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Bagara rice (aromatic South Indian rice)

1 of 5


  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 small bay leaves
  • 10 cloves
  • 2 black cardamoms
  • 8 green cardamoms
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1.5 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 green chillis, split in half
  • 0.75 tbsp salt
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 2 inch ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 handful unsalted cashew nuts
  • 1 handful freshly chopped mint leaves
  • 1 handful freshly chopped coriander leaves
  • 1.5 cup boiling water
  • Cooking Time
    10 mins
  • Serving
    Serves 5
  • Skill Level


For a simple and quick vegetarian rice, that is the perfect accompaniment to currys, sauces or simply on its own, this is the dish for you! Bagara rice is most popular at occasions in the Hyderabad region, yet is the perfect alternative for biryani, pilau or plain rice. 
  1. Place the rice in a bowl and rinse it under running water a few times until the water runs clear. Soak it with water and set aside
  2. Meantime, over low to medium heat, place the ghee and oil into a pot. Once the ghee melts add the bay leaves, cloves, black cardamom, green cardamom, star anise, black peppercorns, cinnamon sticks, cumin seeds, fennel seeds and mace. Mix well and allow to roast for 1-2 mins
  3. Add the onions, green chillis and salt. Mix and allow for the onions to start to brown (give it a few mins)
  4. Add the minced garlic and ginger, mix well for two more mins
  5. Add the cashew nuts, mix for one more minute, then add the mint and coriander and mix for 30 seconds
  6. Add the boiling water and allow the water to come to a boil over the low heat. Taste and add more salt if required. Drain the rice and add it into the pot. Gently mix the rice to avoid it breaking. Cover the pot and increase the heat to medium/high for 2 mins
  7. Reduce the heat to the lowest heat, and whilst it is still covered, allow it to cook for 7 mins. Check at 7 mins, fluff with a fork, if needs another minute then let it cook for another minute, otherwise, turn off the heat, cover with a tea towel then put the lid back on, and let it sit for a further 10 mins without heat before serving

So flavoursome, so delicious - everybody loved it! I served it with chickpea raita, which was a perfect accompaniment. Perfect dish for something light yet jam packed with flavour! Enjoy :)


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