15 July 2013

Vegetable Biryani

People who are regular readers on my blog would know by now how much I love biryanis. I never stop from trying out different varieties. This time it is the vegetable biryani.
I have had vegetable biryanis many times but never liked it, so I would always stick to making pulao. This time I thought why not give it a try to make it at home. And I loved it. There was a perfect blend of spices and the subtle taste of the vegetables.

Vegetable Biryani
(Printable Recipe)


To make ghee rice:

Short grain rice - 3 cups
Onion - 1 thinly sliced
Cloves/ Grambu - 3
Cinnamon/ Patta - 2" two pieces
Cardamom/ Elakka - 1
Mace/ Jatipathri - 2
Fennel Seeds/ Perumjeerakam  - 1 tbsp
Star Anise/ Thakkolam- 1
Nutmeg /Jathikka - 1/4 piece
Water - 6 1/4 cup (for rice) 
Clarified Butter/Ghee - 1 tbsp 

For masala:
Onion - 2 cups, finely chopped
Carrot - 1 cup, cleaned and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
Beans - 1 cup, cleaned and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
Cauliflower - 1 cup, cut into small florets 
Frozen peas - 1/2 cup
Potato - 1/2 cup, cleaned and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
Tomato - 2 medium size
Lime - juice of 1 small lime
Fresh Cream - 4 tbsp
Coriander Powder - 2 tbsp
Sugar - 1 tsp
Salt - as required
Oil - 3 tbsp
Ghee - 1 tbsp
Thick Curd - 4 tbsp
Milk - 1/4 cup
Saffron - 6 strands
Water - 1 cup 
Coriander leaves - 2 tbsp

To make paste:
Kashmiri Chilly - 4
Cumin - 1/2 tsp
Cardomom - 4
Cinnamon - 2 inch piece
Clove - 4
Coriander Seeds - 2 tsp
Cashewnuts - 3 tbsp (approx 15 )
Peppercorns - 4
Green Chilly - 2
Garlic - 4
Ginger - 1 inch piece chopped roughly
Water -  1/4 cup 
Rose water - 10 ml

For garnishing
Fried Onions - 2 medium onions thinly sliced
Cashews - 10
Kismis - 2 tbsp
Oil - for frying onions
Coriander Leaves - 1/2 cup finely chopped


Preparation of Ghee Rice:
Wash and strain the rice.
Measure 5 1/4 cup water and boil it along with the spices - Cloves, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Mace, Cumin Seeds, Star Anise and Nutmeg.
Add salt.
In the meantime in a kadai/ non stick vessel heat the ghee and fry the onion till it turns translucent. Add the rice and fry for 5 minutes on medium flame. Keep stirring.
Strain and pour in the boiling water into the rice. Stir once slowly. Check salt and close tightly. Lower flame. The rice will be done in 10-15 minutes.

Preparation of the masala:
Cut the cauliflower into small florets. Wash and soak it in warm water with 1/4 tsp turmeric and salt. 
Chop the other vegetables.
Soak the saffron in warm milk and keep aside.
Boil the carrots, beans, potato and cauliflower by adding salt and 1 cup water. When the vegetables are almost cooked add the peas. When cooked switch off flame and keep aside.
Heat a seasoning pan. Dry roast the kashmiri chilly, cumin seeds, pepper, coriander seeds, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon till everything is warm and the aroma of the spices emanates. Keep swirling the pan.
Transfer this masala into a grinder, powder it. Then add the cashew, green chilly and garlic. Make a fine paste by adding water as required.
Heat a wok / Kadai heat the ghee along with oil. Fry the cashews till golden and transfer to a plate lined with kitchen roll. Fry the kismis, when it bloats up remove and place on the same plate.
Saute the onions till brown. 
Tip in the coriander powder and saute.
Add in the ground masala and stir for a minute on medium flame.
Add in the tomato, sugar, salt, cream and 2 tbsp curd. Stir well and let cook for 2-3 minutes on low flame stirring occasionally.
Add in lime, coriander leaves, half of the cooked vegetables.
Fry the onions and transfer to a colander or plate lined with kitchen roll.

Fluff up the rice using a fork. Add the remaining curd to half the rice. Mix well.
Add the milk with saffron to the other part of the rice. Mix slightly.
In a deep, wide, thick bottom vessel put a layer of masala. Then a layer of rice. Layer the vegetables.
Sprinkle the kismis, cashews, coriander leaves and fried onions.
Continue to layer in the same way and in such a way that the masala is not on the top layer.
Sprinkle the rose water.
Close with a tight lid. Place an inverted mortar on the lid.
Switch on the flame to low and let cook for 10 minutes. 
Remove from flame, fluff up the rice a bit and serve with raita, chutney and pappad.


  • I used short grain rice but you can use basmati rice. In that case soak it for 1/2 hour and use water in 1: 1 1/2 ratio.
  • I like to cook the water for the ghee rice with the spices and then remove them before adding to the rice. I prefer not to bite into these spices while having the biryani. You can avoid the straining if you prefer to see the spices in the biryani.
  • This is not a spicy biryani. Increase the spice level as per tolerance.
  • For frying onions make sure you slice it very thin. I slice it in my Philips Food Processor (HL 1659) which makes it so easy to slice it real thin and evenly, all in seconds. While frying, add 1 cup at a time. Stir once you see the tips of the onions start to turn golden. You have to be on the watch as it will get burnt easily. Once it turns golden remove and transfer to a colander.
  • Keeping a mortar is an easier way of  making dum biryani. You can also make a dough out of  all purpose flour and seal the lid of the pan. 


  1. for the carnivore, vegetable biriyani does not fall into the biriyani category!!! this looks delicious...

  2. wow rinks thats how i like it.....gud flavours

  3. Very nice, thanks for the information.

  4. Biryani looks very tempting and delicious...

  5. A tempting & delicious biriyani//


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