Vegetable Biryani
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Packed with flavor, vegetable biryani is well-worth the effort. Set aside an afternoon the first time you attempt the recipe and don’t do anything before you cut up and measure out the ingredients. Trust me. It’ll save you a minor breakdown if this is your first time making biryani.Note – if your pot’s lid doesn’t seal perfectly, as with a Le Creuset, you will lose too much moisture for this recipe to work properly. To remedy this press aluminum foil onto the pot before covering OR seal the lid onto the pot with a piece of dough made with flour and water (this latter is the traditional method).
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 45 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
90 minutes 30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 45 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
90 minutes 30 minutes
Vegetable Biryani
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
Packed with flavor, vegetable biryani is well-worth the effort. Set aside an afternoon the first time you attempt the recipe and don’t do anything before you cut up and measure out the ingredients. Trust me. It’ll save you a minor breakdown if this is your first time making biryani.Note – if your pot’s lid doesn’t seal perfectly, as with a Le Creuset, you will lose too much moisture for this recipe to work properly. To remedy this press aluminum foil onto the pot before covering OR seal the lid onto the pot with a piece of dough made with flour and water (this latter is the traditional method).
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 45 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
90 minutes 30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 45 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
90 minutes 30 minutes
Ingredients
Basmati Rice
  • 3 cups basmati rice
  • 6 cups water
  • 10 cardamom pods (lightly cracked)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp salt
Vegetables
  • 1/3 cup ghee
  • 1 onion (sliced thinly)
  • 9 baby potatoes
  • 1 head cauliflower (cut into florets)
  • 6 carrots (peeled and cut in large chunks)
  • salt
Masala, a.k.a. spice mixture
  • 1 onion , minced
  • 1 tsp ginger root (freshly grated)
  • 2 tsp garlic (freshly grated)
  • 1-3 green chili peppers , sliced lengthwise
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tomato (diced)
  • 2 tbsp plain yogurt
For assembly
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 tsp rose water
  • 1/4 cup ghee , melted (optional)
Garnish
  • handful slivered almonds
  • handful fresh cilantro (torn)
Servings: people
Units:
Instructions
  1. Peel, slice, and prep all ingredients. To make things easier, set them out in small dishes, ready to go.
Soak the rice:
  1. Wash the basmati rice under cool water until the liquid is no longer cloudy. Soak in a bowl of clean, cool water for 30 minutes (this can soak while you prepare the vegetable masala). This step helps keep the rice from getting sticky. While the rice is soaking, put on 6 cups of water in a pot along with the whole spices and salt. Cover and gently bring to a simmer (there’s no rush here, but it speeds up getting the water to a boil later, and it helps the spices infuse the water).
  2. Keep prepping the rest of the recipe as written below – whenever the 30-minute timer goes off, follow these steps to parcook the rice: Crank the heat up on the simmering pot of water to a full boil. Drain the soaked rice and add to the pot. Gently boil for 5 minutes. The rice needs to have a little raw bite in the center or it will be mushy at the end! Strain the rice and spread in a very large platter to stop the cooking (I just use the serving platter).
Fry the garnish & brown vegetables:
  1. In a large heavy-bottomed pot with well fitting lid (you’ll use that later), heat ghee and fry the sliced onion until deep brown over medium-high. Stir often to keep from burning. When done, remove with slotted spoon onto a plate lined with a paper towel and set aside. Season with salt.
  2. Fry the potatoes, cauliflower and carrot in the remaining ghee until browned on all sides (watch for splatters when adding them to the pot). Stir once to coat everything with the ghee, then only stir occasionally or you’ll get in the way of browning. This can take a good 10-15 minutes. Season with salt, remove and set aside.
Fry the vegetable masala:
  1. To the same pot with the remaining ghee, fry the second onion (minced) along with the tomato over medium high until soft. Add the garlic, ginger, sliced green chili peppers, and the spices (red chili powder, ground coriander, ground cumin, and ground turmeric). Stir until well combined and fragrant. Cool slightly, then stir in the yogurt. Add the chopped vegetables and stir to coat in the masala. Season with salt as desired.
Layer the biryani:
  1. This is the last cooking step! Scatter the raisins on top of the vegetables, then spoon on the parcooked rice (Remove the whole spices from the rice if desired). Smooth the surface and drizzle with rose water. Drizzle on the melted ghee if you want a more indulgent biryani (I usually skip it). Cover and cook over low/medium-low for about 45 minutes or until the rice is cooked through. (To help prevent excessive browning of the ingredients on the bottom of the pot, you can put a comal between the pot and flame*).
To serve:
  1. Taste the rice to make sure it is cooked to your liking. Tip onto a large family-style platter, stirring gently to combine all ingredients as you go. Top with reserved fried onion, slivered almonds, and cilantro.
  2. Enjoy the fireworks of flavor!
Recipe Notes

*A┬ácomal is a flat piece of cookware typically used to make tortillas etc – placing it between the pot and the heat source keeps thinner pots from scorching the bottom of the food. A comal is *not* nonstick (you never want to heat up nonstick cookware without food in it – the fumes can be toxic). I don’t typically use one because my pot is so heavy-bottomed and I don’t mind some browned bits.