Nasi bryani is such a common dish in Singapore, and every single Indian store I know sells it. It is so delicious and fragrant. Yet, there are so many different recipes out there, all with their own way of cooking, their own colors etc etc etc.
I choose not to follow any recipe, but create the dish out of my own memory of what I know the bryani is supposed to taste like. Growing up in Singapore means that we eat this dish on a frequent basis and half a century of doing that certainly gives us some knowledge. Really, we don’t have to be Indians to understand a little about the Indian culture. In Singapore, we love our food, and nasi bryani is Indian, no doubt, but it has become our food, no matter what our race is.

Nasi Bryani


  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 2 Tbsp ghee
  • 5 shallots or 1/2 big red onion sliced thinly
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 4 cardamon pods
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 2 basil leaves dried
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp ground coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp chicken powder
  • 1/3 cup yogurt + 1 Tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 small tomato diced small
  • 1/2 cup raisins optional


  • 3 Tbsp roasted cashew nuts


  • Melt the ghee in a medium hot pot.
  • Add the cardamon pods, basil leaves and cloves and fry for 5 minutes.
  • Crush the cardamon pods in the pot, and then add the garlic and onions/shallots.
  • When the onions are light brown, all the spices and then the rice and mix well.
  • Add 11/2 of water or follow the instructions on the basmati rice package.
  • Turn the heat up to high and once the water boils, lower to medium.
  • When the rice is visibly dry, turn it to low heat and cover the pot.
  • Cook until the rice is cooked.
  • I serve with tandoori chicken, a raita, and a cauliflower and potato curry.

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