Quickest easiest Sunday lunch recipe of Kuska – Plain Biriyani – Empty Biriyani without veggies, eggs or meat. Kuska recipe with detailed step-wise pictures for easy reference.
Sunday biriyani recipe just got a lot easier with this plain biryani, popularly known as Kuska in Tamilnadu. Also called as Empty Biriyani or MT Biriyani, this is just the plain biriyani rice without any vegetables or meat. Having grown up relishing Amma’s coconut based vegetable biriyani, I didn’t know anything about Kuska until my then-friend-now-husband introduced me to it almost a decade and half ago. He is one biggest Biriyani aficionado and probably the only reason why I try many different versions and keep making it week after week. Back to the intro story – apparently there was this small Biriyani shop set outside his college and all through 4years of engineering, let’s just say their gang added to the immense profits owing to having Kuska every single day. By the way, he keeps talking about the amazing taste of Kuska even now, after all these years.
In Tamilnadu, Biriyani is synonymous with meat. Although I would never agree, the husband tells me there is nothing like a good Chicken or Mutton Biriyani. I make a mean Egg Biriyani that I learnt from my mother-in-law first thing after getting married and that’s my base recipe for any variations I make. Having never made meat-based Biryani, I don’t know what I miss. A couple of times, I have had Kuska in popular Biriyani places (for the only reason that their vegetable biriyani is horrible) and I didn’t find anything extra-ordinary. But apparently, the flavors of the meat sink into the rice (especially with Tamil style of biriyani making where meat and rice are cooked together) and that makes the plain biriyani rice much more flavorful.
I have made Kuska recipe a few times before and I always add pan fried bread pieces on top – that’s a nostalgic tribute to the wedding biriyanis from my childhood. As we are in lockdown for covid, finding bread has become difficult and I didn’t bother with it. I usually follow the same recipe of Egg Biriyani minus the eggs and serve them as Egg roast on the side. With just a side of onion raita, this is such a simple delicious meal. I wanted to make it slightly different from my usual basic recipe, so I took the extra effort that my MIL usually does – find all about it in the recipe below.
As there are no vegetables in this recipe, I make sure to add a little more onions and tomatoes. It makes the gravy flavorful and the rice is very moist, delicious too. I also make it spicier than usual, so adjust the spices as per your preference.
How to make Kuska | Plain Biriyani | Biriyani Rice
Kuska | Plain Biriyani | Biriyani Rice
Measurements1 cup = 250ml, 1 tbsp = 15ml, 1 tsp = 5ml
Kuska Main Ingredients -
- 1 cup Basmati Rice
- 2 cups Water
- 1 cup Sliced Onions 2 Medium Sized Onions
- 1/2 cup Finely Chopped Tomatoes 2 Small Tomatoes
- 1 Green Chilli
- 2 tbsp Oil
- 1 Cinnamon Piece
- 2 Cloves
- 1 Green Cardamom
- 1 Small Piece Kalpasi
- 1 Dried Bay Leaf
- 2 tbsp Curd
- 1 tsp Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder
- 1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
- 1/4 cup Finely Chopped Coriander Leaves
- 1/4 cup Finely Chopped Mint Leaves
- Salt as needed
Kuska Masala Paste –
- 8-10 Garlic Pods
- 2 Ginger Piece
- 2 Green Chillies
- 1/2 tsp Fennel Seeds
- 2 Cinnamon Piece
- 2 Cloves
- 2 Green Cardamoms
- Wash and soak the basmati rice in 2 cups of water for 15-20 mins.
- Make a paste of all the ingredients under Kuska Masala Paste by adding little water and set aside.
- In a heavy bottomed pan, heat oil. Add dried bay leaf, cloves, cardamom and cinnamon. Fry for few seconds.
- Add slit green chilli along with chopped onions. Fry until translucent.
- Next add the prepared paste and fry for a few minutes until the raw smell goes off.
- Add chopped tomatoes and cook until mushy.
- Next add turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt as needed. Fry off for 2-3 mins.
- Add thick curd and mix well, cook for a couple of minutes.
- Now add finely chopped mint and coriander leaves.
- Next pour the water from soaked basmati rice and adjust salt if needed.
- As the water begins to boil, add soaked basmati rice – mix well.
- Close the pan with a lid and cook on low flame for 12-15 minutes.
- Switch off the heat and let it rest for 5-10 mins before opening it. Fluff up the rice.
- Serve hot with onion raita.
Detailed step-wise picture recipe of making Kuska | Plain Biriyani | Biriyani Rice
Wash and soak the basmati rice in 2 cups of water for 15-20 mins.
Make a paste of all the ingredients under Kuska Masala Paste by adding little water and set aside.
In a heavy bottomed pan, heat oil. Add dried bay leaf, cloves, cardamom and cinnamon. Fry for few seconds.
Add slit green chilli along with chopped onions. Fry until translucent.
Next add the prepared paste and fry for a few minutes until the raw smell goes off.
Add chopped tomatoes and cook until mushy.
Next add turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt as needed. Fry off for 2-3 mins.
Add thick curd and mix well, cook for a couple of minutes.
Now add finely chopped mint and coriander leaves.
Next pour the water from soaked basmati rice and adjust salt if needed.
As the water begins to boil, add soaked basmati rice – mix well.
Close the pan with a lid and cook on low flame for 12-15 minutes. Switch off the heat and let it rest for 5-10 mins before opening it. Fluff up the rice.
Serve hot with onion raita.
- Adjust spices as per preference.
- I used 2 cups water for 1 cup rice. Depending on the type and age of rice, use between 1.5 cups to 2 cups of liquid. You can replace 1 cup of water for a cup of thin coconut milk for an aromatic version.
- I like to add shallow fried bread cubes on top of kuska, do try it if you have a couple of bread slices lying around.