Vegetable bagara rice is a quick, aromatic, flavorful rice dish from Hyderabad cuisine. Mixed vegetables and fragrant basmati rice cooked in a tempering of whole spices and herbs is a feast for any day!
Bagara khana, bagara chawal or bagara annam is one of the most popular rice preparations from Telangana, India. Chawal and annam are rice in Hindi & Telugu respectively.
Bagara annam is one of must have rice dishes at any wedding and large gatherings as it pairs well with both vegetarian and non vegetarian dishes.
Bagaar is tempering in Urdu and bagara annam is prepared by cooking rice in a tempering. The basic and classic bagara annam is tempered with whole garam masala ingredients, onions, green chilies and some herbs. Some people add green peas as well.
To make it healthy and colorful, home chefs go a step further with addition of mixed vegetables. Green beans, carrots are a must for color and potatoes are a nice addition, along with fresh matar (green peas).
At home, vegetable bagara rice with chicken shorva or mutton shorva is a classic combination and is enjoyed by all age groups alike. It is a wholesome, hearty combination that has vegetables, carbs and protein!
With the above combination, you will not need another side dish but some raita or yogurt on the side makes it a complete, simple, yet satiating meal.
All you need for this delicious rice is whole spices, herbs, green chilies, ginger garlic paste and herbs along with vegetables of your choice. For a rich taste, use ghee or a combination of ghee and oil.
Oil/Ghee - Oil of your choice works fine. Use olive, vegetable oil, corn oil or any cooking oil you prefer. For some indulgence use half oil + ghee or just a spoon or two for enhanced taste.
Whole Spices - Cardamom, cloves, cinnamon stick, shah jeera (ccaraway seeds), bay leaves and biryani flower. Skip it if you can not find it in your local Indian store. Be liberal with these spices and most of the aroma and flavor comes from these spices.
Herbs - Chopped mint leaves for bagaar and fresh cilantro/kotmir for garnish. Fresh fenugreek (methi) leaves are optional but use some if you have it on hand.
Vegetables - Green beans, carrots and potato are my go to vegetables along with lima beans. Back home it is green peas but I find green peas in US a bit sweetish, hence replace it with frozen lima beans.
Rice - Good quality extra long grain basmati rice.
Other Ingredients - Sliced onions, green chilies and ginger garlic paste.
You can prepare baraga on stovetop in a saucepan/dutch oven or in a pressure cooker, or in an electric rice cooker. It comes really good even in electric pressure cooker such as Instant Pot (IP). My go to appliance though is rice cooker.
Instructions are similar, irrespective of cooking method. Only difference is quantity of water and cook time, which I shall mention below. You require only one cookware for stovetop cooking unlike the rice cooker method.
To prepare in a rice cooker, prepare the tempering in a frying pan and then transfer to a cooker to complete the cooking process. You can even transfer to an electric pressure cooker such as Instant Pot. If using an Instant Pot, you can do the tempering in the pot itself, making it a one pot meal.
Rice Cooker Method
Take oil in a pan and toast cloves, cardamoms, bay leaves, bay flower, cinnamon, shah jeera in oil (#1 in below collage). Then sauté onions until light brown (#2), followed mint, ginger garlic paste and green chilies (#3).
Add the vegetables (#4 in above collage) except lima beans stir fry for a minute and then add lima beans (#5 in below collage). Continue to sauté for another minute. Add rice (#6), fry for 2 minutes and add salt. Transfer to rice cooker, add 3 ½ cups of water (#7).
Close the lid switch the cooker on. When rice is almost cooked, about 10-15 minutes into cooking, sprinkle cilantro and pour ghee (#8). If you do not want to keep an eye on the cooker, you can add cilantro and ghee before turning on the cooker in step #7 itself.
Cover and let the cooker complete the cooking cycle. It takes about 20 minutes for the rice to cook in the cooker. Once the cooker shuts off, let it rest for 10-15 minutes and serve hot.
Use a saucepan, sauté pan or a dutch oven. Follow above steps until step #6, frying rice in the tempering. Add water, bring it to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low and cook until rice is done and water evaporates. Just before rice is cooked, add ghee and kotmir.
Rice (chawal) to water ratio is 1 : 1½ cups. Ratio of water varies depending on the quality of chawal and add water accordingly. For pressure cooker instructions check bagara in pressure cooker post.
Instant Pot Instructions
In sauté mode prepare the tempering and add lightly toast in the tempering. Then cancel 'Sauté’ setting. Add 1 : 1¼ cups chawal to water ratio and pressure cook for 2 minutes with vent sealed. Let pressure release naturally.
Bagara rice is mildly spiced and pairs well with lot of curries. For meat lovers, serve with chicken curry, chicken shorva or mutton shorva. Veg options are tomato shorva (with or without eggs), gutti vankaya, paneer masala or mirchi ka salan.
Store leftovers in the refrigerator. It stays good at least for 3-4 days and my leftovers do not last that long as this is one of our favorite rice dishes. Reheat in the microwave before serving.
- Use good quality extra long grain basmati rice (chawal).
- Soak chawal for at least 30 minutes.
- Do not over load with lot of vegetables and with too many varieties of vegetables.
- Keep it minimalistic with just beans and carrots, and green peas or pigeon peas or lima beans. Potatoes are optional but taste good.
Vegetable Bagara Rice
- 1 Bowl to soak rice
- 1 Frying pan
- 1 Rice cooker, at least 5 cup capacity
- Instant Pot at least 3 cups capacity if using Instant pot method
- 3 tablespoon Oil
- 4 Cloves
- 6 Cardamons
- 1 Bay Leave
- 1 Biryani Flower
- 1 inch Cinnamon stick
- ½ teaspoon Shah Jeera
- 1 medium sized Onion sliced
- ½ cup Methi chopped opt
- ½ bunch Mint chopped 1 cup
- 6 Green Chilies cut in half, vertically
- 1 tablespoon Ginger Garlic Paste
- 2 small Carrots cut into 1″ length 1 cup
- 12 Beans string cut into 1″ length 1 cup
- 1 small – medium sized Potato cut into thick wedges 1 cup
- 1 cup frozen Lima Beans
- 2 cups Rice soaked in water for 30 minutes
- 1 -2 teaspoon Ghee
- Wash rice and soak for at least 30 minutes. You start cooking/tempering after soaking rice for at least 20-25 minutes.
- Heat oil in a pan and toast cloves, cardamoms, bay leaves, biryani flower, cinnamon, shah jeera in oil.
- Sauté onions until light brown. Add methi (fenugreek) leaves along with onions, if using.
- Add mint, ginger garlic paste, green chilies and fry for 2 minutes.
- Add the vegetables except lima beans stir fry for a minute and add lima beans. Continue to sauté for another minute.
- Add rice and fry for 2 minutes, add salt.
- Transfer to rice cooker, add 3 ½ cups of water.
- Sprinkle cilantro, ghee and power the rice cooker. It takes about 20 minutes to cook.
- Once the cooker shuts off, let it rest for 10-15 minutes and serve hot.
- Use a saucepan, sauté pan or a dutch oven. Follow above steps until step #5.
- Add water, bring it to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low and cook until rice is almost done.
- Add ghee, give a good stir, sprinkle kotmir, cover and cook on low flame until rice is done and water evaporates.
- In sauté mode prepare the tempering by following all the steps until step 5 mentioned under rice cooker instructions.
- Then cancel ‘Sauté’ setting. Add water, 1 : 1¼ cups rice to water ratio and pressure cook for 2 minutes with vent sealed.
- Let pressure release naturally, about 20-25 minutes. Remove the inner pot and keep it aside. otherwise rice will continue to cook from the heat of the Instant pot plate.
- Measuring cup - 1 cup is 180 ml. I used the measuring cup that comes with the rice cooker.
- Rice - Use good quality extra long grain basmati rice. Soak rice for at least 30 minutes.
- Vegetables - Do not over load with lot of vegetables and with too many varieties of vegetables. Keep it minimalistic with just beans and carrots, and green peas or pigeon peas or lima beans. Potatoes are optional but taste good.
- Nutrition - Values listed are approximate.
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This post was originally published in May 2008. It is republished with new content and images.