Bagara Rice | Authentic Hyderabadi recipe

Bagara rice, my first encounter with this delicay was at a friend’s place, who is a Muslim. The rice was aromatic and the rice grains were light brown in color. Being a foodie, I had to know more about the dish. 

After a conversation with my friend’s mom, I got to know everything about it and the same will be shared in the post.

After staying in Hyderabad for 10 years, I fell in love with Hyderabadi food. Wedding or any function food, to be specific. It’s the food which makes me drool. Of Course it has to as it is hyderabad speciality. Hyderabad, also known as the land of Nizams/Nawabs, the city is famous for its rich food. While most of the delicacies are 

non-vegetarian, there are few vegetarian dishes which are equally famous and delicious. Among the vegetarian dishes, Bagara Rice is a famous and mandatory dish during any function or occasion at home.

Bagara rice

About Bagara Rice

Bagara rice is a very famous rice dish of Hyderabadi cuisine. The name of this dish is derived from the word “bagaar” which translates “to temper”. Rice is added to the “bagaar” without any other ingredients or process, hence the name Bagara Rice or Bagara Rice. Locally, it has many names like Bagara Chawal, Bagara Annam or Bagara Khana or Plain Biryani.

Bagara rice is frequently made in most Hyderabadis’ homes. The dish is mildly spiced and beautifully scented because of the ingredients used. 

It is a great replacement for plain steamed rice or pulao or biryani as it is less complicated and does not contain meat. Unlike pulao and biryani, there is no use of veg masala or meat. The only similarity is the cooking method, even bagara rice is dum cooked in a vessel.  Also, this makes a great substitute for people who do not. I prefer to eat non-vegetarian biryani and it gives a satisfying feeling of having special biryani.

To describe Bagara rice in simple words, it is a dry biryani where there is no masala or veggies or meat in it.

I’ve noticed that this dish is not found in regular Indian restaurants. As it is a regional speciality, it is in the menu of restaurants which are famous for Telangana cuisine or Hyderabadi cuisine.

In Telangana restaurants, bagara rice is served with mutton dalcha. And other authentic veg side dishes for these simple Hyderabadi rice are Bagara Baigan, Mirchi ka Salan or Tamatar/Tomato Salan.

During the pandemic, you don’t need to search for any restaurants to eat this dish. With this recipe, you can make yourself in your kitchen in the comfort of adjusting flavors to your preference.

Reasons to make this special rice variety

Authentic Hyderabadi Bagara rice recipe.

Easy and Simple to make.

Can be made under 30 minutes.

Best replacement, when you don’t feel like eating rice.

Mildly spiced, makes it apt for any age group.

Perfect for weekends, special occasions, festive meals or even weekday meals.

Minimal ingredients yet flavorful.

Can be served with any gravy/curry dish.

Different ways to prepare Bagara Rice

1. The easiest and fastest way is in a pressure cooker. It saves time as well as fuel.

2. Another way is stove top, which is the traditional method. Also, this is my personal preference as the rice dish tastes better compared to made in a pressure cooker.

About the Recipe

Today’s recipe is from the royal and delicious Hyderabadi cuisine, the place which is popularly known for biryani, kebabs and rich curries!  which I will share is an authentic hyderabadi style. 

Not boosting myself, but this recipe is an absolute keeper. Best part of this dish is, it requires minimal ingredients. Yet it has beautifully scented and balanced flavors. Well, Hyderabadi cuisine is all about balance and harmony. As the ingredients are minimum, do not skip any of them.

Ingredients to make Bagara rice wedding style

The aroma and flavors of this special rice completely depended on the ingredients. So make sure to use fresh ingredients. To make this simple yet delicious Hyderabadi special rice dish, you will need the following ingredients;

Basmati Rice: It is one of the main ingredients in this dish. The long-grain rice has a unique flavor of its own and when combined with other ingredients, there is a magical amalgamation of flavors. I suggest using good quality and aged basmati rice. Preference of basmati rice brand:

— Dawaat Biryani basmati rice

— India Gate classic

— Unity biryani or basmati rice

Onions: This is a mandatory ingredient which adds color and taste to the rice. So, don’t even think of skipping it. I’m addicted to fried onions also called brista for its crisp texture and caramelized taste. So, I always use a lot of onions and save some for garnishing. Do check the pro tips to make perfect fried onions.

Cooking fat: I prefer ghee for a delicious flavour.

Whole Spices: The flavour of the dish is totally dependent on whole spices. I use bay leaf, shah jeera, cloves, cinnamom, green cardamom, star anise, mace, stone flower and marathi moggu. It may be possible that some of 

the whole spices may not be available in your area. So you can skip them and use the rest, the rice will still taste flavorful.

Green chillies: This adds the much needed heat to the Bagara rice. You can adjust the quantity of green chillies as per your family’s preference. Can skip it, if making for kids.

Herbs: Mint and Coriander leaves. These two are important in any special rice dish like pulao and biryani. 

They add freshness in the rice dish, also  the nice touch of green color makes the dish look beautiful. Make sure to use only fresh leaves.

Garam masala powder: It is optional but only a pinch adds extra flavor.

Ginger Garlic paste: Use freshly made ginger garlic paste instead of readymade. I always use freshly made paste in any dish as it makes a lot of difference in any recipe.

Other ingredients: Salt to taste, water to cook rice and lemon juice to add a bit of tang.

Pro Tips:

Use long grain and aged basmati rice. 

Rinse the rice grains well, at least 2- times to get rid of extra and impurities, if any!

Soak the rice for 30-60minutes.

Basmati rice should retain the length and shape. Also, the grains should not break and are separate from each other after cooking. To achieve this, quantity of water matters. If water quantity is less, the rice grains 

will be undercooked. If the water quantity is more, it will turn mushy and sticky. In the recipe, I’ve mentioned the perfect quantity for al dente rice and non-sticky long grain rice.

Don’t skip ghee.

Fry the thinly sliced onions on medium and low heat. This step needs patience, to get that nice golden color. 

Remove the fried onions when they turn light golden color. The heat in fried onions will continue to cook them further. If onions are fried till golden color, they will turn dark after a few minutes and taste bitter.

Check for Salt: After adding water, bring it to a boil and check for salt. The water should taste salty, this is the only stage where rice absorbs salt and other flavors. If the salt is less, you will end up with bland rice.

Rest the rice: After the rice is cooked, leave it undisturbed for at least 10-15 minutes. The rice will have little moisture. If you mix the rice grains right away, they may break and get sticky because of moisture in it. Resting time will ensure that the rice continues to absorb moisture and the rice grains are non-sticky while serving.

Variations

The authentic bagara rice is made without vegetables or meat. But, to make it healthier you can add veggies like potato, carrot, green peas, capsicum, beetroot, corn, soya chunks/granules or even mushrooms. 

Add cashews. To make the dish rice, especially when there are guests at home. Can saute the cashews and cook along with rice or garnish on top of bagara rice before serving.

Ingredients

Whole spices (You may skip if you can’t find some of them)

1 teaspoon shahi jeera

2 inch cinnamon

4-5 green cardamoms

2-3 blades of mace

1 bay leaf

1 star anise

2-3 cloves

1 kapok bud/marathi moggu

1 stone flower

Other ingredients

1 cup basmati rice 190 grams

2 tablespoons ghee

2 cups thinly sliced onions

2-3 green chillies, slit lengthwise

1 tablespoon ginger

1/4 cup chopped mint leaves

1/4 cup chopped coriander leaves

1/4 teaspoon garam masala, optional

2 cups water

3/4 to 1 teaspoon table salt, or to taste

Step by Step Recipe

Rinse basmati rice until the water runs clear, soak it in 2-3 cups of water for 30 minutes.

Add ghee in a thick bottom pan. Once the ghee is hot, add all the whole spices and let them crackle for a few seconds till aromatic.

Add sliced onion and saute until they turn light golden color. Next add green chilli, ginger and garlic paste. Cook till the raw smell goes away.

Now add mint leaves and coriander and saute for a minute utill the leaves shrink. Add garam masala powder and saute for 5 seconds.

Add 2 cups of water and bring it to a boil. Add salt and make sure the water tastes salty.

Now add the drained rice and mix well. Let the water boil again and continue to cook on high flame till little water evaporates. Next, turn the flame to low, cover the pot and cook for about 10-15minutes till the water is completely absorbed and rice is perfectly cooked.

Turn the flame off and let it rest for 10-15 minutes. Open the link and gently mix the rice from the sides of the pan.

Serve hot. Garnish with coriander leaves, fried onions and cashews.

Serving suggestions:

This rice is traditionally served with mutton dalcha. But, it can be served with any dry dish or rich curry/gravy. 

For non-vegeterians, the options are any meat korma, shahi gravy, chicken fry or dum ka chicken.

For vegetarians, the options for bagara rice are bagara baigan, mirchi ka salan, tamatar/tomato ka salan, aloo kurma, dal tadka etc

At times, I’ve had this with only raita and it’s a delicious combo.

Storage Suggestions:

Usually, in my home, it is swept clean and there will be no leftovers. But if there is any, you can refrigerate in an airtight container. It stays good for 2-3 days. Before eating, take it out of the fridge and keep it outside for at least 30-60 minutes or till it is at room temperature. 

Can reheat in a microwave, splash little water over the rice before reheating.

Can also pressure cook, place the bowl in the pressure cooker and cook for 1 whistle on high flame.

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