Vegetable Biryani is a bold and flavorful Indian rice dish with bell peppers, peas, carrots and potatoes in a spiced rice dish made with turmeric, garam masala and other warm spices.
We’re working through a list of our favorite Indian recipes including Indian Butter Chicken and Easy Chicken Tikka Masala and it felt only right the next recipe shared would be a biryani dish which is amazing served with Cucumber Raita.
Easy Vegetable Biryani
Biryani has always been a recipe I’ve been intimidated to make even though it looks like it would be a recipe that’s easier to make than most Indian dishes. The rice is always so heavily flavored I worry about how long to cook it for and how the final combination of vegetables and rice will cook together so both are perfectly tender and soft at the same time.
When I started cooking with my family friend who is well versed in Indian cooking my first request was chicken biryani (coming soon). We discussed spices, I mentioned I’d only made biryani with a spice packet before, never mixing single spices together to put together that spicy, bold, flavorful rice on my own.
This biryani is easier than most, no whole spices being toasted and ground. No red curry paste or ginger garlic pastes are needed. The resulting flavors are incredibly delicious and addicting.
What to serve with vegetable biryani:
Most Indian recipes work well together, this dish is a bit spicy so a yogurt raita would be great to cool it off a little. Naan would also be a delicious side option as would other vegetarian Indian dishes like saag paneer or vegetable korma.
What kind of rice is used in vegetable biryani:
A classic biryani is made using basmati rice. This rice is thinner and longer than a traditional long grain rice.
How do you make biryani rice?
The rice is traditionally made using ghee (clarified butter) along with onions, garlic and ginger. Once cooked vegetables are added in with spices and cooked until the spices bloom. Rice is added along with stock and cooked until fluffy.
Why is biryani rice yellow?
The yellow coloring in the rice comes from the use of turmeric along with other spices. These spices are added into the dish before the uncooked rice is mixed in.
Tools used in the making of Vegetable Biryani:
Basmati Rice: The perfect rice for the biryani, do not substitute long grain rice.
Cast Iron Dutch Oven: I used to fry in my cast iron skillet, but this dutch oven is perfect for cooking the vegetables and rice, maintaining heat without any hot spots that may burn the food.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil or ghee if available
- 1 yellow onion cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1 tablespoon garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon ginger minced
- 1 roma tomato minced finely
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup peas
- 1 carrot sliced into thin coins
- 2 russet potatoes peeled and chopped
- 1 green bell pepper sliced
- 2 stalks celery thinly sliced
- 1 cup cauliflower florets
- 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups basmati rice rinsed and drained
- Add olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat.
- Add the onion, and cook until translucent, about 3-4 minutes.
- Stir in garlic, ginger, tomatoes, and ½ cup water.
- Bring to a simmer, and cook until the water has evaporated, about 10 minutes.
- Add in the peas, carrot, potato, bell pepper, celery and cauliflower and stir well.
- Add in the salt, cayenne, black pepper, garam masala, turmeric, cumin and cinnamon, stirring well.
- Add in the vegetable broth and bring to a boil.
- Rinse basmati rice.
- Add in the basmati rice, reduce to low heat and cook (covered) for 18-20 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and let sit, covered, for five minutes before opening and serving.