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What kind of rice to serve with Indian Butter Chicken (Murgh Makhani)?

Are there any kind of preferred techniques, or spicing perhaps?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Basmati is classic. I am particularly fond of brown basmati rice, which has more flavor than white basmati, but it takes longer to cook and will go rancid after 6 months. If basmati is not available, any long-grain rice will suffice; short-grain rice tends to be too sticky.

As for technique, rinse the rice until the rinse-water runs clear. For every cup of rice, use 2 cups of water and 1/2 tsp salt. Bring the water to a boil; add the rice and salt and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook covered until the liquid has been absorbed and the texture of the rice is tender.

For additions to the rice, you have LOADS of options. You can add a pinch of saffron to the water for a vibrant yellow color and distinctive floral aroma (if you just want color, add 1/2 tsp ground turmeric). You can add chunks of peeled ginger, cracked peppercorns, whole peeled garlic cloves, whole cardamom pods, whole cloves, whole bay leaves, whole kaffir lime leaves, and/or whole stick cinnamon -- amounts and combinations are entirely up to your taste (just remember to remove any bay leaves before serving; remove the others or not as you like, but bay is inedible). You can also add cooked vegetables, such as peas, butter beans, pearl onions, and/or carrots.

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Although I have never tried it, I doubt brown rice is a good complement to Murgh Makhni (or other curries) –  Midhat Dec 2 '11 at 9:05
    
Thanks, just the pointers I was looking for! –  cptloop Dec 4 '11 at 13:31

Sautee some finely sliced onions and cumin, add a pinch of mild curry powder, or turmeric for colour, add a handful of frozen petits pois, cook till peas are warmed through, mix in with basmati rice, and you have the easiest pilav ever.

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I don't see how this is an answer - it is a recipe for a different dish. Or are you suggesting that the OP can use this as a side dish for the chicken? If so, how is this very concrete recipe a "preferred option", is it just your favorite, or is this combination of rice with peas traditional in some region? –  rumtscho Aug 13 '13 at 11:13
    
@rumtscho The OP asked for techniques or spicing, and other answers included possible additions. Yes, I am suggesting this as a way to serve rice to accompany chicken. It also goes well with other curries, but works best in complementing creamy curries, in my experience. As to whether it is a specific dish or an easy way to jazz up rice, it's much of a muchness to me. Peas pilav is very popular in North India, and peas are a frequent addition to fried rice too. Adding mildly spiced peas and onions to cooked rice is just my favorite way to get the effect of making pilav without the effort. –  Sonia Balagopalan Aug 14 '13 at 11:35

I believe that it is de rigueur to use basmati rice when serving northern Indian/Pakistani sauced dishes.

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Any chance you might elaborate on your preferred way to cook basmati rice? –  BobMcGee Dec 1 '11 at 15:58
    
With Murgh Makhni, I would like Simple, white rice, as the curry itself is quite spicy. Maybe with onions and a hint of garlic –  Midhat Dec 2 '11 at 9:07

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