My Biryani rice is becoming sticky, why?

by Seema
(New Delhi, India)

I am learning to cook these days. I tried your chicken biryani recipe. Well, without the chicken. I wanted to make a vegetable biryani, so I replaced the chicken with vegetables. The problem is that my rice came out very sticky. The taste was good but the texture was very soft and sort of pasty. What did I do wrong? Can you help, so that at least next time I can make a good biryani.

Thank you.


Hi Seema,
It's fantastic that you are taking this much interest in cooking. Don't worry too much about the little failures that come your way, in the process. We all learn through are mistakes and failures. If it makes you feel any better, my first biryani though good in taste, was soggy too.

I hope that you used a good basmati rice. Picking up the right type of rice is very important. If you pick up a short grain rice, it can be very starchy. Too much starch, will result in sticky rice.

Assuming that you picked up basmati rice, the reason it could have gone sticky will be overcooking of the rice.

So here are a few things you can do the next time.

Wash the rice nicely till the water comes clear. This will ensure that any excess starch is washed away.

Soak the rice in salt water for at least half an hour.

When you parboil the rice, do not let it overcook. To avoid overcooking, make sure there is plenty of water in which the rice is rapidly boiling. Do not stir the rice too much, as this may result in the breaking of the presoaked grains. After say 5 minutes or so, take out a grain using a spoon. Press it between your forefinger and thumb. It if breaks in three parts, don't cook the rice further.

The rice should be 3/4 cooked.

Once you have drained the rice, spread and keep it under a fan so that it cools down quickly.

You mentioned that you used vegetables, instead of chicken. That is not a problem at all, even I cook vegetable biryani. The only thing is, use vegetables that contain less water, for instance, cauliflower, potatoes and peas. When you are layering the biryani, the vegetables should not be watery, otherwise your rice will become soggy and eventually sticky.

Hope these tips will help you.


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