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

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

3 Answers 3


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.

  • Although I have never tried it, I doubt brown rice is a good complement to Murgh Makhni (or other curries)
    – Midhat
    Dec 2, 2011 at 9:05

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

  • Any chance you might elaborate on your preferred way to cook basmati rice?
    – BobMcGee
    Dec 1, 2011 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, 2011 at 9:07

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.

  • 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, 2013 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. Aug 14, 2013 at 11:35

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