Best ever vegetable biryani with loads of flavors to enjoy the festivities to the max and fill in your loved ones’ life with loads of happiness and joy!
It is festival time and festival time calls for special dishes! So here I am sharing a perfect celebratory dish to make your festival more enjoying and flavorful – the quintessential vegetable biryani which is full of exotic flavors and loved by all across age group or food preferences. It is that special dish which you can make to feed as well as please a crowd without any worry!
I had planned to make vegetable biryani many a times but could never manage to materialize it until recently. But once you let your family know that something as delish as this exists, you will never be able to escape again; it is so addictive that you will get repeated demands for this and that’s for sure! Be it a festival time or not!
Biryani as a concept always excites me. The amalgamation of aromas from so many special spices creates something magical which never fails to thrill me; be it vegetarian or non-veg version. This time it even took over my non-veg-freak hub who simply got knocked down by its deliciousness. Making this vegetable biryani brought me real pleasure as I always feel the need of perking up my vegetarian cooking skill. This one boosted my self-confidence quite a bit and made me way too happy about it!
To make sure your biryani turns out fluffy and not soggy, avoid veggies which turn mushy on cooking like capsicum or eggplant; they are not at all ideal for biryanis. Use somewhat tough veggies which can withstand the slow ‘dum’ cooking. I used cauliflowers, carrots, potatoes, green beans and green peas which are pretty regular in veg biryanis. You can also throw in some cashews for extra crunch.
Biryani making can seem intimidating to many but if you divide the process into 3 independent parts and finally assemble them, it would feel like a breeze. Some steps can even be done beforehand if you are making it for a party and assemble them on the final day. These 3 parts involve –
i. Making the rice which can be done beforehand and keep it ready
ii. Prepping the vegetables which too can be done a day before and
iii. Making the biryani masala
Finally bring everything together and serve the deliciousness to bring instant happiness to your friends and family.
The best part of biryani is its colorfulness! The combination of bright saffron & white colored rice with green veggies perfectly reflects the integrity of our diverse culture. With that positive note, here is wishing you all a very happy Diwali and prayers for everyone to fill our lives with lights of joy and let the positivity win over all the negativity! Happy Diwali!
- Basmati rice – 2 cups
- Onion – 6, large (2 sliced + 4 chopped)
- Ginger paste – 1 tbsp
- Garlic paste – 1 tbsp
- Green chilli – 1, chopped
- Ghee (clarified butter) – ¼ cup + 2 tbsp
- Green cardamom – 6 to 8
- Cloves – 6 to 8
- Cinnamon – 2 inch stick
- Tomato – 2, large (de-seeded and pureed)
- Fennel seed powder – 1 & ½ tsp
- Coriander Powder – 1 tbsp
- Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
- Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
- Yogurt – ½ cup, beaten
- Sugar – 2 tsp
- Black pepper – ¼ tsp
- Cauliflower florets – 1 cup
- Carrots – 2, large, cut into ½ inch cubes
- Potatoes – 2, large, cut into ½ inch cubes
- Green peas – ½ cup
- Green beans – 8 to 10, cut into 1 cm long strips
- Freshly chopped mint leaves – ¼ cup, loosely packed
- Freshly chopped coriander leaves – ½ cup, loosely packed
- Saffron – 1 pinch
- Milk – ¼ cup
- Cardamom powder – 1 tsp
- Vegetable oil – 4 tbsp
- Light coconut milk – 2 cups (or 1 cup of thick coconut milk mixed with water to make 2 cups)
- Salt to taste
- Grated coconut – 1 cup
- Boiling water – 2 cups
- Wash and soak the basmati rice in water for 30 minutes. Then cook the rice in salted boiling water until ¾th done. This would take about 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and keep in a colander.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan and sauté the 2 sliced onions until golden brown and crisp. Take them out and set aside in a bowl until further use.
- Warm the milk and add the saffron strands to it. Let the saffron infuse the milk. Set aside.
- Heat the ghee in a deep wok or stock pot. Once the ghee is melted and hot, tip in the green cardamoms, cinnamon and cloves. Sauté them for half a minute until fragrant.
- Now add the chopped onion and cook on medium heat until translucent, for about 5 minutes. Then add the ginger-garlic paste and green chilli and stir well. Cover and cook on low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are deep brown and ghee starts to release. This would take about 15 minutes.
- Now add the fennel seed powder and coriander powder and mix well.
- Next goes in the pureed tomato. Give a good mix and add the red chilli powder and turmeric powder. Add about 1 teaspoon of salt and the black pepper. Cover and cook until the tomato puree is cooked through and the ghee starts releasing again. This would take about 10 more minutes on low heat.
- Add the beaten yogurt now and give a good stir. Keep the heat on minimum to ensure the yogurt does not split.
- Now add the vegetables. If using frozen peas, then do not add them now as they are half-cooked, they will turn mushy by the end of the cooking. Mix well. Add half a cup of water and bring to boil. Then cover and cook until the veggies are ¾th done, about 15 minutes.
- Now add the coconut milk and sugar and bring to boil. Mix well. Check for the seasoning and adjust if needed. Cover and cook until all the veggies are cooked through, about 10 minutes. If you are using frozen peas, add them now once the veggies are all cooked.
- Once the veggies are cooked through, switch off the flame and begin to assemble the biryani. Do not worry if you see a lot of liquid in the wok, it will get absorbed by the rice during the final cooking time.
- Spread the cooked rice covering all the veggies. Sprinkle the coriander leaves, mint leaves and fried onions all over. Dot the 2 tablespoons of ghee all over and sprinkle the cardamom powder. Finally drizzle the saffron infused milk all over.
- Now cover and cook the biryani on minimum heat for 15 to 20 minutes more until all the liquid is absorbed. Switch off the flame and let the biryani sit for 15 minutes more before serving.
- Serve the biryani with some cold raita or salan.
- Add the grated coconut into the blender and pour the boiling water to it. Let the coconut sit in the hot water for 30 minutes so that it softens a bit.
- Then blend the coconut with the water for about 1 to 2 minutes until the coconut is pureed and the mixture looks milky. There will still be flakes of coconut in it which you will have to strain as described in next step.
- Strain the coconut milk using a fine strainer. Alternatively you can use a cheese cloth to squeeze out the coconut milk. It is now ready to use.