Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Vegetable Biryani and Simple Onion Raita

I had been wanting to make vegetable biriyani for a long time. Even D was asking for it from quite some time. The time came when I saw the picture of mouth watering veg biriyani pics on Hema’s photo blog. She passed on the fool proof recipe that she had used and it made my temptation harder!

So the next chance I got, I made it and it was pretty good for a first timer - there were of course some improvements and adjustments needed to suit our taste - mainly, it turned out a bit too spicy for us... the gravy part had to be reduced. Never the less it was too tasty and vanished off.

Next time, I made it again within a couple of days for a small party at home, and made those adjustments... it turned out to be a huge hit! I was overwhelmed with the compliments that I got for it! Thanks Hema, for a wonderful recipe!

Here goes the recipe...

Veg Biryani

Rice - 3 cups, Basmati variety
Ghee / clarified butter - 1 tbsp
Cooking oil - 2-3 Tbsp
Vegetables (Beans, Carrot, Capsicum) - 2 cups, chopped
Tomatoes - 2 chopped fine
Green peas - ½ to ¾ cup
Soya chunks - a handful, optional (if using, soak in hot water for a couple of minutes and squeeze)
Cardamom - 3
Cloves - 3-4
Cinnamon - 1” stick
Salt - ½ tsp
Cashews - 1 Tbsp, broken into pieces
Onions - 2 medium sized, chopped into fine strips, length wise
Coriander - a handful, chopped fine

For masala paste
Onion - 2 medium sized, chopped into chunks
Ginger garlic paste - 2 tsp (I used 1” raw ginger and 5-6 cloves garlic)
Green chilies - 3-4, as per taste
Cardamom - 3
Cloves - 3-4
Cinnamon - 1” stick
Garam masala - ½ tsp
Salt - ½ tsp
Red Chili powder - ½ tsp (adjust as per your taste)
Coriander leafs - a small bunch
Curd - ½ cup

Making the masala vegetable gravy:
• Cook vegetables including green peas and tomatoes till ¾ th either in a microwave or on stove top in a pan with some oil or in boiling water
• Grind the ingredients for masala paste into a smooth paste. Use curds to facilitate the blades
• In a pan, heat a tbsp of oil and add the masala paste and cook till the raw smell goes
• Add the semi cooked vegetables and sauté for a couple of minutes. Add more curds to adjust the consistency to a thick gravy
• Turn off the heat and let it sit till the rice is cooked

Making Rice:
• Wash and soak rice for 30 minutes in enough water and a tsp of ghee and ½ tsp of salt.
• In a pressure cooker, heat a tbsp of oil and some ghee
• Add cardamom, cloves and cinnamon and sauté
• Add the soaked and drained rice and fry for a couple of minutes
• Cook with 1.5 times the quantity of water, with a tsp salt for just 1 whistle
• Once the pressure is down, spread the cooked rice in a wide bowl and add a teaspoon of oil so that the grains do not stick
• Keep aside for 5 minutes to cool

Frying the Onions:
• In a pan, heat a tbsp of oil and add the cashews
• Once cashews are almost done, add half of the onion strips and sauté well on medium heat till it becomes brown
• Make sure not to char it, by stirring frequently
• Keep aside till assembly

Assembling the Biriyani:
• For dum effect, use a shallow, heavy vessel or a deep pressure cooker - I used my 3 liter deep pressure cooker
• Grease the bottom and sides with some ghee / oil/ butter
• Taste the gravy and the cooked rice for salt and if needed add more to the gravy; adjust chili powder as well.
• Add a tbsp of the gravy and spread it as first layer
• Layer about half a cup of cooked rice evenly over it
• Layer the sautéed onions evenly
• Repeat with the rest of the gravy and rice and onions, forming several layers
• Use the raw onions in the middle layers and also keep some for the top most layer
• Add chopped coriander on top
• Cover the lid and keep it on very low flame; put on the weight if using pressure cooker
• Keep it on heat for 20-25 minutes for the spices to blend into the rice
• When ready to serve, gently mix the layers - do not over mix
• Serve hot with a nice raita and enjoy!

• Making rice with a 1.5 times water, with ghee or oil makes the grains separate and not sticky
• Handle the basmati rice with utmost care as it is very delicate and can break
• Do not over cook the veggies - a crunchy effect will make it nice. And it will get cooked again, anyways
• A bit of butter can also be used for a richer effect in between some layers
• The raw onions add a unique taste, flavor and texture to the end product

Simple Onion Raita

Onion - 1, medium sized
Cooking oil - 1 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Green chilies - 1-2, vary according to your taste
Coriander - 2 tsp, finely chopped
Garam Masala - ½ tsp
Red Chili powder - ½ tsp, optional
Thick curd - 1-1½ cups
Salt - ¾ tsp or as per taste

Chop onions very finely
Heat oil in a pan, add cumin seeds and allow to splutter
Add slit green chilies and sauté for a minute
Cool slightly and mix the rest of the ingredients. Beat the curd slightly before adding
Garnish with coriander leaves and serve


  1. A classic ~ look exotic n so very delicious!
    US Masala

  2. Biriyani and a spicy one at that? Count me in!! Nimma manege ootakke bara bahuda?;-)

  3. I love this classic meal for lunch! It looks very delicious!

  4. Wow! what a nice presentation. Try submitting your blogs/ favorite links to www.indli.com for more viewers.

  5. Looks so colorful and tempting too! And the raita just adds to that yummm quotient! Fabulous work :)

  6. I can actually smell the aroma coming from the dish here..looks simply delicious and perfectly done.


  8. Sumana, I see lots of interesting posts of late in your blog, and of course great clicks!! Would definitely want to try this colorful biryani.


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