‘Kuska’ or ‘Khushka’ or ‘Plain Biryani’ is a rice preparation that is famous in Tamil Nadu. Kuska is plain biryani, where aromatic basmati rice is cooked in an onion and tomato base with whole spices and simmered in coconut milk but without any vegetable or meat. Kuska is so flavorful on its own but even more delectable when served either with a raita or salna.
This is a recipe, which I learnt from my grandmother. Whenever I prepare this plain biryani, I am taken to my childhood days and reminded of my grandmother.
Kuska was always reserved for lunch on Sundays in our home. My grandmother would gather all the ingredients and would sit on the floor with a big utensil on the stove for preparing the Kuska. The aroma of basmati rice simmering in coconut milk with the whole garam masalas would fill in the house. While my grandmother was preparing the Kuska, we kids would be watching TV and eagerly waiting to relish it for Sunday special lunch.
This is one of the easiest biryani recipes that involve minimal chopping or grinding. I have grown up watching my grandmother prepare this and she always adds mint leaves and coconut milk in Kuska’s preparation, which really imparts the flavor.
Basmati Rice – 1 ¾ cup (about 325 gms)
Coconut milk – 2 ¼ cups
Onion – 1 big
Tomato – 1 medium sized
Ginger garlic paste – 1 tbsp
Green chillies – 3
Mint leaves – 2 handfuls
Coriander leaves – few sprigs
Red chilli powder – ¾ tsp
Coriander powder – ½ tsp
Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
Salt to taste
Oil – 4 tbsp
Cloves – 4
Cinnamon – 1” piece
Cardamom – 1
Star anise – 1 small petal of a whole anise
Bay leaf – 2
Preparation time – 20 mins
Cooking time – 20 mins
Total time – 40 mins
Serves 4-5 people
- Wash and soak rice for 20 minutes. Extract coconut milk. Slice onions and chop tomatoes roughly. Finely chop coriander and mint leaves.
- Heat oil in a small pressure cooker. Add the whole garam masala and saute for 30 secs.
- Add sliced onions and green chillies. Sauté till they turn translucent.
- Add the ginger garlic paste and cook until the raw smell vanishes.
- Add the tomatoes along with mint and coriander leaves. Saute for 2-3 mins.
- Add the spice powders along with salt to taste. Cook for 2 mins.
- Now add the rice and coconut milk and mix well. Check for salt and spice levels and add more, if required.
- Pressure cook for 2 whistles. Remove the cooker from flame and wait for the pressure to release. After opening, fluff the rice with a fork and serve hot.
I served the yummy Kuska with Vegetable Salna and Onion Raita. I had planned and prepared the Kuska for lunch and dinner but it was so tasty that there was hardly any Kuska left for our dinner.
- Kuska is normally prepared using basmati or seeraga samba rice variety. If using seeraga samba, reduce the quantity of coconut milk by ¼ of a cup. I use rice and coconut milk in the ratio 1:1 ¼ for seeraga samba rice.
- For ginger garlic paste, I used about 10 cloves of garlic and 1” piece of ginger. As I had the paste handy, I used it.
- Use medium flame while sauteing the onion and tomato to avoid them getting burnt.
- You can use water + coconut milk or water + milk or water alone to cook the rice. I used only coconut milk for this preparation.