Rice/Pulao Archives - Rachna cooks

Browsed by
Category: Rice/Pulao

Simple Chicken Biryani Recipe

Simple Chicken Biryani Recipe

 simple Chicken biryani

Chicken biryani is one of the delicacies that one normally partakes in restaurants only. That is because it is time consuming to prepare and often difficult to get it right. I used to prepare a version of chicken biryani earlier in which I completely cooked chicken gravy separately and rice separately which were then mixed together and served. It was delicious but my dum biryani in which I cook marinated chicken and basmati rice together on slow heat is yummier.

So here’s a recipe of simple chicken biryani made at home. Now you can make your job easier by using store bought biryani masala which you can use to marinate your chicken pieces. If you are a purist you could prepare the masala yourself. The recipe is given below. I use the Banne Nawab chicken biryani masala which suits my taste perfectly.

If you wish to cook biryani, you really have to plan at least a day in advance. I prefer the meat to be marinated at least overnight for it to be flavourful. And since I have 3 men/boys at home, I make large quantity of it so that we can also enjoy the leftovers. You could adjust the quantities pro rata.

For 6-8 large servings


1 full chicken cut in pieces with bone (About 1 Kg.)

750 gms. good quality Basmati Rice

250 gm. Curd

1 bunch coriander

1 bunch mint

3 medium onions sliced thinly and deep fried till golden brown

A few strands of saffron (about 2 generous pinches) immersed in half cup warm milk to release their colour and flavour.

Oil to deep fry onions

5-6 tbsp. ghee/oil

Biryani masala powder

2 tbsp. Ginger garlic paste

2-3 Green chillies chopped

Boiled eggs to garnish

Raita made with onion, tomato, mint and green chillies to serve as a side dish

Biryani masala powder recipe:

Black pepper corns – 10-12

Black cardamom – 2

Green cardamom – 3

Clove – 4

Cinnamon – 2 small sticks

Mace — 2

Bay leaves — 2

Cumin – 1 tsp.

Coriander – 1 tsp.

Lightly toast the above and then blend to form a powder


For the chicken:

First marinate the chicken. Clean and dry the chicken pieces. Add 250 gm. curd, chicken biryani masala 3 tbsp., 2-3 chopped green chillies, 2 tbsp. ginger garlic paste, 3 tbsp. ghee/oil, some saffron strands and salt and mix well. Add in ½ bunch of mint and coriander finely chopped and keep this for marinating in the fridge at least overnight.

For the Basmati rice:

Wash 750 gms. Basmati rice in water. Soak it in water for half an hour. Now heat water in a pan and bring it to a boil. Add some whole garam masala like a few pepper corns, green cardamom, cloves, cumin and cinnamon to this boiling water. Add in the rice carefully. And add in the salt. Let it cook for about 4-6 minutes only. We only want to partially cook the rice or half cook it. Watch the rice carefully and drain it out at about 4-6 minutes. Set aside. Handle it gently to avoid it from breaking.

To assemble:

simple Chicken biryani

Take a non-stick big kadhai/wok or a large pan with a thick bottom. We need a thick bottom or the biryani may burn. Now tip in the marinated chicken mix into the pan. Add a layer of deep fried onions.

simp;e Chicken biryani

Now carefully spread the half cooked basmati rice over the layer of marinated chicken. Spread it out evenly. Add the saffron in milk infusion to leave beautiful orange streaks on the rice. The aroma of saffron is amazing!

simple Chicken biryani

Add the remaining chopped mint and coriander leaves to the rice. Also tip in the remaining fried onions on the rice. Pour in 3 tbsp. ghee/oil all over the rice to prevent it from drying out when being cooked.

simple Chicken biryani

Now cover the pan with a tight lid so that no steam escapes. You could also put dough on the sides of the lid to make it airtight. Turn the heat on and put your wok/pan on it. After about 6-8 minutes when you notice steam beginning to form, put a heavy tawa/griddle on the flame. Put your biryani vessel on top of this tawa to prevent direct heat from reaching it. Now let the flame be such so that it just touches the tawa (slightly less than full flame).

Cook for about 30-35 minutes on this flame. Your entire house will smell great. Then switch off the flame and let the biryani rest for 10 minutes.

Take it to the table and open the lid to absolutely appetizing aromas. Your basmati rice grains will be well cooked and glistening with pure ghee goodness. You will need to mix in the chicken and its masala with rice gently while serving. The chicken is well cooked and really tender. Serve with boiled eggs and a yoghurt raita made with finely chopped onions, tomatoes, mint and green chillies and garnished with salt and roasted cumin powder. Your delicious and simple chicken biryani is ready to eat.

Dig in and relish the flavours. On this one day, don’t worry about the calories. Happy eating.

Avarekai Bisi Bele Bath recipe

Avarekai Bisi Bele Bath recipe

avarekai bisi bele bath

It is Sunday and the only day when I feel like putting in some extra time to cook elaborate dishes like Bisi Bele Bath (yes, that is how they spell it here) and Chicken Biryani. This dish is a special rice dish served in the South. You will find it on the menu of grahpravesh (housewarming) and wedding meals among other special feasts. I fell in love with this dish when I had it for the first time. Spicy, tangy and yummy. What’s not to like, eh? My mother-in-law’s younger sister who is known for her culinary prowess in the family makes it from scratch every time which includes making the masala powder fresh. I do dig her bisi bele bath powder which makes my work easier. But poor health is stopping her from making it these days.

Then, my friend Janaki, who has started her own food venture, Nutrisattva, came to my rescue. I have already tried her sambhar powder and like it. So, I asked her to send her fresh, homemade bisi bele bath powder. Armed with it, I decided to make this dish today morning for breakfast. It is heavy enough for a brunch but then you have not seen the appetite of my boys.

This one is made with fresh avarekai (also called avarebele) which is in season right now. Avarekai is a local bean, flat bean that the Kannadigas have orgasms over. This bean is in season only for the two winter months of December and January. It is the time when you find an overload of this quaint bean in everything that comes out of the Kannadiga kitchen. Tossed in upma, used in sambhar, made a curry with, used generously in dosas, idlis, akki roti — you get the picture, right? You also have an avarekai mela every year near Sajjan Rao Circle in Bangalore where you can get to taste yummy dishes and weird ones like avarekai halwa (which looked like green goo and tasted only of sugar) and avarekai kaju katli (which was terrible). The avarekai dosa, akki roti, sambhar, obbattu were yummy though. The crowds were maddening. No place to even stand and eat while we jostled with annoying hawkers, bikers and two wheeler riders. Long queues and general disorder put you off. I am definitely not visiting again but I have added a couple of recipes to my repertoire after eating here.

So back to this recipe now. Inputs from Janaki for the recipe with my minor tweaks.

6 hearty serves


250 gms. Avarekai beans (peeled, shell removed) (You could alternatively use onions, potatoes, tomatoes, french beans, carrots, knol khol etc.)

3 cups rice

1.5 cups tuar dal (pigeon peas)

1 small ball of tamarind immersed in hot water, strain its juice

4 tbsp. bisi bele bath powder (Start with lesser quantity and add more depending on your taste)

1 tbsp. chilly powder (I prefer mine hotter but you could skip it)

1 sprig curry leaves

salt to taste

For tempering:

2 tbsp. ghee or oil

1 tsp. mustard seeds

2 sprigs curry leaves

1 tbsp. gram dal and udad dal

1/2 tsp. heeng or asafoetida


Wash the rice and dal and cook it with equal quantity of water and 1 tsp. of salt in a pressure cooker till it is soft and mushy. If you are using vegetables cook them separately in water with a bit of salt till done. I avoid cooking them in the pressure cooker along with rice and dal because they get overcooked. Now in a kadhai or big patila/pan, boil 1 cup of water. If you are using avarekai beans, add them to hot water. They cook pretty quickly. Now to this water add the tamarind extract, bisi bele bath powder, salt and curry leaves. Let it simmer till the avarekai beans are cooked. Takes about 10-15 minutes.

Now tip your cooked dal and rice mixture to the simmering beans with tamarind and masala. Add well. If it is too thick add more water. Taste and adjust seasoning. I added some chilly powder as it was a little less hot for my taste. You can add more bisi bele bath powder too if you want. The consistency should be porridgy that is slightly runny. Cook on simmer for about 5 minutes so that everything is well incorporated.

Before serving, temper with the tempering ingredients. Heat ghee/oil in a small pan. Add the mustard seeds, heeng and dal till the mustard sputters. Now add the curry leaves and after 30 seconds, tip it into the bisi bele bath. Mix well and serve hot. It is tasty as it is. In many places, it is served with potato chips or khara boondi. You can also serve it with a side of raita (yoghurt with cucumber, onion and chillies). Enjoy! It is hearty, filling and yummy. A lovely brunch on a Sunday. Hope you enjoy it.

Tehari UP style

Tehari UP style

tahiri 2

Tehari is a pulao kind of dish that used to be made on many lazy Sunday afternoons in my home. A one-pot meal, it is easy to cook and tasty too. And you know the most coveted part was the slightly burnt portion of tehari from the bottom that we siblings would fight over. Here’s the simple recipe. Though this one has potatoes and peas, you can easily add other vegetables of your choice as well. Most people prepare it with potatoes, peas and cauliflower.


2 cups Basmati rice (soaked for half an hour in plain water)

2 tbsp. oil or ghee

2 bay leaves

3-4 cloves

10-12 black peppercorns

2 black cardamom

2 tbsp. ginger garlic paste

4-5 green chillies split

1 large onion sliced

1 cup diced vegetables (potato cubes and peas)

1 tsp. garam masala

1 tsp. coriander powder

½ tsp. turmeric powder

½ tsp. red chilly powder

Salt to taste

Chopped coriander leaves for garnish

Tehari recipe
Chopped onions, chillies and diced potatoes


I normally use a pressure cooker to make my Tehari. It is faster and easier that way. You may, of course, use a thick-bottomed pan for the same. Heat the oil in the pressure cooker. Put in all the whole spices and fry for a minute. Add the chopped onions and fry for a couple of minutes till they are transparent. Add ginger-garlic paste and fry for another couple of minutes. Add in the slit green chillies and fry for one more minute. Now tip in the cut veggies and fry lightly. You can add a little water if everything becomes too dry.

Now add in the rice. Put in all the dry masalas along with salt. Add 2-3 cups of water and close the lid of the pressure cooker. It takes about 3-4 whistles to cook everything and for the slight burning at the bottom. Don’t keep it too long on the fire or you may end up with horribly burnt mess. Open the cooker and gently fluff up the rice. Serve hot garnished with chopped coriander.

Tehari recipe
Tehari served with veg raita

We normally served it at home with a hot green chutney and some cool yoghurt raita. A perfect Sunday afternoon lunch.

Raw Jackfruit Pilaf/ Kathal ka pulao

Raw Jackfruit Pilaf/ Kathal ka pulao


Again one of my mom’s recipes that I remember eating with relish since childhood. Kathal or the humble jackfruit is consumed as a vegetable in the North of India. I remember mom making curry, pulao and pickle out of it. I never remember eating the fruit though till I came to live in the South. The fruit is sweet and fleshy but the best part for me are the seeds or the coveted koye. They have a lovely, nutty taste. Boiled with salt and added to dal, they are delicious. Anyhow, here is the recipe for kathal ka pulao. It does take a bit of time to make but the results are yummy. It is one of my husband’s favorite. And he is the one who chops the vegetable in pieces. It is a dicey veggie to chop and you will need a sharp knife and lots of oil to apply on your hands and knife to safeguard against the sticky, milky sap that oozes out of it.

Normally, I fry all the jackfruit pieces with some oil and salt. That way you can store them in fridge for upto a week and they will not spoil.


1 Kg jackfruit (chopped into squarish pieces, sauteed in oil and salt)

3 cups Basmati rice (washed and soaked in water for half an hour)

For the rice:

1 tbsp. ghee

1 bay leaf, 1 small cinnamon piece, 3-4 cloves

1 tsp salt

For the jackfruit:

2 tbsp. ghee

10-15 black pepper

5 cloves

1 small stick cinnamon

1 black cardamom

2 tsp. cumin seeds

1 mace

3 large onions sliced

2 tsp. each ginger and garlic paste

2-3 green chillies

1/2 tsp. turmeric powder

1/2 tsp. Kashmiri red chilly powder

salt to taste

Chopped coriander leaves for garnish



I put the soaked rice with water, 1 tbsp. ghee and whole spices in the rice cooker. You can do it on the stove as well. That way you can fry the soaked rice before adding water and cooking it. This works out easier for me. Keep this rice aside and prepare the jackfruit gravy while the rice is getting cooked.


Saute the jackfruit in a little oil with salt till it browns a bit. Normally takes about 10 minutes on low flame. Then cook it with a little water in a pressure cooker only for 1 whistle. You want to cook the jackfruit not make it mushy.


Now in a pan, heat the ghee. Add all the whole spices and allow them to sputter.


Now, add in the chopped onions, chopped chillies, ginger-garlic paste and saute till all are nicely browned.


Now add the turmeric and Kashmiri chilly powders. Take it off the heat. Cool and blend after taking out the bay leaf.


Cooked the blended masala paste with the cooked jackfruit pieces till it becomes a really thick gravy. Remember that the rice has salt too. So go easy on the salt in the gravy.


Carefully mix the rice with jackfruit gravy. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot. You can serve with a half-fried egg or raita for a complete meal. This is spicy so do reduce the whole spices as per your taste. Enjoy!

%d bloggers like this: