice powders, and tomato similar to the method that I mentioned for the wide-bottom pan.
Then add the masala paste, rice, and water and cancel the saute mode (always make sure to deglaze the pot after adding the water and then seal the lid). Now set the IP to pressure cook mode and cook at high pressure for 5 minutes. Once the alarm beeps, switch off the IP and quickly release the pressure. If you do not switch off the IP, the rice will be cooked with leftover heat and may get burnt at the bottom.
This Kuska Biryani can also be made in a pressure cooker by following the same process of the wide-bottom pan method. The only change is you just need to cook the rice in medium heat with the regulator on for 2 whistles. This will deliver fluffy Kuska/Khushka rice with a similar flavor and taste.
The main key to getting perfect Biryani rice is the right rice-water ratio. And of course the soaking time of the rice. Always I would recommend you soak the rice for 30 minutes and stick with the rice-water ratio of 1:2 for cooking. This ratio will help you to achieve fluffy Kuska rice regardless of whether it is Basmati or Seerag Samba rice.
And another important thing is the preparation of masala paste. I always suggest you take enough time to sauté all the ingredients to make sure no raw smells are left behind. By doing this you can achieve a flavorful and aromatic Kuska/Empty Biryani.
This Biryani rice is an easy and delicious quick meal for any party or regular day. And I believe you will try and enjoy this dish with your family and loved ones. You could serve this rice with simple raita, dalcha, Mutton Sukka/Chukka, Chettinad Chicken, Egg Ghee roast, Vegetable Kurma, or just as it is.
You could also find similar recipes below.
More Biryani Recipes
- Mushroom Biryani
- Vegetable Biryani
- Chicken Biryani
- Ambur Biryani
- Mughlai Biryani
- Mutton Biryani
- Fish Biryani
- Shrimp Biryani
- Basmati Rice
Looking for different chicken recipes to cook for your next meal or a party? Then you could also check this collection of Biryani Recipes and Indian Vegetarian Lunch Recipes at one place for both vegetarian and nonvegetarian lovers and Indian Chicken Dry and Semi Gravy Recipes to accompany your main dish. I believe it will help you to plan your meal at home. Take a peek and enjoy yourself with your family and loved ones.
Biryani Rice recipe video
I have also shared a detailed video instruction of this Biryani rice recipe below which I believe will help you to make this delicious dish easily at home. For a quick reference, you could also find this recipe in story format.
Biryani Rice (Kuska Rice)
- ½ cup Oil
- 2 Cloves
- 2 Cinnamon Stick, small
- 2 Green Chili
- ¼ cup Onion, chopped
- ½ inch Ginger, roughly chopped
- 4 Garlic cloves
- 2 Tomato, chopped
- ¼ cup Mint Leaves
- ¼ cup Coriander Leaves
- 1½ cup Seeraga Samba Rice, soaked for 30 minutes
- 1 Onion, chopped
- 1 Tomato, chopped
- 3 Green Chili
- 3 Cloves
- 3 Cinnamon Stick, small
- 4 Cardamom
- 1 Star Anise
- 1½ tsp Chili Powder
- 1 tsp Garam Masala Powder
- ¼ cup Curd
- Salt, as needed
- ¼ cup Mint Leaves
- ¼ cup Coriander Leaves
- 3 cups Water
To Prepare Masala Paste
- In a pan with medium heat, pour oil and add cinnamon stick, cloves, green chili, ginger, garlic, and onion and saute until the onion turn soft
- Add the tomatoes and saute until it turns mushy. Now add ¼ cup of coriander, mint leaves, and give a quick mix
- Remove the mixture from the heat and transfer to a blender. Grind the prepared mixture into a smooth paste. Reserve it for later use.
To Prepare Kuska Biryani
- In a wide bottom pan with medium heat, pour oil and add bay leaves, star anise, cloves, cinnamon stick, cardamom, and onion and saute until the onion turns soft
- Add the tomatoes and saute until it turns mushy. Now add chili powder. garam masala powder, salt, and mix everything well
- Now add the prepared masala paste and give it a nice mix
- Add curd and mix well
- Now add the water, give a mix, and allow it to boil for 5 to 7 minutes
- Add the soaked Seeraga Samba rice, green chili and cook the rice to 70%
- Close the pan with the lid and cook the rice for 15 minutes in low heat
- Open the lid and garnish with the remaining ¼ cup of mint and coriander leaves
- Fluff the Kuska Biryani gently and now it is ready for you to taste and enjoy
- Serve this delicious Kuska Biryani with curd raita, veg salna, or any non-veg curries
- The preparation of masala plays an important role in getting a perfect and delicious biryani rice. So I recommend you not skip this step
- Another important ingredient for getting an authentic Kuska biryani rice is using Seeraga Samba rice. I suggest you use the same to enjoy the real traditional flavor. But if Seeraga Samba rice is not handy then you could replace it with Basmati rice
- I have used oil for this recipe, but it can also be prepared with ghee for a more rich flavor
- I have used a wide bottom pan to make this dish but it can be also done in a pressure cooker or instant pot
Kuska Biryani is one of the famous restaurant-style meals popular across South India. It got its name Kuska from the Urdu word "Khuskh" which means dry. Usually, this recipe is plain without adding any veggies or meat but with a similar taste and flavor to the traditional biryani.
The Ideal rice water ratio for both Seeraga Samba and Basmati rice for this particular Plain biryani or empty biryani recipe is 1:2. And this ratio delivers a fluffy, non-mushy dish.
Add the boiled eggs to the rice at the end before slow cooking it in medium heat. The rest of the process remains the same.
The recipe I have shared here uses curd, but to enjoy the Vegan-friendly version just skip and replace it with coconut milk.
I really hope you enjoyed the recipe that I have shared here and I would love to hear from you on how it turned out for you. Please let me know.
If you have any other questions, feel free to post them in the comment section below and I will try to get back to you as soon as possible.
Read More: Mughlai Chicken Biryani, Chicken Biryani in Pressure Cooker, Shrimp Biryani