Veg biryani is an aromatic rice dish made by cooking basmati rice with mix veggies, herbs & biryani spices. Traditionally Biryani was made by dum cooking marinated meat with basmati rice & spices. Making a vegetarian version becomes much simpler as the veggies need no marination. This recipe yields a perfect lightly spiced & aromatic veg biryani loaded with veggies. It only takes 30 minutes to prepare & makes a perfect meal for your hubby or kids lunch box.
I have made this veg biryani in a pressure cooker but have included instructions for making it in a regular pot as well.
If you have the time and patience to make a elaborate dum biriyani, then you may try this delicious Veg dum biryani. Usually a dum biryani takes more time to prepare and cook. So often I resort to this simple one pot veg biryani.
The difference between this one pot dish and a veg pulao is that there is no yogurt and spice powders used to make a pulao. But both are used in a biryani recipe.
I do make this pressure cooker veg biryani often since it doesn’t require much preparation. It is not time consuming and yet tastes good.
It is flavorful on its own and can be served without any side dishes. But if you prefer you can serve with a simple sherva/ shorba, bagara baingan, mirchi ka salan or raita. You can find a collection of raita recipes here.
Veg biryani recipe
Ingredients (1 cup = 240ml )
Ingredients for veg biryani
- 1 ½ cup basmati rice (soaked for at least 10 mins)
- 1 potato cubed (aloo)
- 1 carrot chopped (gajar)
- ¼ cup green peas or matar
- 1 medium onion sliced
- 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
- 2 tablespoons mint leaves or pudina chopped
- 2 tablespoons coriander leaves chopped
- 1 to 2 green chili (slit or chopped) (skip for kids)
- 1 ½ to 2 teaspoon Biryani Masala Powder (adjust to suit your taste)
- 1 small tomato (optional) chopped
- 2 ½ cups water or thin coconut milk
- 2 to 3 tablespoons Oil (or ghee)
- 10 cashews or fried capsicum for garnish (optional)
- 2 tablespoon curd or yogurt
- 1/8 teaspoon salt for veggies + ¼ tsp for water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (optional)
- 1 bay leaf (or tej patta)
- 4 green cardamoms (or elaichi)
- 1 star anise (or chakri phool)
- 2 inch cinnamon (or dalchini)
- 6 cloves (or laung)
- ½ teaspoon shahi jeera or jeera or cumin
- 1 black cardamom (optional)
How to make the recipe
Preparation for veg biryani
- Soak rice for at least 10 minutes. Drain the water and set aside. Chop all the veggies, coriander and mint. Keep these aside as well. If using cauliflower keep them slightly larger.
How to make veg biryani
- Add oil to a pressure cooker or pot and heat it. Next add bay leaf, star anise, shahi jeera, cloves, cardamoms & cinnamon. Saute for 1 to 2 mins.
- Add chopped or sliced onions and green chilies. Fry them stirring often until the onions turn golden. Next add ginger garlic paste and saute until the raw smell has gone off.
- Add all the chopped vegetables and fry for about 2 minutes.
- Next add tomatoes, salt, curd, coriander leaves, mint leaves,red chilli powder and biryani masala. Mix all of these and fry on a high flame for 2 to 3 mins. The tomatoes should break down completely and the raw smell disappear.
- Drain the water from the rice and spread it in a layer evenly over the veggies.
- Measure and pour 2 ½ water or coconut milk to a separate bowl. Add salt and lemon juice. Mix well and taste the water. It has to be slightly salty. If needed add more. If making veg biryani in a pot then pour 2 ¾ cups water.
- Pour the salted water across the sides or edges of the pot. If you do not mix up everything then the veg biryani will cook in layers. (However you can also mix up everything and cook just like it is done normally.)
- Optional – Sprinkle 1 tbsp ghee, 2 tbsps chopped pudina & few fried onions.
- For pressure cooking: Cover the cooker and pressure cook for 1 whistle on a medium high flame.Turn off the stove. For al dente non mushy veg biryani, I release the pressure after 1 to 2 mins using a wooden spatula. When the pressure goes down, open the lid and fluff up veg biryani with a fork.
- If cooking in a pot, cook covered on a low flame until the water is absorbed and the veg biryani is cooked fully. Turn off the stove. Serve veg biryani with raita or salan.
Notes for veg biryani recipe
- You can pour 1 tbsp ghee, 1 pinch of saffron soaked in 2 tbsps milk and 2 tbsps of fried onions after pouring water to the cooker or pot.
- If rice is not cooked, just sprinkle some water and cover with a loose lid and cook for few more mins.
- If it becomes mushy, reduce the qty of water the next time you cook.
- You can use store bought biryani masala powder. Using too much of masala powder can make your veg biryani bitter. So adjust the powder according to your taste.
How to make veg biryani
1. Wash rice until water runs clear. Soak it till you begin to cook.
2. Heat a pressure cooker with oil. Add spices – cinnamon, star anise, cardamom, cloves, mace, bay leaf and shahi jeera. Saute for one to two minutes until they begin to crackle. I also add little stone flower.
3. Add onions and green chilies. Fry stirring often until the onions turn golden.
4. Next add ginger garlic paste. Saute this until the raw smell goes off.
Frying veggies for veg biryani
5. Transfer the veggies. Saute on a medium to high flame for 2 to 3 minutes. I have used potato, peas, onions, carrots, cauliflower and french beans. You can also add soya chunks if you like. To add soya chunks, soak them in hot water until soft. Squeeze up the water. Rinse a few times and squeeze them completely. Then add here.
6. Add mint leaves, coriander leaves, red chilli powder, biryani masala powder, 1 small finely chopped tomato and yogurt. I suggest using a good biriyani masala powder. You can also check this Biryani masala powder recipe.
7. Fry again for another 3 minutes on a slightly high flame until the tomatoes break down. The mixture turns aromatic.
Cooking veg biryani
8. Add the drained rice. Spread it evenly.
9. Pour water to a separate bowl and add salt. Mix and taste the water. It has to be slightly salty. If needed add more. Pour the salted water around the edges of the pot. Level the rice. This method gives you layered veg biryani.
OR you can also just pour the water and mix everything and cook.
Optional : You can also add a tbsp of ghee, sprinkle some fried onions and then 1 pinch of saffron soaked in 2 tbsps milk.
10. Cover the pressure cooker. Cook on a medium high flame for one whistle. I manually release the pressure with the help of a wooden spoon after 1 to 2 mins.
11. Open the lid. Lastly fluff up the veg biryani with a fork gently and add lemon juice if desired. Do not stir it vigorously otherwise biryani will turn mushy.
Serve veg biryani with raita.