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types of rice dishes in India

19 Types of Rice Dishes in India | The Daily Super Meal

India is a land of diverse cultures and cuisines. One of the staples that unites the entire nation is rice. Rice is not just a grain in India; it is a way of life. The versatility of rice is reflected in the countless and various types of rice dishes in India. From aromatic biryanis to comforting khichdis, there is a rice dish for every palate. 

In this article ‘Types of Rice Dishes in India’, we will embark on a delicious journey to explore the vast and flavorful world of Indian rice cuisine. We’ll delve into the unique specialities of different regions, from the aromatic biryanis of the North to the tangy rice creations of the South.

We’ll also explore the versatility of Indian rice dishes, offering options for vegetarians, meat lovers, and everyone in between. So, get ready to awaken your taste buds and discover your new favourite rice dish!

Introduction to Indian Cuisine

Indian food is famous for having lots of different tastes, bright colours, and fragrant spices. It is a perfect mix of different regional cooking styles, each with its own unique traits.

Indian food is highly influenced by the ingredients that are available in different parts of the country and by the wide range of cultures that live there. In Indian food, rice is very important, and it can be used in many different ways to make tasty and filling meals.

Importance of Rice in Indian Cuisine

Rice is a staple food in India and is consumed in various forms, be it as a main course, a side dish, or even in desserts. It is not only a source of sustenance but also holds cultural and religious significance.

There are many types of rice dishes in India which are offered as Prasadam. Also, rice is considered auspicious and is offered as a symbol of prosperity and good luck. It is also an integral part of religious rituals and festivals.

The versatility of rice allows it to be paired with a wide range of ingredients, making it a versatile canvas for culinary creativity.

Types of Rice Dishes in India


India’s soul-satisfying comfort food is a warm hug in a bowl. Made with rice and lentils, it’s a blank canvas for regional flavours. In the north, fragrant spices and meat add richness. Down south, tangy tamarind or creamy coconut milk create a delightful twist.

This versatile dish can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, or a light dinner, offering a healthy dose of protein and fibre with every comforting bite. Khichadi is one of the very famous types of rice dishes in India.

Rice khichadi, a popular Indian dish, comes in various delicious varieties from different regions. Here are some notable types:

  • Tamil Nadu’s Pongal – A simple and flavorful khichadi enjoyed in South India.
  • Andhra’s Keema Khichdi – A unique variety made with minced meat, rice, lentils, and spices.
  • Gujarati Khichdi – Filling and flavorful, prepared with rice, arhar dal, tuvar dana, peanuts, and a blend of spices.
  • Kashmiri Khichdi – Made with rice and chilke wali moong dal, best enjoyed with ‘kadam ka achaar’.
  • Dalimbi Bhat – A spicy khichdi made with sprouted field beans or vaal dal, rice, and cooked in mustard oil.
  • Bihari Khichdi – A popular version from Bihar made with rice, masoor dal, yellow moong dal, mixed vegetables, and enjoyed with chokha, papad, and achaar.
  • Gobindo Bhog Rice Khichuri – Prepared with Gobindo bhog rice, moong dal, vegetables, spices, and a hint of sugar for sweetness.
  • Bajra and Yellow Moong Dal Khichdi – A warm and nutritious winter khichdi made with Bajra, yellow moong dal, and flavourful tempering.
  • Split Black Gram and Rice Khichdi – A nutritious dish traditionally prepared on Makar Sankranti.
  • Rice, Black Gram, and Sesame Seeds Khichdi – Known as ‘Til Khichdi’, enjoyed in the winter to keep the body warm


A crown jewel of Indian cuisine is a symphony of rice, meat, and aromatic spices. Layers of fluffy basmati rice mingle with succulent meat (chicken, lamb, or fish), fragrant vegetables, and a vibrant blend of saffron, cardamom, cloves, and more.

Biryani is one of the delicious types of rice dishes in India which came from other countries but became very prominent here.

Cooked in a sealed pot (dum), the biryani emerges infused with the essence of each ingredient, offering a delightful dance of textures and flavours. From the richly flavoured Hyderabadi version to the delicate Lucknowi style, biryani is a culinary journey waiting to be explored.

There are 11+ different types of Biryani in India alone. We have varieties with respect to regional cuisines. From North to South, it changes with flavour, spice and many factors.

Coconut rice

A comforting staple across India, adds a touch of the tropics to any meal. Fluffy rice is simmered in creamy coconut milk, often infused with fragrant aromatics like cardamom and turmeric.

The result is a vibrant yellow dish with a subtle sweetness and a hint of nuttiness. Enjoy it as a base for curries, and stir-fries, or simply savour its unique flavour on its own.

Tawa Pulao

Tawa Pulao is a popular street food from Mumbai, India. It is a dish made with precooked Basmati Rice, onions, tomatoes, potatoes, peas, bell peppers, pav bhaji masala, and coriander leaves.

The rice is first precooked separately, and then the vegetables are cooked with masala on a large flat iron griddle known as a tawa. The smoky flavour of the tawa adds a unique dimension to the dish.

Tawa Pulao is typically spicy and flavoursome, making it a popular meal option in Mumbai street food culture. One of the best and super selling types of rice dishes in India.

Ghee Rice

Ghee Rice is a classic and aromatic South Indian dish made with rice, ghee, whole spices, onions, cashews, and raisins. The rice is sautéed and cooked with ghee and spices and then garnished with caramelized onions, crunchy ghee-fried cashews, and sweet raisins.

Ghee, a traditional Indian cooking fat, imparts a nutty aroma and delicious taste to the dish. Ghee rice is usually served with a gravy or curry like vegetable kurma, chicken curry, egg curry, or a special lentil dish

Curd Rice

Curd Rice is one of the popular types of rice dishes in India that combines cooked rice with yoghurt and a tempering of spices. It is often served chilled with a side of pickle and papadum. The dish is known for its comforting nature and is easy on the stomach. 

It is also believed to have cooling properties, making it a popular choice during hot summer days. Curd Rice can be made with various types of rice, including white rice, brown rice, and even millet or quinoa. It is often served as a part of a meal or as a Prasadam in temples. 

The dish is known by different names in different regions, such as Thayir Sadam in Tamil Nadu, Mosaranna in Karnataka, and Daddojanam in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana

Lemon rice

Lemon Rice is a popular South Indian dish that combines cooked rice with lemon juice and a tempering of spices. The dish is known by different names in different regions, such as Chitranna in Kannada, Nimmakaya Pulihora in Telugu, and Elumichai Sadam in Tamil.

The tempering typically includes mustard seeds, urad dal, chana dal, curry leaves, green chillies, dried red chillies, and fresh ginger. The dish is often served with curd, pickle, chutney, salad, or fried snacks like masala vada, papad, or pakora.

It can also be made with leftover rice and is a common travel food due to its long shelf life


Pongal is a significant harvest festival celebrated by the Tamil community, particularly in South India. It is a time to express gratitude to the Sun, Mother Nature, and farm animals for their contributions to a successful harvest.

The festival typically lasts for three days and is observed around mid-January, coinciding with the winter solstice. During Pongal, rice is boiled in milk and offered first to the gods, then to cows, and finally to family members as a symbol of prosperity and abundance.

The celebration involves various rituals, decorations with sugarcane and turmeric, and the preparation of traditional dishes like sweet and savoury Pongal.

The savoury version of Pongal, known as Ven Pongal or Khara Pongal, is a delicious South Indian dish made with rice and yellow moong lentils seasoned with spices like asafoetida, curry leaves, ginger, and black pepper.

it is often served during Hindu festivals and is considered a comforting and flavorful dish enjoyed by many.


Pulao, also known as Pilaf, is a flavorful rice dish that is popular in Indian cuisine. It is made by cooking rice with a variety of spices, herbs, and vegetables in a pot. Pulao can be made with different variations, including vegetarian and non-vegetarian versions.

The dish is known for its aromatic flavours and is often served on its own or paired with accompaniments like raita, pickle, and papadum. The preparation of Pulao involves cooking the rice with whole spices to create a rich aroma that permeates the dish.

Various vegetables like carrots, peas, beans, cauliflower, and capsicum can be added to enhance the flavour and nutritional value of the Pulao. Additionally, ingredients like fried onions, dry fruits, nuts, saffron strands, and even coconut milk can be incorporated to elevate the taste of the dish and give it a restaurant-style touch.

Pulao can be cooked using different methods such as in a pan or pot, pressure cooker, Instant Pot, electric cooker, or microwave oven. The key to making a delicious Pulao lies in rinsing the rice well to remove excess starch, soaking it for optimal fluffiness, and maintaining the right rice-to-water ratio during cooking.

Coriander Rice

Coriander Rice, also known as Cilantro Rice, is a flavorful rice dish made with cooked Basmati rice, fresh coriander leaves, spices, and sometimes vegetables. The dish is known for its aromatic and spiced flavours.

To prepare Coriander Rice, a paste is made by blending coriander leaves, green chillies, ginger, garlic, cumin seeds, and other spices. This paste is then sautéed in oil before adding the cooked rice to ensure even coating.

The dish can be garnished with lime juice and seasoned with salt and pepper for added taste. Coriander Rice can be served as a standalone dish or paired with curries like lamb curry or seafood. It offers a unique twist to traditional rice preparations with its vibrant green colour and fresh taste.

Tamarind Rice

Tamarind Rice, also known as Puliyodharai, is a popular South Indian dish that offers a unique blend of tangy, sour, and spiced flavours. The dish is made by combining cooked rice with a special tamarind paste and spices.

The tamarind paste is prepared by soaking tamarind in water and extracting its juice, which is then cooked with spices and tempering ingredients like mustard seeds, lentils, peanuts, and curry leaves. This flavorful mixture is then mixed with cooked rice to create the delicious Tamarind Rice.

The dish can be served as a main course and is often accompanied by fried papads or garnish for added texture, Pulihora is a refreshing and flavorful side dish or light lunch option.

Traditional Rice Dishes in India

Indian traditional rice dishes are a mirror of the food culture of each area. People love these meals because they taste like they did when they were first made. Here are some of India’s most well-known traditional rice recipes from different parts of the country.

North Indian Rice Dishes

North Indian cuisine is known for its rich and indulgent flavours. Rice dishes like biryani and pulao are popular in this region. Biryani is a fragrant rice dish cooked with meat, vegetables and a blend of aromatic spices.

It is often garnished with fried onions, nuts, and fresh herbs, adding an extra layer of flavour and texture. Pulao, on the other hand, is a lighter version of biryani, where the rice is cooked with a mix of vegetables and spices. It is a one-pot meal that is easy to prepare and perfect for a quick lunch or dinner.

South Indian Rice Dishes

South Indian cuisine is known for its use of rice and a wide variety of spices. Rice is the staple food in this region, and it is consumed in the form of idlis, dosas, and rice-based dishes like tamarind rice and lemon rice.

Idlis are soft and fluffy steamed rice cakes, which are typically served with coconut chutney and sambar. Dosas are thin and crispy rice and lentil pancakes, which are often served with a variety of chutneys and sambar. Tamarind rice and lemon rice are tangy and flavorful rice dishes that are packed with the goodness of spices and herbs.

East Indian Rice Dishes

East Indian cuisine is characterized by its simplicity and use of local ingredients. Rice is a staple in this region, and dishes like khichdi and pakhala are popular. Khichdi is a comforting one-pot meal made with rice, lentils, and vegetables.

It is often flavoured with ghee and spices, making it a wholesome and nourishing dish. Pakhala is a unique rice dish from Odisha, where cooked rice is soaked in water and fermented overnight. It is served with an assortment of side dishes like fried fish, curries, and pickles.

West Indian Rice Dishes

West Indian cuisine is known for its bold flavours and spicy dishes. Rice dishes like biryani and vada pav are popular in this region. Biryani in the western part of India has its unique flavours and is often made with a combination of meat and potatoes.

It is rich and aromatic, with layers of rice and meat cooked together. Vada pav, on the other hand, is a popular street food from Mumbai, where a spicy potato fritter is sandwiched between a bun and served with chutneys and fried green chillies.

Popular Fusion Rice Dishes in India

With the growing influence of globalization, fusion rice dishes have become increasingly popular in India. These dishes combine elements of traditional Indian cuisine with international flavours, creating a unique and exciting culinary experience.

Some popular fusion rice dishes include Indo-Chinese fried rice, biryani with a twist, and rice bowls with global toppings. These dishes showcase the creativity and innovation of Indian chefs, who are constantly pushing the boundaries of traditional cooking.

To conclude

India’s love affair with rice transcends mere sustenance; it’s a symphony of flavours and textures woven into the very fabric of its cuisine. Each region boasts its own unique rice dish, a testament to the country’s vibrant culinary heritage.

From the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas to the sun-drenched beaches of Kerala, rice takes centre stage, offering an explosion of tastes and aromas.

In the North, fragrant biryanis reign supreme. These layered masterpieces, often cooked in sealed pots (dum), are a celebration of rice, meat, spices, and aromatics.

The Hyderabadi biryani, with its saffron-infused rice and succulent meat, is a crown jewel, while the Lucknowi biryani, known for its delicate flavours and use of rosewater, offers a contrasting experience.

Venture south and the rice landscape transforms. Here, simplicity reigns supreme. Lemony puddles of curd rice, vibrant coconut milk-based dishes like Kerala’s ghee rice, and the tangy tamarind-infused Puliyogare are just a glimpse into the South’s diverse rice repertoire.

Sambar rice, a comforting combination of lentil stew and rice, is a staple in many South Indian households.

But the Indian rice odyssey doesn’t end there. Khichdi, a comforting one-pot meal of rice and lentils, transcends regional boundaries, offering a warm hug in a bowl.

For a taste of the West, try the vibrantly coloured Ukala rice, a Maharashtrian speciality known for its unique blend of spices and vegetables.

The beauty of Indian rice dishes lies in their versatility. Whether you’re a vegetarian or a meat lover, there’s a rice dish waiting to tantalize your taste buds. Each region offers a plethora of options, catering to every palate and dietary preference.

So, embark on this culinary adventure. Experiment with different spices, explore regional specialities and discover your own favourite rice dish.  With every bite, you’ll not only experience a burst of flavour but also delve into the rich cultural tapestry of India. After all, in the land of spices and celebrations, rice isn’t just a grain; it’s a canvas for culinary artistry.

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