Authentic Bagara Rice | Easy and Simple recipe

Bagara rice, 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 few vegetarian dishes that 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 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 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 yourself in your kitchen in the comfort of adjusting flavors to your preference.

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. The 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.

Reasons to make this special rice variety

Authentic Hyderabadi Bagara rice recipe.

Easy and Simple to make.

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.

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.

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. While choosing Basmati rice, you need to mainly look up 4 aspects; length, age, texture, aroma. My preference of 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 brista 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 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.

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 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. 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.

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 a 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.

You can also make it without caramelized onions. The color of bagara rice will be white.

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 rice dish, 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.

Step by Step pics to make Bagara Rice

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 minutes. Turn off the flame and rest for at least 10 minutes. Bagara rice is ready.

Serving Suggestions:

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

Bagara Rice with alu kurma
Bagara Rice with Alu Kurma

For non-vegetarians, 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 have 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.

Bagara rice

Hyderabadi Bagara Rice

Author: Santosh Allada
Bagara rice is a Hyderabadi special rice dish made with aromatic spices. It is a replacement for pulao or biryani.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Resting time 10 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup Basmati Rice
  • 1 tbspn Oil
  • 2 tbspn Ghee
  • 2-4 Green Chilies
  • 2 tbspn Ginger Garlic paste
  • 1/4th cup Mint and Coriander leaves
  • 1/4th tspn Garam Masala (optional)
  • 2 cups Water
  • 1/2 Lemon
  • Salt to taste

Whole Spices

  • 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))

Instructions
 

  • 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.

Notes

Traditionally bagara rice is made with basmati rice. But you can use short grain rice too. The quantity of water and cooking time will depend on the rice.
Rest the rice for 10-15mins. The moisture in the pot needs time to settle. Else while mixing the rice, grains will break.
 
 


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