Vegetable Biryani
Vegetable Biryani prepared in a traditional Hyderabadi Dum Biryani style is a Vegetarian’s dream come true for enjoying the famous dum biryani. Traditionally, it is prepared in 3 basic steps in which first step involves cooking basmati rice with aromatic whole spices, second step involves cooking vegetables with various Indian masala or spice powders, whole spices and curd, and the last step involves cooking layered cooked rice, cooked vegetables and fried onion in a container using dum method. In dum cooking method (pressure cooked effect), food is slow-cooked in a sealed container (a pot having tight fitting lid or edges of pot sealed with wet wheat flour dough), which allows food to slow-cook in its own steam and juices making it highly flavorful and aromatic. In the first glance, you may feel that this vegetable biriyani recipe requires so many ingredients but don’t let it fool you, it will take only 35 minutes to cook and flavor, aroma and texture of final dish will blow your mind and taste buds away making it worthwhile to try this recipe.
Ingredients For Rice
3/4 cup Basmati Rice (long grained rice)
2 Green Cardamoms
1 Black Cardamom
2 Cloves
1 small piece of Cinnamon
1 small Bay Leaf
Salt to taste
For Gravy
1 small Potato, chopped
1/2 cup chopped Cauliflower
1/4 cup chopped Carrot
1/4 cup chopped French Beans
1/4 cup Green Peas (fresh or frozen)
1 medium Onion, sliced
1-2 Green Chillies, seeded and cut lengthwise
1 teaspoon Ginger-Garlic Paste
4-5 Black Peppercorns
1 Green Cardamom
1/2 teaspoon Cumin Seeds
1/2 teaspoon Red Chilli Powder
1/8 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
1 teaspoon Cumin-Coriander Powder
1/4 teaspoon Garam Masala Powder
1/2 cup Curd (beaten)
2 tablespoons Coriander Leaves
3 tablespoons Oil
Salt to taste
1/4 cup Fried Onion
1 tablespoons Ghee
8-10 Saffron Strands, soaked in 1 tablespoon Warm Milk
8-10 Mint Leaves, chopped (fresh or dry), optional
2 tablespoons Coriander Leaves
Tips to prepare biryani in lowest possible time.
  1. First soak the rice in water.
  2. Then prepare the gravy.
  3. When gravy is half cooked, start to cook the rice.
  4. Assemble rice and gravy and cook again.
Directions for Preparing Gravy:
  1. Cut all the vegetables as shown in the photo. Do not cut them into very small pieces. Soak 8-10 saffron strands in 1- tablespoon warm milk. Prepare fried onions by following this recipe.
  2. Heat 3-tablespoons oil in a pan over medium flame. Add 1 sliced onion, 1-2 green chilies, 1-teaspoon ginger-garlic paste, 4-5 black peppercorns, 1-green cardamom and 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds. Stir-fry them until onion starts to turn light brown.
  3. Add 1 chopped potato, 1/2 cup chopped cauliflower and 1/4 cup chopped carrot. Stir-fry for 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add 1/4 cup chopped french beans, 1/4 cup fresh or frozen green peas and salt. Mix well and cook covered until vegetables are almost cooked. It will take around 5-7 minutes. Stir occasionally in between to prevent sticking.
  5. Add 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder, 1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder, 1 teaspoon cumin-coriander powder and 1/4 teaspoon garam masala powder. Stir and cook for a minute.
  6. Add 1/2 cup beaten curd and 2-tablespoons chopped coriander leaves.
  7. Mix well and cook for a minute. Turn off the flame and keep the gravy covered until rice is cooked.
Directions for Cooking Rice:
  1. Wash 3/4 cup rice in water for 3-4 times and then soak in water for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, drain water and keep rice aside.
  2. Pour 3-4 cups water in a deep pan or a pot and bring it to boil over medium flame. When it comes to boil, add drained rice, 2 green cardamoms, 1 black cardamom, 2 cloves, 1 small piece of cinnamon, 1 small bay leaf and salt. Boil for around 7-8 minutes or until rice grain is around 85% cooked. Do not over cook the rice as they will be cooked again in later steps and we want each rice grain to be fluffy and separate.
  3. Transfer cooked rice to a colander and drain excess water.
Directions for Assembling the Biryani Layers:
  1. We will make four layers in biryani – two rice layers and two gravy layers. If you are preparing it in larger quantity, make more layers. Make sure that the vessel or pan has a flat heavy based bottom (to prevent sticking of rice), deep enough to have 4 layers and can be sealed with lid or cover. Add half of the gravy in a pan into which you want to cook the biryani and spread it evenly.
  2. Add half of the rice over gravy and spread evenly. Sprinkle half of the saffron mixture over it.
  3. Evenly sprinkle 1/8 cup fried onion, 1-tablespoon chopped coriander leaves and 4-5 chopped mint leaves over it.
  4. Evenly spread remaining gravy over it to make a third layer.
  5. Evenly spread remaining rice over it. Sprinkle remaining saffron mixture, fried onion, coriander leaves and mint leaves over it. Pour 1-tablespoon ghee (or more if desired) on sides of rice and cover the vessel or pan with a tight fitting lid. If you do not have tight fitting lid then you can use wheat flour dough (wet chapatti atta) to seal the edges. Heat the tawa over low flame, put vessel over it and cook for 12-15 minutes to get dum effect (Pan containing rice and gravy should not be put directly over heat as direct heat will burn the gravy and rice inside). After about 15 minutes, turn off the flame. Remove the lid and transfer layered vegetable biryani to the serving plate.
Tips and Variations:
  • Do not cut the vegetables into very small pieces, cut them lengthwise into big chunks.
  • Do not skip adding fried onion because it gives nice flavor to biryani.
  • To keep the rice grains separated, do not cook it until rice grains are fully cooked in step-2 of rice cooking directions because it will be cooked again in later steps.
  • If you do not like whole spices in biryani while eating then follow the tips mentioned below.
    1. Remove whole spices from rice after cooking (in step-3 in rice cooking) and discard them (it’s easy to remove them at this stage).
    2. Use 1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper powder in step-6 instead of whole cardamom and whole black peppercorns in step-2 while making gravy.
  • If you do not have a vessel or deep pan with tight fitting lid, you can use wheat flour dough to seal the edges and prevent steam from escaping to get dum effect.
  • Add dry fruits like fried cashew nuts for variation.
Taste:  Spicy
Serving Ideas:  Serve hyderabadi style veg biryani with curd raita and papad in lunch or dinner. It can also be packed in a lunchbox with curd.

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