Authentic Bagara Rice Recipe
Last Updated on June 8, 2023 by Santosh Allada
Hyderabadi Bagara Rice, also known as Bagara Khana or Bagara Chawal, is a fragrant and flavorful rice dish that originated in the royal kitchens of Hyderabad, India. This traditional Hyderabadi delicacy is a perfect blend of aromatic spices and long-grain basmati rice, resulting in a mouthwatering rice dish.
My first encounter with this delicacy 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 that makes me drool. Of course, it has to as it is Hyderabad’s specialty. 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 a few vegetarian dishes that are equally famous and delicious. Among the vegetarian dishes, Bagara khana is a staple dish prepared during special occasions, festivals, and weddings in Hyderabad.
About Bagara Rice
Bagara rice is a very famous rice dish in 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 aromatic spices 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.
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 specialty, it is on the menu of restaurants that 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 it yourself in your kitchen in the comfort of adjusting flavors to your preference.
About the Recipe
Bagara rice recipe is super simple where rice is cooked with whole spices, green chilies, aromatics, herbs, and onions. 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. The best part of this dish is, that 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. The aromatic blend of whole spices used in Bagara Rice creates a heavenly aroma that wafts through the air, enticing everyone to indulge in this delightful dish.
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 prefer to eat non-vegetarian biryani and it gives a satisfying feeling of having special biryani.
Reasons to make
Easy and Simple to make.
One Pot dish.
Can be made in 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.
Ideal to pack in lunchboxes.
Vegetarian and gluten-free.
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 that made in a pressure cooker.
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 bagara rice, 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. When choosing Basmati rice, you need to mainly look up 4 aspects; length, age, texture, aroma. My preference for basmati rice brands are:
— Dawaat Biryani basmati rice
— India Gate classic
— Unity biryani or basmati rice
Onions: This is a mandatory ingredient that adds color and taste to the rice. So, don’t even think of skipping it. I’m addicted to fried onions also called birista for their 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 a combination of oil and ghee for a delicious flavor.
Whole Spices: The flavor of the dish is totally dependent on whole spices. I use bay leaf, shah jeera, cloves, cinnamon, 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 chilies: This adds much-needed heat to the Bagara rice. You can adjust the number of green chilies as per your family’s preference. Can skip it, if making it for kids.
Herbs: Mint and Coriander leaves. These two are important in any special rice dish like pulao and biryani.
They add freshness to 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 the readymade. I always use freshly ground 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.
1. Quality Rice: Use good quality long-grain basmati rice for authentic and flavorful bagara rice. The aged rice variety is preferable as it yields a fluffier texture and enhanced aroma.
2. Rinse the rice grains well, at least 2-3 times to get rid of extra starch and impurities if any!
3. Soaking Time: Soak the rice in water for approximately 30-60 minutes before cooking. This step helps in softening the grains and ensures even cooking.
4. Rice:water ratio: Basmati rice should retain its length and shape. Also, the grains should not break and are separate from each other after cooking. To achieve this, the water quantity matters. According to my cooking method, for every cup of rice, add 2 cups of water.
If the 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.
5. Fry the thinly sliced onions on medium-low heat. This step needs patience, to get that nice golden color.
6. Whole spices are important in this recipe, as it is of the essence in this dish. So do not skip them.
7. The color of bagara rice will depend on the level you caramelize the onions. To give a nice brownish color to rice fry the onion until turns to golden brown color.
8. 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.
9. 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 that the rice grains are non-sticky while serving.
How to make Bagara Rice (Step by Step)
Heat oil+ghee in a kadai or heavy bottom vessel. When hot, add thinly sliced onions. On medium flame, fry till they turn a light brown color. Now add all whole spices and saute till aromatic.
Next, add ginger garlic paste, and green chilies. Saute till the raw smell goes away. Add coriander and mint leaves. Saute till the leaves wilt. Add garam masala and salt and saute for a few seconds.
Turn the flame to high. Now add water and let it come to a boil. Add lemon juice. Add the drained rice and give a gentle mix.
Continue to cook on high flame till water reduces a bit. Turn the flame to low and cover the kadai. Cook for 12 minutes. Turn off the flame and rest for at least 10 minutes.
Gently fluff the rice. Bagara rice is ready.
This rice is traditionally served with mutton dalcha. But, it can be served with any dry dish or rich curry/gravy.
At times, I have this with only raita (yogurt-based side dish) and it’s a delicious combo. The cool and creamy raita acts as a palate cleanser and complements the flavors of the spiced rice.
Usually, in my home, it is swept clean and there will be no leftovers. But if there is any, you can refrigerate it 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.
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 rice dish, especially when there are guests at home. Can saute the cashews and cook them along with rice or garnish on top of bagara rice before serving.
If you’ve tried this Authentic Bagara Rice Recipe, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below! Feedback and suggestions are highly appreciated. Also, please share the recipes with your friends and family members.
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Hyderabadi Bagara Rice
- 1 cup Basmati Rice
- 1 tbspn Oil
- 2 tbspn Ghee
- 2-4 Green Chilies
- 2 tbspn Ginger Garlic paste
- 1/4 cup Mint and Coriander leaves
- 1/4 tspn Garam Masala (optional)
- 2 cups Water
- 1/2 Lemon
- Salt to taste
- 1 tspn Shahi jeera
- 2 Bay leaf
- 2-3 Cloves
- 2 inch Cinnamon
- 1 Star Anise
- 2-3 Green Cardamoms (elaichi)
- 1 small Mace
- 1 small Stone Flower (Dagad phool)
- Wash basmati rice 2-3 times and soak for 30-60 minutes.
- Heat oil+ghee in a kadai or heavy bottom vessel. When hot, add thinly sliced onions. On medium flame, fry till they turn light brown color.
- Now add all whole spices and saute till aromatic.
- Next, add ginger garlic paste and green chilies. Saute till the raw smell goes away.
- Add coriander and mint leaves. Saute till the leaves wilt. Add garam masala and salt and saute for few seconds.
- Turn the flame to high. Now add water and let it come to a boil. Add lemon juice.
- Add the drained rice and give a gentle mix. Continue to cook on high flame till water reduces a bit.
- Turn the flame to low and cover the kadai. Cook for 12-15mintues.
- Turn off the flame and rest for atleast 10 minutes.
- Bagara rice is ready. Serve hot. Garnish with coriander leaves, fried onions and cashews.