Vegetable Biryani

Vegetable viryani.

Also known as biriyani, biriani, birani or briyani, biryani is a mixed rice dish popular throughout India. First served in the 16th century, biryani is made with rice, meat and vegetables – or without meat, as featured here – and an array of aromatic spices.

Serves | 4 to 5 |

Deep-Fried Onions

  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 medium white onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup fresh mint, roughly chopped (to serve)
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped (to serve)

Vegetable Curry

  • 4 Tbsp vegetable oil or ghee
  • 1 tsp shah jeera (black caraway seeds or black cumin seeds)
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 3 new potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, finely diced
  • ½ lb green beans, roughly chopped
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 2 cups vegetable broth or water
  • ¾ cup full-fat yogurt


  • 1 1-inch cinnamon stick
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 3 black cardamom pods
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 4 blades mace
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups basmati rice, soaked in water for 45 minutes, rinsed and drained
  • salt, to taste

| Preparation – Deep-Fried Onions | In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add oil. When oil is hot, add onion and fry until golden and crispy. Drain, top with cilantro and mint and set aside.

| Preparation – Vegetable Curry | In a large Dutch oven with a lid over medium heat, add oil or ghee. Add shah jeera; cook 2 minutes. Stir in ginger and garlic paste and cook until golden brown. Add potatoes, carrots, bell peppers and green beans and stir well. Add all remaining spices and broth or water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, for 18 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off heat and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Stir in yogurt. Set aside.

| Preparation – Rice | Wrap first 6 ingredients in cheesecloth. In a stockpot with a lid, bring water to a boil; add rice, aromatics in cheesecloth and salt to taste. Cook rice until al dente: The exterior of the rice should mash when forked but the center should still be firm.

| Assembly | Preheat oven to 375°F. Divide cooked rice into 2 portions. Spread a single layer of rice over curry in Dutch oven. Add ½ of fried onion, mint and cilantro mixture. Top with a second layer of rice and remaining fried onions, mint and cilantro. Press a sheet of aluminum foil directly over Dutch oven to seal. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until rice is completely cooked. Serve.

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