Here Are 8 Dishes That Celebrate The Aromas Of Basmati Rice

Basmati is a type of long-grain rice variety that you might have often seen in biryanis or pulao recipes. The rice has a beautiful aroma and a soft flavour that nicely complements the tastes and fragrances of the condiments that are added to the rice dish. This long, slender rice variety is very popular in many Indian regions and is made into a light and airy steamed rice by draining it of all starch and cooking it in an appropriate water to rice ratio.

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Pre-soaking the rice for about 15 minutes before steaming it is a very basic but effective technique to perfect the cook on this aromatic grain, which derives its name from the Hindi word that alludes to a beautiful fragrance. Basmati rice can be used to make many delicious rice dishes other than the biryani. Made into a simple jeera rice served with dal tadka or papad, or used to prepare a more complex Zafrani pulao, basmati rice pours into any dish its own distinct flavours and texture rendering it a perfect choice for festive meals or celebratory dinners. Read on below for some tasty dishes that can be cooked using all the goodness of long-grain basmati rice:

Basmati Pilaf

Pilaf is a very popular rice dish across several cuisines that is cooked in a veggie or chicken broth to infuse it with the delicious aromas of these flavourful proteins and fibrous foods. The complex flavours of the pilaf are actually extracted from the broth which seeps into the rice to give it a beautiful texture and intense taste.

Zafrani Pulao

A pulao variation that is cooked in a mix of saffron, nuts, cardamom and other spices, this rice dish makes use of the basmati rice variety for the way in which it can be steamed into an airy consistency. This rice renders itself well to the mix of milk and sugar that laces the dish giving it a sheerly luxe and grand appeal.


Often made during the exquisite festive celebrations of the Durga Puja, payesh is a decadent rice dessert made using basmati rice. Seasoned with the aromas of cardamom and fragrant rose water, this Bengali rice kheer full of creamy and milky goodness is too tempting to resist. 

Ghee Rice

Easy to make at home and a perfect recipe for a quick, one-pot dinner, ghee rice tastes all the more delicious when made using basmati. Infused with the dense and earthy flavour and aroma of ghee and the sweetness of raisins, ghee rice is a delectable dish that can be enjoyed with dal makhani, a veggie stew or a simple dal tadka.

Jeera Rice

Celebrating basmati would be incomplete without paying an ode to jeera rice. This simple dish made by frying basmati rice in a tempering of cumin and ghee or oil, garnished with coriander is a favourite when one visits any restaurant serving Punjabi and Mughlai food. Having warm jeera rice with dal tadka and fried papad is such comfort indeed!

Fried Rice

Infusing basmati with some Asian flavours of soya sauce and vinegar along with a mix of tossed veggies including carrots, cabbages and beans makes the fried rice a crowd favourite. Basmati rice can be steamed for this recipe by adding to it a strand of lemongrass or a kaffir lime leaf to give it a distinct Asian flavour of its own.

Tomato Rice

A favoured dish in southern Indian cuisine, tomato rice carries a delicious tang of this juicy fruit interspersed with the starchy notes of the long-grain rice that make it a clear favourite in any dinner spread. Tomato rice or Thakkali Sadam is a slightly spicy dish that carries the strong flavours of fenugreek leaves, curry leaves and chopped coriander.

Apple Kheer

Similar to phirni or payesh, apple kheer is also made following a slow-cooking technique that gives the milk a creamy dense texture. Apple kheer also carries chunks of the sweet, crunchy fruit whose juices ooze out to give the dish a slightly elevated sweetness. Be sure to adjust the sugar level in the kheer to avoid it from becoming too sweet.