Vegetable Biryani

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A hearty casserole combining saffron rice with savory sauteed vegetables. It can be made vegan by using vegetable oil rather than ghee or butter.

Vegetable Biryani
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 6
  • 1½ cups long-grain brown rice or brown Basmati rice
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, butter, or ghee
  • generous pinch of saffron
  • pinch of turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2¼ cups hot water
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or ghee
  • 2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger root
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cumin seeds
  • 1½ teaspoons ground coriander seeds
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of cayenne (or to taste)
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 small sweet potato (or 1 medium carrot, diced)
  • 2 cups small cauliflower florets
  • 1 medium red or green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • ½ cup green peas (fresh or frozen)
  • ⅓ cup raisins
  • ¾ cup canned or cooked chick peas (optional)
  • salt to taste
  • toasted cashews or almonds
  1. In a saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, sauté the rice briefly in one tablespoon of oil or ghee, stirring to coat each kernel.
  2. Crumble in the saffron. Add the turmeric, salt, and the hot water.
  3. Bring the rice to a boil, cover the pan, and reduce the heat.
  4. Simmer for 30 minutes.
  5. While the rice is cooking, prepare the vegetables.
  6. Sauté the onions in 2 tablespoons of oil or ghee for 5 minutes.
  7. Mix in the ginger, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and cayenne and cook for a minute, stirring constantly.
  8. Add ½ cup water, the sweet potato or carrot, and the cauliflower.
  9. Cover the pan and cook on low heat for 3 or 4 minutes.
  10. Stir in the bell pepper, tomato, peas, raisins, and chick peas.
  11. Continue to simmer until the vegetables are barely tender, adding a little more water if necessary to prevent sticking.
  12. Add salt to taste.
  13. Oil or butter a 2½-quart casserole dish and spread half of the rice in the bottom.
  14. Top it with the vegetable mixture and then the remaining rice.
  15. Cover the dish tightly and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.
  16. Garnish with toasted cashews or almonds.
  17. Vegetable Biryani is also good with plain yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, your favorite chutney, or onion relish