Layered Vegetable Biryani

On weekends, I like to make dishes that I usually don’t cook on routine-filled weekdays. This weekend, my husband and I felt like eating ‘Vegetable Biryani’. We wanted to make it well-balanced and nicely flavoured – something that came close to what we had eaten at a restaurant. I had never made Biryani at home before as I generally end up making fried rice or pulao. I am glad I tried making Biryani since I loved the way it turned out. We gobbled up the entire dish in no time and had a satisfying weekend lunch. I dished up a fruit and vegetable salad along with this dish and those flavours went well with the rice (that recipe will be another post soon 🙂 ) Now, the trick with Biryani is to have a little patience while cooking and you will end up having great results. Multitasking the prep work will be advantageous as it will reduce the cooking time considerably.

Recipe Details :
Serves: 3 pax
Time: 50 mins
Difficulty: Medium

Ingredients for rice: :

  • 1.5 cups basmati rice
  • 1 clove
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cardamom
  • 2 tsp oil
  • Salt to taste

Ingredients for biryani masala: :

  • 6 red chillies
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cloves

Ingredients for biryani gravy layer: :

  • 2 green bell pepper/capsicum, chopped in small pieces
  • 1 – 1.5 cups tomato puree
  • 1 cup peas (fresh/frozen)
  • 2/3 cup yogurt (I used Greek curd which has a thick texture)
  • 2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 2 green chillies
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 3 tbsp coriander, finely chopped
  • 1.5 tbsp oil

Ingredients for garnish:

  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 6-7 saffron strands
  • 2-3 tbsp roasted cashews

Vegetable biryani
Vegetable biryani


  • Soak the basmati rice in water for around 20 mins.
  • Meanwhile, dry roast the ingredients mentioned for the biryani masala for 7-8 mins on a low flame. Once they are roasted, switch off the flame and let the pan cool for 10 mins. Then, grind these roasted ingredients in a mixer into a fine powder and keep it aside. Your biryani masala powder is ready.
  • Now take 4 cups water in a pan and keep it on a low flame. Add the ingredients mentioned under rice section in this recipe into this water and let it come to a boil.
  • When the water boils, drain the soaked rice and add it to the pan. Stir it well and cover the pan with a lid for the rice to cook. This will take around 10-12 mins. Keep monitoring the boiling of the rice from time to time.
  • As the rice is cooking, simultaneously start making the gravy on another flame. Take another pan and add oil in it.
  • Once the oil heats up, add the bay leaf, ginger-garlic paste, green chillies and tomato puree. Saute it for around 2 mins till the raw flavour of tomatoes goes away.
  • Add green bell peppers and peas and let them partially cook for 6-7 mins. Cover with a lid at this stage.
  • Now remove the pan from the flame and add the yogurt to this partially cooked gravy and mix well.
  • Place this pan back on the stove and add the remaining ingredients which are turmeric, biryani masala powder (which you have already made in mixer) and salt. Mix the spices well and let this cook for another 10 mins on low flame till the vegetables are fully cooked. If your gravy is turning thick, add a small amount of water.
  • The biryani rice should have been done in the meantime. Switch of the rice flame and let it cool for 5 mins.
  • Lightly grease a non-stick vessel with oil and start stacking the layers.
    Vegetable biryani layers
    Vegetable biryani layers

  • The bottom-most layer will be half the amount of rice garnished with coriander. The middle layer will be biryani gravy evenly spread across the rice. The topmost layer will be the other half of rice again garnished with coriander. (All 3 layers shown in the above pic)
  • Once the placement of layers is done, cook this on a low flame for 10 mins with a lid. Do not shake the vessel too much while placing this on the flame.
  • Meanwhile, soak the saffron stands in warm milk for around 10 mins. Drizzle it on the topmost layer of rice. Roast the cashews and add them as garnish on the top.
  • While serving, you will be able to cut across the layers and it looks very attractive on the plate. This dish is absolutely mouthwatering 🙂

Tips :

  • Do all the stages of cooking process on slow flame.
  • Do not add yogurt in the gravy while on the flame. Remove it to avoid curdling. Avoid using extremely sour yogurt.

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