Vegetable Biryani


  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 3 tbsp canola oil [or olive oil]
  • 2 tbsp ghee [clarified butter]
  • 1 large red onion,sliced
  • 2 tsp garlic-ginger paste
  • 1 cup finely chopped tomatoes
  • 1 /2 cup plain greek yogurt / thick yogurt
  • Salt to taste
  • Chopped fresh cilantro, fried brown onions for garnish

Dry Spices

  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4-5 black pepper corns
  • 2-3 dry red chillies
  • 3 cloves
  • 3 green cardamom pods, crushed open
  • 1 stick cinnamon

Powdered Spices

  • 2 tsp red chilli powder [adjust to taste]
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp dry coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala

Vegetables : {You can any vegetables of choice, I m writing proportions and kind I used}

  • 1 cup potatoes, peeled and 1/2 ” cubed
  • 1/2 cup cauliflower florets
  • 1/2 cup green beans, cut small
  • 1/4 cup carrots, diced
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas


Thoroughly was the rice in 2-3 streams of water.Let the rice soak in enough water for at least 2 hours.Drain the rice after soaking, transfer to a heavy bottomed pot with at least 7 cups of salted water and cook it till 90% cooked. Note: The rice cooking time will depend upon the quality and type of rice both.My variety takes approx 20 minutes. Once cooked, drain the rice and set aside.

In a heavy bottomed pot with lid , heat the oil on high heat for about 2 minutes.Add the ghee [clarified butter] to the pan followed by sliced onions.Fry the onions untill golden brown.Add the ginger garlic paste and cook for about 2 minutes.Next tip in the chopped tomatoes, all the spices except garam masala and yogurt.Cook for at least 10 minutes on medium heat until the oil starts separating on the sides of the pot.Next, lower the heat and add yogurt to the mix.Stir for about 3 minutes on low heat.[Tip: Any recipe which calls for using yogurt, just ensure that you lower the heat and then add yogurt.Cooking on low heat with yogurt is important to avoid the curdling]

Next, add the potatoes, beans, carrots and cauliflower florets to the pan with 1/2 cup water and cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes covered or until the vegetables are tender.Add the peas now along with salt to taste and garam masala..Cook uncovered for another 5 minutes on medium heat or till they are tender.Once done, remove from heat.


In the same heavy bottomed pot, spread 1/3 of the cooked rice at the bottom.Layer half of the cooked vegetables on this layer and sprinkle with chopped cilantro.Spread again with 1/3 of the rice and spread rest of the cooked vegetables and cilantro.Cover with remaining cooked rice. Note: You can create as many layers of rice & vegetables as you want.

Next, dampen a clean, thick cloth with water large enough to cover the mouth of the pot.Cover the pot with this damp cloth, put the lid tightly on the pot and set the pot to a very low heat. [Alternatively, you can place the pot on top of a tawa/griddle to reduce heat further] This method is called Dum cooking wherein, the contents of the pot cook on very low heat in their own juices and develop flavors. Cook like this for at least 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, remove from heat.Do not remove the lid or cloth immediately.Let the rice set for about 10 minutes. Mix rice gently with the vegetables and add 2 tbsp of melted ghee [optional]

Spoon into a serving dish, garnish with chopped cilantro and deep-fried onions.Serve with pickle, raita or salad.

Recipe for cucumber mint raita here.


Sending this to Hearth n Soul #40

56 thoughts on “Vegetable Biryani

  1. Tanvi, this looks so flavorful! I would so love this dish. I could eat it on its own, but would probably make a protein on the side for my husband. 🙂

  2. I tried going vegetarian too but it lasted a good few days only. I’m just not cut out for it and you’re right, love those fried drum sticks too much 🙂 But this biryani I could do. Looking good Tanvi 🙂

  3. I eat mostly vegetarian too, because i try really hard to watch my calories (though actually I do love meat). It has had its problems though, and I think I’m anaemic again :(, I really haven’t been well these last couple weeks and now I need to start taking iron pills again. THat being said, this briyani does look awesome daaaaahling.
    *kisses* HH

  4. Oh Tanvi, you have definitely outdone yourself. You must be crazy if you think I’m not going to try this. I can’t wait to try this girl lol. Now I am excited.

  5. Okay as a teenagers I always wanted to go vegetarian and the longest I went was 1 month and then I realized it was not for me. I blame my family though- a heavy non veg eating family I have 😉 And whats with Indian’s loving KFC – I’m tried of Indian colleagues always wanting KFC! Lovely Biryani Tanvi – one of the few ways to feed M vegs.

  6. I was a non veg lover, but after marriage, i slowly turned towards veg food. Now I don’t miss many Non veg dishes, probably time….
    The rice is elegant!

  7. Delicious Everyday – Freelance food photographer & stylist. Portfolio at Vegetarian food blogger at Delicious Everyday
    delicieux on said:

    Oooh yum this looks SO delicious. I’m only just getting into cooking real Indian food at home so I will have to try this.

    By the way, like you I have a meat eating other half. My boyfriend loves meat, but thankfully he’s happy to go without meat most of the week, in fact he now enjoys vegetarian food, whereas he ate meat with every meal before we met.

  8. Balanced Grettie – I eat a whole foods gluten-free and grain free diet. I am on a quest for health and see food as medicine. Nutrition has always been a key interest of mine. I am a certified Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and Fitness Nutrition Specialist who believes in the power of properly prepared, nutrient dense whole foods. I think food quality is paramount; grassfed, pastured, organic meats are FAR superior to conventionally raised protein sources and organic produce is much more nutrient dense than conventionally grown produce.
    veggiegrettie on said:

    This looks so flavorful!

  9. Lubna Karim – Chennai, India – Lubna Karim, the face behind ‘Yummy Food’. A science student turned into a management graduate finally ending up in the kitchen, experimenting and experiencing the joys of cooking…..along with enjoying her mommyhood being mom to a cute girl...
    Lubna Karim on said:

    Wow…….extremely yummy…….love that dum punht method…..biryani looks flavorful, aromatic and “sinfully spicy”……………….just bowled by u r pictures….

  10. this looks savory and delicious! wow, thanks for sharing your vegetarian eating story. i am a vegan right now and i wonder if i’ll become an omnivore if i get married! hahaha. yes for me too – it is for health and preference. but i don’t ever crave meat anymore!

  11. I did the vegetarian thing for a few years too, in my teens and early college years – until I met the boy actually. Now I eat chicken a few days of the week.
    Your birayni looks delicious – so colorful and inviting somehow…

  12. Tanvi , this is so heartily delicious i tell u ….
    And i go vegetarian too , out of choice , many a times for a long stretch of time and u don’t want to know the reason on a food blog :-)))
    And it aint at all difficult for me , and if u’d know the reason u’ll understand why :-))))
    Infact i relish veg more than anything during these phases and righ now would be totally delighted with a plateful of the this biryani served on ur pretty plate.

  13. I’m really seriously toying with being vegetarian right now (or maybe a vegetarian who eats fish!) for health and environmental reasons. I just feel better about eating veggies than I do meat, what can I say. This biryani looks so delicious! Love all the spices.

  14. Tanvi, I came back to check your blog and fell in love with this dish all over again. I don’t know what it is but this looks delicious! I love it.

  15. The biryani looks so lovely… The presentation is awesome… I like the way you have explained in a simple and neat way… Wow..!!! not to mention trhe pics which is aimply stunning..

  16. It is true that we should not eat meat very often. Your dish is an excellent alternative and it is also beautiful in the eye too.

  17. Tanvi, what a beautiful combination of flavors. Can’t wait try it along with the low heat method for developing more complexity in the dish. Good for you for being so determined to improve your husband’s eating habits. I know from experience that it is a tough battle.

  18. Hi Tanvi, I am giggling with you because I too have spent time back and forth with the vegan thing and I found out the reason we finally go off it is because there are no sources of vegetarian B-12 and so your body starts to crave meat to get that important vitamin for your brain as well as saturated fat so we can be healthy. I do love vegetarian food and this biryani looks so good! I think it is important to listen to your body and give it what it needs, you are doing just that! No right or wrong with this–just want works for your health! thanks so much for sharing your story and recipe on the hearth and soul hop! All the best, Alex

  19. First time to ur space and loved going thru ur recipe collection. awesome clicks. Glad to follow you. Keep up the good job.

  20. I bet he did not miss the meat in that dish! Looks so colorful! I love basmati rice and I am doing the same thing with trying to balance the meat vs veggies. I just took an inventory of the shopping list and realized too much meat coming in the house. I;ll give this a try with all the veggies in the freezer and see what comes up 🙂

  21. Gosh- those pics are so pretty, I wish I could reach in and grab a scoop! I love a good biryani but have been intimated by other recipes I’ve seen. I’m going to give this one a try. Thanks for sharing.

  22. First time here…..

    U have a wonderful space,with delicious recipes. love to follow u 🙂

    Biryani looks perfect and awesome clicks ….

  23. This looks delicious; I can’t wait to try it. Thanks for the recipe!

  24. My students have made me variations of this, too. I love it and it is absolutely healthy and satisfying, but my carnivore would NEVER find this satisfactory. You have really accomplished something by getting your husband to enjoy and be satisfied by this kind of eating 5 days a week. I would LOVE to do that. It is impossible here…. at least, now.

  25. I empathize with your husband, you did mention he is a Bengali. Like him, I too, like true Bong find it difficult to have vegetarian food for more than a day which is Thursday. Mum’s vegetarian cooking is something I relish including her veg biryani which is as yummy as your’s looks. However on my recent trip to Uttarakhand I enjoyed the vegetarian fare particularly the vegetarian continental food.Thanks to the foreign tourists the chefs seem to be quite adept at cooking continental food. For the first time I had a vegetarian birthday.

  26. Help. I am making this right now, because I love your recipes, but this recipe calls for yogurt in the ingredient list, but I don’t see where to add it??


    • Thanks for pointing out Wendy.I m so sorry for the inconvenience .I just updated the recipe about adding the yogurt.
      I read and re read my recipes but sometime miss when ingredients are more.I need to be more careful.
      Thanks for trying it.Do let me know how you like it.

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  29. Pingback: Another try at the Biryani | My Kitchen Trials

  30. Hi

    I tried this biryani and it came out wonderfully. I have posted it in my blog.
    I really liked the way you have grouped the ingredients. This way, we don’t miss anything out.
    Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe and the step by step description.


  31. Pingback: Vegetable Biryani | My Kitchen Trials

  32. rheena74 – Sudden interest in the culinary world has led me here....well actually I came across some beautiful food blogs which were absolutely mesmerizing! and then came Jamie Oliver,Gordon Ramsay..Kylie Kwong....but you will be surprised that I never really cooked much of my life..I even used to stay away from the kitchen cos I could never cut onions the same thickness! But after having 2 kids, a boy and a girl.. My interest in healthy eating was stirred. Weird they don't teach you healthy eating in med school ! ;) I started this blog firstly so that I can find the recipes I've tried and tested easily.. And so that my friends can access it easily too. I love a cooking challenge and though I had started off just cooking but the plating part came on after watching season after season of Masterchef Australia! After that I've been on a roll! ;) Anyway I try posting regularly when I find the time and many recipes are after work kind of recipes, so I hope you guys will try them out and leave your comments. Live strong and live with passion!
    rheena on said:

    forgot to leave a comment..i tried it last week and it was fabulous!!!

  33. Firasz – A passionate fellow about nature, life and photography, also loves to write a few lines occasionally.
    Firasz on said:

    Great presentation. Looks to be really yummy biriyani..

    Cant leave without saying that the photos you presented really adds a flavour and I really like that takes 🙂


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