Vegetable Biryani

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Average: 4.3 (3 votes)
Serves 5-6

Occasionally, we love a change from our normal meaty biryanis, and with THIS vegetable biryani, you just may not miss the meat at all!! It's delicious and spicy and light (for a biryani, that is). I normally use whatever veggies I have on hand, or pick those preferred by my family.

For this version I have used peas, potatoes, carrots and capsicum. You can also include cauliflower, beans, paneer, whatever you like. :)

3 cups
basmati rice
onions, sliced finely and fried until golden
fresh tomatoes, chopped into small pieces
large carrots, cut into slices
large capsicum, cut into cubes
potatoes, peeled, cut into thick wedges and fried
1/2 cup
peas, boiled for 5 minutes and drained
1/4 cup
green chillis, chopped (adjust to taste)
1/2 tsp
garlic paste
1/2 tsp
ginger paste
1-2 tbsp
tomatoe paste/puree
1/2 cup
1 tsp
cumin seeds
cinnamon stick
cardamom pod
1/4 tsp
turmeric powder
1/2 tsp
red chilli powder
1 tsp
coriander powder
1 tsp
cumin powder
1 tsp
garam masala
juice of half a lemon
2 pinches
orange food colouring
salt to taste
chopped coriander for garnishing

Heat the oil in a deep pot then add the whole spices (cumin seeds, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves). Once the cumin splutters, add the fresh tomatoes and half of the green chilli. Cook until the tomatoes are dry, and then add half of the remaining fried onions (reserve a handful for later). Add the garlic and ginger pastes, followed by the tomato paste. Sprinkle salt, cumin, chilli, turmeric and coriander powders and a pinch of saffron if you're using it. Cook together until the oil is released from the sides. Then add the whipped yoghurt and cook until the gravy is thick and cooked through.

Next, add all the veggies EXCEPT the fried potato wedges as these are already fried and fully done. Stir-fry into the gravy for a couple of minutes until they are all nicely coated. Add half cup water. Cover and simmer on low heat to cook the veggies through. Every once in a while, open the pot and gently mix everything well. The veggies shouldn't take long to cook.

Once the veggies are done (I prefer to leave my capsicum with a slight crunch to them, so don't cook the veggies until completely limp), adjust salt, add the remaining chopped green chilli, garam masala and chopped coriander. Add the fried potatoes and stir them in so they are coated properly with the gravy. Squeeze the lemon juice and stir, and then turn off the heat.

If you like your biryani masala with a bit of extra gravy, you can add a little extra amount of hot water and mix it in gently.

Next, prepare the rice.

Wash then soak 3 cups of rice in water for about 20-30 mins.

Soak a few saffron strands in some water and set aside.

Bring a big pot of water to boil, add salt, 4 cardamom pods, 2-3 cinnamon sticks and 2-3 cloves plus about 2 tbsp. of oil.

Drain the soaked rice and add it to this water when it is boiling. Cook until the rice is about 3/4 done, remove and strain out all the water.

Put half the rice back into the pan, add the veggie masala on top of it, sprinkle the handful of reserved fried onions and some chopped fresh coriander, and add the remainder of the rice to cover the masala. Then drizzle about 2 tbsp. of oil and the saffron water. Add a bit of orange colour on one side and mix it up a bit with a spoon and cover the pot tightly. Steam this on low heat for 15 minutes or put in a 180 C preheated oven for about the same time. Serve hot!

Enjoy! :)


What a variety what an experience. Thanx!

Mashallah i better try this,yeah its true am tired of meat,better go for a change thanx.

I have tried many versions, but this one is the best so far. Will definitely make it again Inshallah!!

How many people does this recipe serve ?

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

Serves 5-6

Thanks !! Will be trying it soon !

nyc one fauzi....wish i cud learn everythin in ur kitchen......hw abt comin ova 4 sm kind ov

Hi kindly advise if i want to use paneer do i have to fry the paneer separate first?

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

Yes lightly fry the paneer until slightly golden, drain and use in the recipe.

Wonderful recipe.. add some pudina (Mint leaves) as well as it gives really good flavor to dish..

Great meal. I didnot even miss the meat.

I wanna try this tomorrow for friends r coming over..they r vegetarians..And very particular about being a hardcore non vegetarian, do not know much bout the exotic vegetarian dishes..Want to make an authentic veg biriyani for them. I have gone thru ur recipe..plz guide me if anything else is also require in the recipe in order to get the authentic taste. plz reply me at the earliest.

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

My family and I loved this biryani as is, so am very sure your guests will enjoy it too. :)

Salaam I was wondering if I can freeze biryani and pilaus and for how long should /can they be frozen? I will be traveling soon so I would like to make some meals and freeze it for my hubby so he can just take them out and heat them up in the microwave for couple of months that i am not around.Any advice on what kind of meals can be frozen for 2-3 months?.

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

W/Salaam, am normally not the biggest fan of freezing rice as somehow the texture does tend to change a bit after being frozen and thawed. Also apparently reheating rice is not supposed to be healthy. However if you have no other option then you could refrigerate it for about 4 days, or freeze for a month or so. Not many dishes are good for freezing that long mostly for health reasons. But you could make kababs and buns/breads, pies, curries without potatoes and freeze for about a month or month and a half.


I'd like to make this yummy bhiryani but im out of yogurt. any idea as to what i can use instead? or if i can omit yogurt entirely?

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

W/Salaam, I believe yoghurt is a crucial ingredient when making biryani, it gives that richness and thickness in the gravy, and also adds to the flavour. You can use sour cream if you have that. Otherwise try without it inshaAllah it will be fine.

Salam fauzia,hope all ok. Someone made this and brought it for picnic. Mash allah u don't even feel u r missing meat. In fact it was so nice n I was thinking how comes I have not tried this :( alhamdulillah may Allah give u strength amen , and keep up the excellent work :)))

Hi can i use olive oil for in this?

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

Hi, you can although it will alter the flavour of the dish. I would recommend using vegetable oil.

Salaam, Please suggest any other vegetables that I can add to this, and how to process it. I mean should I fry or boil and when should i add to the dish.

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

W/Salaam, any vegetables that you usually enjoy can be added in here, just cook them partially in any manner (steam, fry or boil) and then add them.

Does this freeze well? I made too much

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

I personally am not a fan of freezing rice but it should be fine.

Tried this today n OMG!!
It was so flavorful n yumm!
Altho it was abit too lemony!!
Masha thankss alwayss