Brinji Rice Recipe | Tamil Nadu Brinji Sadham Recipe
My introduction to Brinji was at a South Indian wedding. Aromatic and tantalising, this simple looking rice was extremely appetizing.  I was at an age when the food mattered more than its origin or method of cooking. So, the only retention was the taste of the dish that remains fresh till date! Fast forward many years and now the curiosity about the name and its inception exceeds the flavor profile! How times change :) Brinji is placed somewhere between a Pulao and a Biryani. Adding coconut milk along with spices makes it very aromatic and a perfect accompaniment for either a spicy gravy or just a simple raita. You can check out the interesting theory for its origin here: Origin of Brinji
Brinji Rice Recipe | Tamil Nadu Brinji Sadham Recipe
While you can use the following recipe to make it on a regular stove top, I use OPOS® method in order to maximize the aroma and flavor.  The rice cooks mostly using the juices of the vegetables and the aroma is packed since it's cooked in a pressure cooker. Its a bit more precise than regular cooking, a bit more on the lines of baking. While it curtails you on eyeballing your ingredients, it gives back with loads of time saved, minimal energy/gas/water expenditure along with  enhanced aroma, flavor and nutrition.  This simple Brinji rice is one such great example. 
  • Cook time:
  • Prep time:
  • Serves: Makes enough for 3-4 people as a part of a multiple course meal
  • Yields: Around 4 cups of Rice
Ingredients
  • 1 cup medium grained/long grained Rice
  • 1-1/2 cups Mixed Vegetables, see Tips 1
  • 1/2 cup Mint, or as needed
  • 1/2 cups grated Coconut
  • 1 tsp Chilli powder, or to taste
  • 1 tsp Ginger-Garlic paste, see Tips 2
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 tsp Pepper powder
  • 1/4 cup Coconut Milk
  • 1 tbsp Ghee
  • 2-3 Bay Leaves
  • 1 cup chopped Onion
  • Salt to taste
Tips
1. Mixed Vegetables: The most commonly used vegetables for this Brinji rice are Potatoes, Carrots, Peas and Green Beans. But you can use any vegetables of your choice. Just make sure you chop all the vegetables about the same size for even cooking. This is especially important in OPOS® cooking.

2. Ginger Garlic Paste: I use a homemade precooked Ginger garlic paste that I make using my pressure cooker. Will post the recipe soon. If using your own/store bought, there is a possibility that it might taste raw. So use a little as a caution the first time around and take it from there. Although, I have to say that when I have used store bought ginger-garlic paste, I have not faced that issue personally.
Method
1. Wash the rice multiple times until it runs clear. Soak for at least 15 minutes. This pre soak helps not only in cooking faster but also in consuming less water while cooking.
2. While that's soaking, prepare the vegetables and add them to a bowl.  The choice of vegetables is upto you. You would need  1-1/2 cups worth.  I have used a combination of carrots, sprouted dried peas, green beans (from garden).
3. Next add the grated coconut along with mint. You can grind the coconut into paste and then add it as well if you don't care for the texture. We don't mind hence I choose to use it as it is.
4. Add in the salt and the spices along with the coconut milk.  Set aside.
5. In a 2L /3L pressure cooker, start layering beginning with first ghee, followed by
6. 2 bay leaves,(less or more depending on the quality/size of your bay leaves), then
7. onions,
8. followed by the half of mixed vegetables,
9. then the soaked & drained Basmati rice,
10. topping that with the remaining mixed vegetables.
11. Sprinkle / add in 1 cup water.
12. Close the lid and cook on medium-high for 2 whistles. On a Gas Stove - High would be when the flame covers the base of the pressure cooker. Don't let the flames reach the sides of the cooker to avoid (rubber) handles melting!
13. The pressure would be built around 5 minute mark with High flame.  The safety valve will stop jiggling and protrude after which the whistles will follow soon after.  If it's not and/or it is but whistles are not coming, remove and check to see if the pressure is not leaking on the sides. Need to check your casket in that case. Switch off immediately if you smell burning and open the pressure cooker. Usually the smell starts a little before the food is really burnt and you might be able to save your dish. Hence it's important to make sure your equipment is in good working condition. My first whistle came around 8 minutes. followed by the second one in 30 seconds. Check out What is OPOS? and OPOS- FAQ for more details.
14. Switch off and let the pressure settle on its own - around 10minutes.
15. This is how it looks upon opening.
16. Fluff the rice with a fork and to combine.
Serve this warm with either a spicy gravy and/or raitha. On this particular day, we enjoyed it with a simple Onion Raita and home grown sliced cucumbers.
Brinji Rice Recipe | Tamil Nadu Brinji Sadham Recipe

Ideal Accompaniments

Cucumber Raita By DK on Apr 25, 2011
Mint Raita By DK on Jul 31, 2010
Tomato Raita By DK on Jun 13, 2012

Recipe Reference

Minimally adapted from OPOS® Manual Recipe

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3 Comments

By Darren on Jul 22, 2017

Hi Linda! To convert recipes that use Indian whistle type pressure cookers, you need to select the main ingredient from a pressure cooking chart and use that as a starting point; rice in this case. Here is one I've frequently used: https://fastcooking.ca/pressure_cookers/cooking_times_pressure_cooker.php. It's important to note that standard American pressure cookers operate at 15 psi of pressure. The Indian type is lower and in fact Instapot is 11-12 although some models are 15. You may want to do some searching to see if you can find a cooking time table for your model. Always start with the lowest time and add a minute if needed. Keep in mind vegetables only take a couple of minutes and rice can be very fast (we made risotto for dinner last night and it onlt took 6 minutes). If you add more than 1-2 extra minutes at a time, you may end up with mush before you know it! After a couple of tries, you'll know the times for your model that can be used for most recipes. Good luck!

Wow! Thanks a bunch Darren. This is so helpful for all of us. Appreciate all the details :) --DK

By claudette lerma on Jul 21, 2017

What if you don't have a pressure cooker, can you still make the rice & can you use mixed frozen vegetables?

Definitely Claudette. Instead of layering in the pressure cooker, you just need to add the ingredients one by one, saute them in a pan, add rice and 1-1/2- 2 cups water and cook like you would cook a regular pulao. If you need specific instructions please let me know. I will update the post with those details as well. Thank you :) --DK

By Linda on Jul 21, 2017

Any idea on doing this in an InstantPot in terms of time, etc.?

Linda, please refer to Darren's very well summarized answer for you. I am not an instant pot user myself and hence cannot contribute much to that thought process. I had asked a friend with one and the only thing she suggested was to use the same process but reduce the time since instapot cooks in even lesser time. So keep an eye from half way mark and work around the process. Who knows, your version might turn out even better with instapot! Hope this helps. --DK