1. Rice

Hyderabad Dum Biryani


  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 5 cardamom pods
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 whole star anise pods
  • ½ teaspoon kala jeera (black cumin seeds)
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 bunch fresh mint leaves
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons ginger-garlic paste
  • 2 teaspoons chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon biryani masala powder (such as Dunya)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 pound chicken thighs


  • 3 ½ cups water
  • 2 1/3 cups basmati rice
  • 4 bay leaves, divided
  • ½ cup warm milk
  • 1 pinch saffron threads
  • ¼ cup ghee (clarified butter), divided
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 green chile peppers, chopped


  1. Step 1 Place black peppercorns, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon sticks, star anise, and kala jeera in a spice grinder; grind into a fine powder.
  2. Step 2 Place cilantro and mint leaves in a food processor; pulse until coarsely chopped.
  3. Step 3 Combine spice powder, cilantro-mint mixture, yogurt, lemon juice, ginger-garlic paste, chile powder, biryani masala powder, and turmeric in a large bowl. Add chicken; turn to coat evenly. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate in the refrigerator, about 2 hours.
  4. Step 4 Bring water and rice to a boil in a saucepan; add 2 bay leaves. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until rice is partially cooked through and still firm, about 5 minutes. Drain.
  5. Step 5 Combine milk and saffron in a small bowl; stir to combine.
  6. Step 6 Heat ghee in a large pot with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat. Add onions; cook and stir until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Reduce heat to low. Add remaining 2 bay leaves and chile peppers; cook and stir until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Carefully remove 1 tablespoon of ghee from the pot; set it aside.
  7. Step 7 Wipe excess marinade off the chicken, discarding marinade, and add to the pot. Cook over medium heat until no longer pink, about 2 minutes per side. Spread drained rice on top. Sprinkle onions on top of the rice. Drizzle reserved ghee and saffron milk over onions and rice.
  8. Step 8 Cover the pot and cook over high heat, about 8 minutes. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, until rice is tender and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the chicken reads 165 degrees F (74 degrees C), about 15 minutes.

Cook’s Notes:

Substitute lamb for the chicken if preferred.

Substitute oil for the ghee if desired.

If you want biryani to look like dry, sprinkle oil on rice after you drain it and before you add it to the chicken.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 547 calories; protein 22.3g; carbohydrates 74g; fat 18.4g; cholesterol 68.5mg; sodium 147.7mg.

1. Rice

The Perfect Egyptian Rice with Vermicelli


  • 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup 1/2-inch long vermicelli
  • 1 cup Egyptian rice (short-grain rice)
  • salt to taste
  • 1 3/4 cups water


  • Step 1Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add vermicelli; cook, stirring constantly, until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Pour in rice and salt; stir until coated with oil.
  • Step 2Reduce heat to low. Cook the rice mixture, stirring constantly, until rice turns pasty white, 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Step 3Bring water to a boil in a saucepan.
  • Step 4Stir water into the rice mixture. Cover; cook until most of the water is absorbed, 10 to 15 minutes. Turn off heat; let sit until remaining water is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork.

Cook’s Note:

Most often, Egyptian rice is cooked with very short vermicelli pasta. If you don’t have short vermicelli pasta available, you can break regular long vermicelli into about 1/2-inch pieces.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 330 calories; protein 5.5g; carbohydrates 59.1g; fat 7.3g; sodium 57.1mg

1. Rice

Instant Pot Chicken Biryani


  • 1 ½ cups basmati rice
  • water
  • 7 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 7 ounces skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons Greek yogurt
  • 1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ½ tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • ½ tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1 ½ teaspoons garam masala, divided
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons ghee
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 2 pods cardamom, crushed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seed
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seed
  • ¾ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 large red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
  • 1 ½ cups chicken stock
  • ½ cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped fresh mint leaves
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon red chile powder


  • Step 1 Thoroughly rinse basmati rice in a strainer until water runs clear. Transfer rice to a bowl, add fresh water to cover, and set aside for 30 minutes.
  • Step 2 Place chicken breast and chicken thigh pieces in a large bowl. Add Greek yogurt, lemon juice, ginger, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon garam masala, salt, and pepper. Mix well to coat chicken. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Step 3 Drain rice and remove marinated chicken from the refrigerator. Turn on a multi-functional pressure cooker (such as Instant Pot), select Saute function, and add ghee or oil. When ghee starts to bubble, add cloves, cardamom pods, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, coriander seed, mustard seed, and cumin seeds and saute until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add sliced onion and cook, stirring often, until tender and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
  • Step 4 Add chicken and extra marinade to the cooker. Saute until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Turn off Saute function. Add rice, chicken stock, cilantro, mint, remaining 1 teaspoon garam masala, turmeric, paprika, and chili powder; stir until well mixed.
  • Step 5 Close and lock the lid. Select high pressure according to manufacturer’s instructions; set timer for 6 minutes. Allow 10 to 15 minutes for pressure to build.
  • Step 6 Release pressure carefully using the quick-release method according to manufacturer’s instructions, about 5 minutes. Unlock and remove the lid. Fluff with a fork and serve immediately.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 499 calories; protein 25.4g; carbohydrates 62.8g; fat 16.6g; cholesterol 84.3mg; sodium 542.7mg. 

1. Rice

Lamb (Gosht) Biryani


  • 2 ½ cups basmati rice
  • ¼ cup cooking oil
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 4 black cardamom pods
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 large onions, sliced thin
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1 pound lamb chops
  • salt to taste
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 green chile peppers, halved lengthwise
  • 2 teaspoons ground red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 7 ½ cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • ½ teaspoon saffron
  • 2 tablespoons warm milk


  • Step 1Place the basmati rice in a large container and cover with several inches of cool water; let stand 30 minutes. Drain.
  • Step 2Heat 1/4 cup oil in a large skillet over medium heat; fry the cloves, cardamom pods, and cinnamon sticks in the hot oil until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the onions; cook and stir until the onions are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir the garlic paste and ginger paste into the onion mixture; cook until the garlic and ginger is fragrant, about 1 minute more. Sprinkle the cilantro and mint over the mixture and cook 1 minute more.
  • Step 3Add the lamb chops to the skillet; season with salt. Cook and stir the lamb until the meat begins to brown, about 20 minutes.
  • Step 4Stir the tomatoes, green chile peppers, and ground red pepper into the mixture; continue cooking until the oil begins to separate from the gravy, about 10 minutes. Add the yogurt and lemon juice; cover and cook until the lamb is tender, about 15 minutes. Add water as needed to keep the mixture from getting too dry.
  • Step 5Bring the rice, 7 1/2 cups water, and 1 teaspoon salt to a boil in a saucepan until the rice is nearly done yet a little chewy, 10 to 15 minutes; drain any excess water.
  • Step 6Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a small skillet; fry the sliced onion in the hot oil until lightly browned.
  • Step 7Layer about half the rice in the bottom of a deep pot with a lid. Spoon the lamb masala over the rice. Spread the fried onion over the lamb masala. Top with the remaining rice. Stir the saffron and warm milk together in a small bowl; pour over the top layer of rice. Cover the pot with the lid and place the pot over low heat; cook until the rice is thoroughly cooked, about 15 minutes.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 544 calories; protein 16.5g; carbohydrates 64.3g; fat 25g; cholesterol 42.5mg; sodium 429.2mg.

1. Rice

Rice Pilaf


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup orzo pasta
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup uncooked white rice
  • 2 cups chicken broth


  • Step 1Melt the butter in a lidded skillet over medium-low heat. Cook and stir orzo pasta until golden brown. Stir in onion and cook until onion becomes translucent, then add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Mix in the rice and chicken broth. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the rice is tender, and the liquid has been absorbed, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 244 calories; protein 5.9g; carbohydrates 40g; fat 6.5g; cholesterol 17.8mg; sodium 524.3mg.

1. Rice

Persian Rice with Potato Tahdig


  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 potato, sliced into 1/4-inch round


  • Step 1 Rinse and drain rice 2 times.
  • Step 2 Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add rice and salt; cook for 6 minutes. Drain in a colander. Rinse rice and drain again.
  • Step 3 Put oil in the bottom of the pot and place potato slices in a single layer over top. Pour cooked rice on top of potato slices, cover, and cook over low heat until rice and potatoes are tender, 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Step 4 Invert carefully onto a serving plate so sliced potatoes are on top of rice.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 288 calories; protein 5.4g; carbohydrates 55.2g; fat 5.3g; sodium 389.7mg.

1. Rice

Honey Rice


  • 3 cups cooked rice
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 2 ½ cups milk
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon (Optional)


  • Step 1 Combine rice, raisins, milk, honey, and butter in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat, and let it simmer for 15 minutes; stirring occasionally. Stir in lemon rind and juice.
  • Step 2 Serve the rice in bowls and garnish (optional) with cinnamon and slivered almonds.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 334 calories; protein 6.1g; carbohydrates 65.8g; fat 6.1g; cholesterol 18.3mg; sodium 72.1mg.

1. Rice

Better Spanish Rice


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 1 ¼ cups uncooked instant rice
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup chicken broth


  • Step 1 Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, and cook and stir the chopped onion until browned, about 8 minutes.
  • Step 2 Stir in the rice, tomatoes, cilantro, and chicken broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the rice is cooked and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 164 calories; protein 3.6g; carbohydrates 28g; fat 3.4g; sodium 165.7mg.

1. Rice

Afghani Kabli Pulao


  • 2 cups sella basmati rice
  • 5 cardamom pods, divided
  • 1 onion, peeled and halved
  • 1 whole head garlic, loose skins removed
  • 5 whole cloves, divided
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper, divided
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seed, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 3 ½ cups water
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped into matchstick pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup slivered almonds


  • Step 1 Soak the rice in cool water for 5 minutes. Rinse until water runs clear.
  • Step 2 Place 4 cardamom pods on a cutting board and lightly crush using the flat side of a knife; transfer to a pressure cooker. Add halved onion, garlic head, 4 cloves, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon cumin seed, salt, sugar, cinnamon stick, paprika, and coriander seeds. Pour in water to cover.
  • Step 3 Seal pressure cooker lid and turn heat to high. Cook until pressure cooker whistles once, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Wait for 2 more whistles, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow pressure to release naturally, about 10 minutes.
  • Step 4 Strain broth into a bowl. Clean out the pressure cooker and heat it over medium heat. Add oil and chopped onion; cook and stir until softened and browned, about 7 to 10 minutes. Add carrots; cook until soft, about 3 minutes more. Add raisins, almonds, and strained rice. Add remaining 1 teaspoon black pepper, remaining 1 teaspoon cumin seed, and remaining clove.
  • Step 5 Crush remaining cardamom seed to a powder and add to the pressure cooker. Mix to combine; pour in enough broth to cover the rice.
  • Step 6 Increase heat to high and seal the pressure cooker. Cook until the first whistle, 5 to 7 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Cook for 5 minutes and remove from heat. Let rest for 7 minutes; release the pressure naturally, about 10 minutes. Transfer cooked rice to a serving dish immediately to prevent overcooking.

Cook’s Notes:

You can also add chicken or beef bouillon cubes to the water, or substitute broth for additional flavor.

When adding the rice to the pressure cooker, if it is soft to taste at this point then only add enough water to just cover the rice, if the rice is still hard the Add enough water to go 1 centimeter above the rice.

To cook the pulao without a pressure cooker: Make the broth by boiling the same first ingredients for 1 hour. Follow the same instructions. When cooking rice add all the broth and make sure there is 3.5 cups of liquid; if not, add more water. Add all ingredients the same but bring rice to a boil then turn heat to low, put a paper towel over the pot then seal with a lid over it. Let rice cook for 25 minutes.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 378 calories; protein 8.5g; carbohydrates 70.7g; fat 8.2g; sodium 401.5mg.

1. Rice

Lemon Rice


For Cooking Rice

  • 1 cup rice (heaped) or 3 to 4 cups cooked rice
  • 1.75 to 2 cups water
  • ¼ teaspoon salt or add as required

Other Ingredients

  • 1.5 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice or add as required
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon urad dal (spilt and skinned black gram)
  • 2 dry red chilies – preferably seeds removed
  • 1 teaspoon chopped green chilies or 1 to 2 green chillies – chopped
  • 12 to 15 curry leaves
  • 1 generous pinch asafoetida (hing)
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon cashews – halved or chopped (optional)
  • ¼ cup peanuts – optional
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil (gingelly oil) or any neutral oil
  • salt as required


Cook Rice

1. First rinse 1 cup heaped rice a couple of times and then soak in enough water for about 20 to 30 minutes.

You can use short grained rice or a long grained rice like basmati. In my step-by-step guide, I have added short grained rice. In the video, basmati rice is used.

soaking rice in water in a steel bowl to make chitranna or lemon rice

2. Then drain all the water from soaked rice. Add rice in a 2-litre or 3-litre pressure cooker. Add ¼ teaspoon salt or add salt as required.

soaked rice added to pressure cooker with salt

3. Add 1.75 to 2 cups water.

water added to rice in the pressure cooker

4. Pressure cook rice for 8 to 10 minutes or for 2 to 3 whistles on a medium to medium-high heat. When the pressure settles down on its own in the cooker, then open the lid.

You can even cook rice in a pan or in the Instant Pot. Follow the steps as listed below:

  • Pan method: Take rice, salt and 2 cups water in a pan. Cover and simmer until all the water has been absorbed and rice grains are tender and fluffy. Check when the rice is simmering and if the water has dried up with rice grains undercooked, add some more hot water and continue to cook.
  • Instant Pot method: Add rice, salt and 1 or 1.25 cups water (depending on rice type and quality) in the steel insert of a 6 quart IP. Pressure cook for 5 minutes on high. Do a quick pressure release after 5 minutes.
cooked rice in the pressure cooker

5. Empty the cooked rice in a bowl or plate and set aside so that it becomes warm or cool at room temperature. You can also fluff the cooked rice and let it cool in the cooker itself.

1 heaped cup of raw rice will yield 3 to 4 cups of cooked rice. However, this can very depending on the type of rice.

cooked rice in a steel bowl set aside to make lemon rice recipe

6. Squeeze juice from 1 lime or 1 small lemon into a small bowl. You will need about 1.5 to 2 tablespoons lime or lemon juice.

If you want a more tangy taste, then you can add more lemon juice. Set aside.

squeezing lemon juice to make lemon rice recipe

Fry Nuts

7. Heat 2 tablespoons sesame oil in a pan. Add ¼ cup peanuts. The sesame oil that is added is made from raw sesame seeds and is also known as gingelly oil. It has a totally different flavor and aroma than the south-asian toasted sesame oil.

If you do not have sesame oil, then add sunflower oil, canola oil, avocado oil, peanut oil or grapeseed oil.

If you have roasted peanuts ready, then you can give a miss to this step. I sometimes have extra roasted peanuts in the pantry to be had as a snack or to be added in recipes like these.

peanuts added in oil in a pan

8. Fry the peanuts on a low to medium heat until they become golden and crunchy.

frying peanuts in pan

9. Remove and set aside.

fried peanuts in a steel plate to make lemon rice recipe

10. In the same pan add 1 tablespoon cashews.

frying cashews in oil in the pan

11. Fry cashews until they turn golden. Set aside.

frying cashews until golden color in oil in the pan

Fry Lentils, Seeds, Spices

12. Now add 1 tablespoon sesame oil in the same pan. When the oil becomes hot, lower the heat and add 1 teaspoon mustard seeds.

frying mustard seeds in oil in a pan

12. When the mustard seeds begun to crackle, then add 1 teaspoon urad dal (spilt and skinned black gram).

I don’t add chana dal (split and skinned bengal gram) to my lemon rice recipe, but if you want to add these, soak the lentils in hot water for 20 to 30 minutes. Drain the water and then add them to the oil at this step.

Make sure they are pat dried or the extra water or moisture in them will make the oil splutter too much.

urad dal added to pan

13. On a low heat, fry the urad dal till they turn golden.

frying urad dal in the pan

14. Next add 12 to 15 curry leaves, 1 teaspoon chopped green chillies and 2 dry red chilies (preferably seeds removed).

curry leaves, greeen chillies, red chillies added to pan

15. Sauté for some seconds until the red chilies change color.

sauteing tempering mixture in the pan

16. Switch off the heat and add ½ teaspoon turmeric powder and 1 generous pinch asafetida (hing).

spices added to tempering mixture in pan

17. Mix very well.

mixing spices with tempering mixture to make chitranna

Make Lemon Rice

18. Now pour this tempering mixture in the cooked rice.

tempering mixture added to cooked rice in the bowl to make chitranna

19. Add the fried peanuts and cashews.

fried peanuts and cashews added to cooked rice in bowl to make lemon rice or chitranna

20. Add lemon juice – about 1.5 to 2 tablespoons.

lemon juice added to cooked rice in bowl to make chitranna

21. Add salt as required.

salt added to cooked rice in bowl

22. Mix very well.

with a steel spoon mixing salt and lemon juice to make chitranna or lemon rice

23. Check the taste and add more lemon juice or salt if you want. Keep the lemon rice or chitranna covered for the flavors to blend for 4 to 5 minutes.

While serving garnish with some chopped coriander leaves (cilantro) if you prefer.

lemon rice or chitranna mixed and ready to be served

24. Serve lemon rice with papaddums or vadams and coconut chutney or just have it plain. You can even pack lemon rice in tiffin or for a travel journey.

bright yellow colored lemon rice or chitranna served in a white bowl on a white cotton cloth with a side of fried papaddums