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  • Writer's picturePreeti Vaswani

Aromatic Vegetable Biryani

Who doesn't love exotic aromatic biryani !!!

Even a person like me , not a rice lover, drools at the sight of pretty biryani plate loaded with fresh vegetables, aromatic warm spices, crunchy cashews and almonds served with crunchy cucumber raita.

What is Vegetable Biryani ?

This irresistible lip smacking delicacy is a perfect medley made with long grain basmati rice, warm spices, fresh herbs and vegetables. This is then layered in a deep pot and cooked to perfection on slow heat.

The main ingredients and tips for making Perfect Vegetable Biryani are;

Rice : Always use long grain aged basmati rice for best results as it is full of aroma and being aged it does not stick after cooking.

Vegetables : An array of vegetables like carrot, beans, potatoes, cauliflower , peas etc. can be used for veg biryani. Always use fresh vegetables.

Spices and Herbs : Add whole spices like black peppercorns, cloves, black and green cardamom, star anise, cinnamon stick , fresh coriander and mint leaves when you cook the rice up to 70%. Use freshly minced ginger and garlic as it elevates the flavours of biryani while cooking the vegetables along with onion and yogurt.

Ghee : I recommend adding a tablespoon of ghee when you cook the rice which adds flavour to the biryani later. Also add ghee on the top when you keep the layered biryani on slow flame at the last step.

Sauteing the veggies and onion in ghee adds nice colour, flavour and texture to the biryani.

Aromatics and Nuts : Rose water or kewra water, saffron soaked in milk, pan fried cashew and almonds are used to enhance the flavour of biryani.

Pan fried nuts add a nice crunch to the biryani.

Garnishing : Garnish the biryani plate with fresh coriander, mint leaves and caramelized onion. I also add few pomegranate arils which gives a little sweet taste in between.

It is a perfect dish for festive occasions and get-togethers.

I always make it on weekends or on a holiday to enjoy this beautiful food together as a family for lunch.

If you ask, is it easy to cook this one pot meal ?

Honestly, it is not an easy task to cook a perfect biryani as it requires pretty good time, patience and effotrs. But all the hard work is paid off when you see the end result ; A Perfect , Flavourful Biryani !!!

Serve with cucumber raita , my personal favourite and it is a complete feast. You can enjoy this flavourful biryani on its own too.

Cuisine : Indian

Course : Main course

Prep time : 30 minutes

Cook time : 60 minutes

Servings : 6


  • 2 Cup basmati rice

  • 2 Big sized onion sliced

  • 1 Big sized potato cubed

  • 1/2 Cup cauliflower florets

  • 10-12 Beans chopped inch long

  • 1 Big carrot cubed

  • 1/3 Cup peas

  • 1 Tbsp grated ginger

  • 1 Tbsp grated garlic

  • 2 Green chili

  • 2 Green chili finely chopped

  • 2 Bay leaves

  • 10 -12 Black peppercorns

  • 8-10 Clove

  • 2 Pieces of cinnamon stick (inch long)

  • 3-4 Green cardamon

  • 1 Star anise

  • 1 Black cardamom

  • 3 Tbsp cashew halves

  • 3 Tbsp almond halves

  • 2 Tbsp raisins

  • 1 Tsp turmeric powder

  • 1 Tsp red chili powder

  • 1 Tbsp coriander powder

  • 1 Tsp garam masala

  • 1 Tbsp + 1 Tsp salt

  • 1/4 Cup fresh yogurt

  • 6 Tbsp ghee

  • 10-12 Saffron threads soaked in 4 tbsp of warm milk

  • 4 Tbsp rose water

  • 1/2 Cup chopped coriander leaves

  • 1/3 Cup mint leaves

  • Pinch of orange-red food colour


To boil the rice

1. Wash the rice under running water thoroughly till the water is clear and then soak the rice in water for around half an hour.

2. After the rice has soaked discard the water in which the rice were soaked.

3. Heat a pot full of water when water starts to boil add the soaked rice. Also add 5-6 cloves, 6-8 black peppercorns, 3-4 green cardamom, 1 black cardamom, 1 small piece of cinnamon, 1 star anise, 2 tbsp of coriander leaves, 2 tbsp of mint leaves. When you add rice water temperature comes down and water stops boiling. Switch the flame to high and let it come to a boil.

4. Once water starts boiling again along with rice , whole spices and herbs add 1 tbsp salt and ghee each. Keep stirring in between.

5. Do not cover the pot and cook on medium high flame until rice is 75% cooked.

6. Once the rice is cooked three-forth, switch off the flame and drain the water and spread the rice on a wide pan, drizzle some ghee to prevent rice from sticking. Keep aside the rice to use it later for layering the biryani.

7. Once the rice has cool down a little, take out 3 tbsp of rice in a separate bowl and add little of orange-red food grade colour to it. Mix well and keep it aside.

Saute the veggies, dry fruits and raisins, caramelize the onion , soak saffron in milk , make ginger-garlic-green chili paste

8. Heat 1 tbsp ghee in a pan on medium heat, add almonds and cashew and saute till they turn light brown and crunchy. Once the nuts turn light brown add raisins and saute till the raisins swell up a little. Do not add raisins along with nuts as raisins take only few seconds to swell up and nuts take a while to turn light brown. Remove from the pan to use it later.

9. To same pan , add sliced onion and cook till it turns golden brown in colour and caramelizes. Remove from pan and keep it aside.

10. To the same pan, add cubed potatoes , keep tossing and cook till a light brown coating is formed. Remove on plate and set aside.

11. To the same pan, now add peas, cauliflower, beans and carrots. Saute until veggies appear light brown. Remove on a plate.

12. Soak saffron in lukewarm milk and set aside to use it later.

13. Make ginger-garlic-green chili paste using mortar and pestle.

Cook the veggies with ginger-garlic-onion and yogurt

14. To the same pan add 1 tbsp of ghee. When ghee is hot add 4-6 black peppercorns, 3-4 cloves, bay leaves, cinnamon stick add saute for a minute. To this now add freshly minced or crushed ginger-garlic-green chili paste.

15. When the raw smell of ginger and garlic goes away add sliced onion and cook on medium flame till onion turn golden brown in color.

16. When onion turn golden brown add all sauted veggies and let it cook for another 2-3 minutes.

17. Now add salt, turmeric powder, red chili powder and garam masala. Mix it well and let it cook for another couple of minutes.

18. Now add whisked curd to the veggies , mix it well , cover with a lid and let the veggies cook on low flame till soft but not mushy. Keep stirring in between and switch of the flame when the veggie mixture turns almost dry and veggies still hold their shape. Keep the veggie mixture aside to be used later.

Layering of biryani

19. In a deep heavy bottomed pan add ghee and spread half of the rice to form the first layer.

20. On the top , spread the whole of veggie mixture evenly all over the rice.

21. Top it with half of fried onion, half of fried cashews , almonds ,raisins and half of coriander and mint leaves.

22. Add half of saffron-milk mixture. Add 1 tsp of rose water.

23. Now add the remaining half of the rice.

24. Add the remaining caramelized onion, remaining almond-cashew-raisins, remaining coriander-mint leaves and orange-red coloured rice.

25. Add a generous amount of ghee on the top.

26. Seal with aluminium foil and place a lid on the top and keep it on minimum flame for 20-25 minutes till ghee melts and all flavours infuse in the rice.

27. Switch off the flame and serve hot with cucumber raita.

Pretty plate of vegetable biryani......weekend feast , are you in ?

Try out this delicious and aromatic vegetable Biryani recipe and let me know it turns out in the comment section !!!

You can also follow me on Facebook , Instagram and Pinterest to see what's going on in my kitchen.

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