Veggie Biryani recipe
Veggie Biryani

Veggie Biryani

Prep Time + Cooking Time - 120 minutes

Servings - 6

Serving size - 1 cereal or fruit bowl



  • 2 cups basmati rice

Protein / Dairy

  • 1/2 cup nonfat yogurt
  • 2 Tablespoons skim milk
  • 3 1/3 cup or 16 oz. or 454 g green peas
  • 2 oz. cashew nuts



  • 4 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil (for roasting potatoes in oven)

Vegetables / Fruits

  • 5 cups or 16oz. or 454 g florets (i.e. bite size pieces) of cauliflower
  • 2 medium potatoes cut into bite size pieces
  • 5 carrots peeled and cut into thin long strips
  • 2 large onions cut into thin long slices
  • 8 green chilies chopped
  • 1 inch ginger piece peeled and grated
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 5 San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped mint leaves

Herbs / Spices / Seasoning / Sauce 

  • 1 inch ginger piece peeled and grated
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1/7 teaspoon saffron
  • 1/8 cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1/10 cup chopped mint leaves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 inch cinnamon piece
  • 3 pods cardamom
  • 1 Tablespoon coriander (dhania) powder
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Iodized salt to taste


Cook basmati rice with spices

1.Rinse and soak the basmati rice for 15 minutes.

2. Drain the soaked basmati rice.

3. Cover and cook the basmati rice in a pot with about 2 cups of water along with bay leaves, cloves, cardamom and cinnamon on the stove over low heat.

Cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and bay leaves

Popular spices used in Mughlai and North Indian recipes

Cooked basmati rice

Basmati rice that is used in pulllao and biryani is perfectly cooked where each grain of rice looks separate and distinct. White rice used in South Indian cuisine is cooked to a softer texture.


Sauce used in vegetable gravy

4. Grind the onions, ginger, garlic, and green chillies along with chopped cilantro and mint leaves to form a paste.


Sauce used in vegetable gravy

5. Sauté the onion, garlic, ginger, salt, green chillies, cilantro and mint paste.

Prep cauliflower

6. Cut or break the cauliflower into bite size pieces or florets.

7. Partially cook the cauliflower in the microwave with a little water for about 8 minutes.

Microwave carrots

8. Peel and slice carrots into thin long pieces.

9. Partially cook the carrots in the microwave with a little water for about 8 minutes.

10. Note - avoid over-cooking the vegetables or the rice as the entire biryani dish (rice, veggies, & spices) is cooked again - baked in the oven in the final step. Also, I use frozen peas in the recipe which only needs to be thawed. If you plan to use fresh peas - you will need additional time to shell and cook the peas.

Roast potatoes

11. Cut the potatoes into bite size pieces.

12. Roast the potatoes by tossing the potato pieces in olive oil and bake in the oven at 400° Fahrenheit for 20 minutes.

Marinate vegetables

13. Mix the ingredients for the marinade - nonfat yogurt, coriander powder, turmeric powder and salt to taste.
14. Add the partially cooked carrots and cauliflower to this marinade mix. Add cooked potatoes and green peas too. Marinate for about 20 minutes. I have found that this helps the veggies absorb the flavor and reduces cooking time in the oven.

Onions add a delicious crunchy flavor to the biryani

15. Dry roast the cashew nuts in the oven at 375° Fahrenheit for 7 to 8 minutes.
16. Slice the onions into long thin pieces.

Onions and sautéed paste or sauce

17. Sauté the onion slices in olive oil over medium heat  for a minute and add the sautéed paste or sauce from step 4. Sauté until onions turn translucent.

San Marzano tomatoes are sweet and juicy - available as canned peeled tomatoes in American grocery stores

18. Add blended San Marzano tomatoes. Sauté for a few minutes.

Cooking vegetable gravy for the biryani

19. Now add the marinated vegetables from step 13 and cook on low heat for 5 minutes. The vegetables absorb the flavors of the sauce during this step.

Getting ready to bake the biryani

20. The final step is to complete the cooking of the rice, veggies and spices by baking them together in the oven in a sealed vessel to get the traditional "dum" biryani flavor.
21. Use a large vessel that is safe to use in the oven - I use a large rectangular stainless steel roaster without the rack.
22. Coat the bottom of the pan or roaster with 2 Tablespoons of olive oil. Add the vegetable gravy layer.

Layers of biryani get baked

23. Now add the partially cooked basmati rice layer.

Saffron adds a beautiful orange yellow color to the biryani

24. Warm 2 tablespoons of milk in the microwave. Add the strands of saffron (1 teaspoon) to the warm milk and mix well. Pour this over the rice.

Covering with foil keeps the rice moist and seals in all the delicious spices and vegetables flavors

25. Use aluminum foil to cover the vessel and seal in the flavor. Dough is used instead of aluminium foil in the traditional method of cooking biryani.

Baking at the right temperature and duration results in a delicious biryani with desired moisture and texture

26. Bake at 400° Fahrenheit for 25 to 30 minutes.
27. Uncover and bake for another 10 minutes.

Lime juice adds a fresh flavor to rice and dal recipes

28. Remove from the oven. Add the juice of 1 lime and mix well. Garnish with the roasted cashews. Enjoy with dal and raita!

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