Shorba recipe (Biryani gravy)

Updated: August 10, 2022, By Swasthi

Shorba recipe made with onions, tomatoes, spices & herbs. One of the best veg side gravy for biryani, pulao or any flavored rice dishes. It is also known as sherva or biryani shorba & is a very common dish served in South Indian restaurant restaurants. This can be served with a fish biryani, hyderabadi biryani, chicken dum biryani, Vegetable biryani, simple egg biryani or even with a simple veg pulao.

shorba sherva biryani gravy

There is a non-vegetarian version of this shorba too which I will share sometime later. I got this recipe from a chef in India who had come home to cook for my elder son’s first birthday.

He gave me both non-veg and veg versions. There is no substitute for any ingredients and to get it right we need all the ingredients in the mentioned quantities.

This biryani shorba gravy tastes light and is spicy and flavorful and tastes entirely different from the other veg side gravy dishes like potato kurma, simla mirch ka salan, mirchi ka salan and egg masala which i shared earlier.

To make shorba or sherva, we need vegetable stock that brings in real taste to the gravy. If you are not in the habit of making your stock at home, I insist you make it, instead of using store bought vegetable stock or cubes. I have personally never used the packed stocks and do not know if that tastes good for this shorba.

sherva recipe veg shorba recipe

But making your stock is super easy and you could make it one day earlier and refrigerate it for further use. If you have only boiled potatoes water that works fine too that is how I end up making most of the times.

The vegetables that could be used to prepare the stock are peas, potatoes, cauliflower, carrots, onions, celery and I have no idea about using rest of the veggies.

Photo Guide

Preparation for biryani gravy

1. Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a pan, add onions and chilies , fry till onions turn slightly golden.

frying onions chilies to make shorba recipe

2. Add ginger garlic paste and sauté till you get an aroma.

frying ginger garlic paste

3. Add tomatoes and salt, fry till they turn completely mushy.

addition of chopped tomatoes salt to make shorba recipe

4. Add grated coconut. Fry for 3 to 5 mins without burning the mix. Set this aside to cool. Grind this to a smooth puree with 1 ½ to 2 cups of vegetable stock. You could use ice cold stock to grind the hot mix if you want to cut down the cooling time. Pour the ice cold stock in the jar first and then add the hot mix.

blending onion tomato mixture

How to make shorba

5. Heat the same pan with some more oil, add the dry spices and fry till you get a nice smell for a min.Do not burn the spices.

fry dry spices in oil for making shorba recipe

6. Add pudina / mint, sauté for a min.

addition of pudina to the gravy

7. Pour the ground mix, add red chili powder, masala powder, turmeric. Mix well. Adjust the quantity of water to bring it to the consistency you desire.

addition of garam msala chili powder to make sherva recipe

8. When the mix begins to boil, add yogurt and simmer for at least 8 to 10 mins. If your gravy becomes too watery, you can increase the heat to high and evaporate the water, so it comes to the desired consistency.

addition of yogurt to simmering gravy for sherva recipe

If you wish to refrigerate it, for best taste, refrigerate it immediately after it cools down and before 2 hours of cooking.

Serve biryani shorba or sherva with hot biryani or pulao.

shorba biryani gravy

Related Recipes

Recipe card

shorba biryani gravy

Shorba (Biryani gravy)

4.97 from 82 votes
Shorba is a side dish which goes well with biryani, pulao and any flavored rice dishes. This is a simple South Indian style vegetarian biryani gravy made with spices, herbs and basic ingredients.
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For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card

Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time30 minutes

Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )

  • 2 tbsp Oil
  • 1 large onion thinly sliced
  • 2 medium tomatoes cubed
  • 2 green chilies slit
  • ¾ tsp ginger garlic paste
  • ½ tsp salt (adjust to taste)
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 4 tbsp coconut (fresh grated)
  • 3 tbsps mint finely chopped (pudina)
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp biryani masala powder
  • 1½ to 2 cups water or stock
  • tbsp curd (yogurt) (avoid sour tasting one)

Whole spices

  • 1 small bay leaf (tej patta)
  • 1 strand mace (javithri)
  • 3 green cardamoms (elaichi)
  • 2 petals star anise (biryani flower)
  • 3 cloves (laung)
  • 1 inch cinnamon (dalchini)
  • ½ tsp shahi jeera (caraway seeds)



  • Add half the oil to a hot pan, fry onions and chilies till the onions turn golden.
  • Add grated ginger garlic or paste and fry till the raw smell goes off.
  • Add chopped tomatoes, sprinkle salt, fry till the mixture turns mushy.
  • Add coconut and fry for 3 to 5 mins or until you get a good aroma. Cool this and blend with vegetable stock or water to a smooth puree.

Making biryani shorba

  • Heat the pan again, add remaining oil. Fry the dry spices until they sizzle. Add mint and fry for a minute.
  • Add the blended onion tomato mix to the pan, add red chili powder, turmeric, masala powder, and more salt if needed. Stir until everything blends well. Add more water to bring it to the desired consistency.
  • Bring this to a boil, add yogurt and stir well. Simmer for 8 to 10 minutes or until the gravy reaches the consistency.
  • Serve shorba or sherva with biryani, pulao.


  1. Mirchi bajji variety can be used for a special flavor.

NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)

Nutrition Facts
Shorba (Biryani gravy)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 114 Calories from Fat 81
% Daily Value*
Fat 9g14%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 93mg4%
Potassium 109mg3%
Carbohydrates 8g3%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 245IU5%
Vitamin C 5.6mg7%
Calcium 40mg4%
Iron 1.2mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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About Swasthi

I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills. More about me

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5 stars
How to make the stock with potatoes, peas etc mentioned in this Shorba recipe?

5 stars
Hi Swasthi,
You recipes are great and really authentic!
I lived in your lovely country for many years and have been cooking Indian food for some years … but using your recipes now have really made me feel the taste I had there … Thanks for sharing!

5 stars
Excellent Recipe! I have been trying your recipes since very long. Specially non veg ones.Whenever I tried it, it had always turned out super tasty. Thank you so much Swasthi. Your measurements are very accurate. Swasthi, regarding this Shorba recipe, can we substitute coconut with cashew?

To clarify on my first message: I made the Chicken Briyani and paired it with the shorba ?

5 stars
This is an excellent recipe! I’m cooking an Indian meal for the first time and this is a hit with the family. My dad had two helpings, and my kids loved it. The shorba was the jewel in the crown. Simply divine.

5 stars
I paired this with your chicken biryani recipe and it was perfect! Thank you

5 stars
Hello, I am very happy to have found your recipes. I am starting to like this food, and your recipes are easy to follow. Today I did the Vegan Biryani with the Shorba, but the Shorba was a bit sour. I wonder if it was because I did’nt use mace or maybe because I used cumin instead of shaji jeera I don’t know. What do you think?

Wow, I cooked this with your mirch ka salan and dum veg biryani. I am so grateful for your wonderful talent that you so generously share with us.

5 stars

5 stars
Thank u very much Madam.

5 stars
I tried it out?
It came out nice?
Thanks for d receipe

5 stars
Hello Swasthi, I just cooked your Shorba to go with a biriyani for my mums birthday and it was perfect. A perfect balance and depth of flavours, we enjoyed it a lot! Thank you for your blog and for sharing your recipes and, I look forward to trying more of them!

5 stars
Basically if a recipe presented by you, I feel confident the dish will come out well this did. Thank you


Thanks for the recipe! Defenitily going to try it out! Quick question; does it matter much when I use dried coconut instead of fresh grated? Kinda hard to get here.


Hi Swasthi ji… this is my first time, writing comments to any blog site.. I have to tell you that whenever I wanted to cook anything Special and score credits from my family and guests.. I just search recipe from your site? thanks a lot for the awesome recipes. I tried this one today and it was super hit.. everyone liked it. Just couldn’t stop myself from letting you know that I m addicted towards your cooking and your recipe has made me a better cook. Whenever I search for any recipe I just look for site which has SWASTHI’s.. I realised my whole family likes it when I follow your way of cooking.

Thanks for sharing?!

Best wishes for your continuous efforts.

5 stars
You have explained in such a simple way that it is easily understood. The photos added step by step are very helpful to get explained. Your sincerity and honesty revels in your explanation. Thank You Very Much for taking such efforts to share your knowledge that is really very helpful.

5 stars
I was a bit confused about how much veg stock to use, but used about 1/4 pint and then added a few more drops of water as required. This was very (very) tasty and I will definitely be trying some more of your recipes. Thank you.

5 stars
Hello ma’am, as u mentioned earlier, for non veg method, should I substitute the vegetables to chicken/mutton, and rest of the ingredients remain the same ?

5 stars
I have tried your recipe many times, it turns out awesome! My husband calls is ‘Kurma’ & loves that it satiates his ‘south Indian’ craving with rotis instead of rice!!!!

4 stars
Awesome taste..

5 stars
This is my go to recipe for biryani gravy. Absolutely delicious, thank you