3.8/5 rating (18 votes)

Vegetable Biryani

Spicy Vegetables Layered in Fragrant Basmati Rice

  • Heat Mild
  • Serves 6
  • Prep 30 mins
  • Marinade 30 mins
  • Cook 40 mins
Vegetable Biryani

A wonderfully aromatic biryani flavoured dish with decadent spices and baked with layers of fragrant basmati rice.

Hari says

The delicious medley of vegetables makes this biryani a light dish, while the spices add a wonderful sense of warmth. This is a Hyderabadi-style vegetable biryani which comes from the land of the nawabs, so like any biryani, it's about decadence and deliciousness. 

As soon as you take the lid off the pan your friends will be in awe of what you've made - and want more!

To buy the main ingredients for my Biryani, check out my curry kit here.

  • Ingredients
  • Method


  • 300g basmati rice
  • 2 green cardamoms
  • 2 black cardamoms
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3cm cassia bark
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 single mace strands
  • ½ tsp salt


  • 150g cauliflower florets
  • 100g carrots, chopped
  • 50g French beans, chopped
  • 10 button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 small red pepper, chopped 
  • 50g cup fresh or frozen peas
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 3cm ginger, grated
  • 8 garlic cloves, sliced

Vegetable Masala

  • 3 tbsp ghee (or oil if you prefer)
  • 1 tsp shahi jeera (black cumin)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 green cardamoms
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 black cardamon
  • 4cm cassia bark
  • 200g yoghurt, fresh whisked
  • 4 green chillies, whole
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tbsp cashews
  • 1 tbsp sultanas/raisins
  • 2 tbsp almonds, blanched, peeled and sliced
  • Salt as required for assembling and layering
  • Handful fresh coriander leaves, chopped
  • Handful mint leaves, chopped
  • 4 to 5 tbsp milk
  • ¼ tsp saffron
  • 2 tsp kewra water (screwpine water)



  1. Rinse basmati rice in 3 or 4 changes of water until the water runs clear of starch.
  2. Soak the rice in enough water to cover the rice for 30 minutes. Drain the rice and keep aside.

To cook the rice

  1. Heat 300ml water in a deep pan. Once hot, add salt, bay leaf, 2 green cardamoms (cracked), 2 cloves, 2 black cardamom, 3cm cassia bark, mace strands.
  2. Bring the water to a boil, add the rice and stir gently.
  3. Leave it to boil for about 5 minutes until the rice is almost cooked. The grains should have a slight bite to them when cooked.
  4. Drain the rice in a colander, gently fluff and keep aside. Remove the whole spices.


  1. Prepare all the vegetables and keep to one side and slice the onions.

Vegetable Masala

  1. In a pan, heat 3 tbsp ghee and add the whole spices (Shai jeera bay leaf, 3 green cardamoms, 3 cloves, 1 black cardamom, cassia bark) and sauté until the spices crackle and become fragrant.
  2. Add the sliced onions, stir and sauté on a medium heat until they brown. This will take about 20 minutes. Remove a few of the brown onions and set to one side.
  3. Beat the yoghurt with a whisk until it's soft and smooth.
  4. Mince the ginger and garlic in a blender or in a pestle and mortar.
  5. Once onions are golden brown, add the minced ginger and garlic paste, green chillies and the salt. Continue to cook for 5 or 6 minutes.
  6. Stir in the turmeric, red chilli powder and coriander powder and mix together. 
  7. Add all the chopped vegetables and sauté for a minute or two.
  8. Stir in the whipped yoghurt and leave the vegetables to cook - you may need to add a little splash of water.
  9. Once the vegetables are soft and the gravy has a thick consistency, add the cashews, raisins and almonds to the masala.
  10. Stir and check the seasoning and set to one side to cool a little.

 Saffron Milk

  1. Warm 5 tbsp milk.
  2. Add a large pinch of saffron strands - stir and keep aside.

Making the Biryani

  1. Heat the oven to 180ºC.
  2. In a thick bottomed pan, layer half of the gravy, then layer half of the rice on top.
  3. Sprinkle half of the chopped coriander, mint leaves, reserved browned onions and saffron milk before adding the next layer the remaining vegetables.
  4. Layer the remainder of the rice on top and sprinkle the remaining coriander, mint leaves, saffron milk and brown onions on the top.
  5. Sprinkle 2 tsp of kewra water.
  6. Seal with aluminium foil and place a lid on top. 
  7. Bake the biryani in the oven for 20-25 minutes until piping hot, then serve.

Served with

Delicious with a lentil dhal.

Foodies100 Index of UK Food Blogs

Nutritional information

Typical values* per Serving
Fat (g)23
of which saturates (g)9
Carbohydrates (g)43
of which sugars (g)7
Fibre (g)5
Protein (g)17
Salt (mg)485
*Based upon calculated values, supplied by myfitnesspal.com. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated.

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Comments (2)

  • Gary Munday

    Gary Munday

    03 February 2018 at 08:25 |
    Can this dish be pre prepared and frozen? I need some dishes that I can just reheat on the cooker or in the oven whilst on Holiday.


    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      05 February 2018 at 17:10 |
      Hi Gary It can be but you must cool it down very quickly and freeze it. Then defrost and reheat it until it's piping hot. Are you are vegetarian? If not the meat dishes tend to freeze better then veg. Let me know if you want suggestions Thanks Hari


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