Bengali Butter Rice (Bengali Ghee Bhaat)

The name of this popular Bengali pilaf, ghee bhat, refers to the ghee, or clarified butter that it is cooked with. You can buy ghee at some grocery stores, Indian markets, and online. The rice is delicious with most fish dishes.

Serves: 4Hands-on: 15 minutesTotal: 40 minutesDifficulty: Easy

Serves: 4


  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 3 Tbsp. clarified butter
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cinnamon stick (1”)
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 black peppercorns
  • 2 green cardamom pods, bruised
  • 2 cups water
  • Table salt, to taste


  • Wash the rice at least 3 to 4 times with water. Drain and set aside.
  • In a deep pan, heat the butter. Add the bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns, and cardamoms. When the whole spices begin to sizzle (about 1 minute), add the rice and mix well.
  • Add the water and salt; stir for 1 minute. Bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat. Loosely cover the rice with a lid and cook for about 12 to 15 minutes or until most of the water has evaporated. You will see small craters forming on top of the rice.
  • Cover tightly and reduce the heat to the lowest setting; simmer for another 5 to 6 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for about 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving.