Special Vegetarian Biryani

The Story:

You know I’ve been reading a lot of food blogs and there are so many out there I love. However, it made me sad that mine looked no different than many. In my endeavour to add flair (and drama) to mine, I’ll be sharing a brief story of every recipe I do from now on. If you want to dive straight to the good stuff, move on ahead.

This dish is a bit of blur in my family. We’ve never made a biryani, ever! So on my search to make something every Indian restaurant boasts about in Dubai (but never comes close to the real deal), I developed this special recipe. It has my twists and turns; it also has many layers and steps. But I assure you; nothing beats a homemade biryani made with homemade curry paste. Now go on, prepare yourself some desi comfort food.


DSCF5116Serves 4-6 People



  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon chilli powder (Change up the quantity of chilli powder according to your palate)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons ground tumeric
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
  • 1 ½ tablespoon ground cumin
  • 3 crushed cloves of garlic
  • 2 cm cube fresh ginger root, grated
  • 1 small lime
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 8 cloves of cashews

For the rice

  • 2 pinch of good quality saffron
  • Vegetable stock (made from our boiled veggies)
  • 400gms Basmati Rice


  • 250gms green peas
  • 250gms cauliflower
  • 1 medium potato

For Garnishing

  • 1 small red onion
  • Chopped fresh coriander
  • Toasted cashew nuts

Special Tools:

Mortar and Pestal

Pressure Cooker

Step 1: The vegetables

  • Cut cauliflowers in small florets
  • Peel fresh peas
  • Peel and cut potatoes in small pieces (like in the pictures)


Put 3 1/3 Cups of water to boil. Add pees and potatoes first and boil until al dente. Add cauliflowers for the next 1-minute and strain. DO NOT THROW THIS STOCK. This will serve as our vegetable stock. Add all of the saffron in this stock and let it steep.

At this stage the vegetables are not complete cooked and that’s okay!*

Step 2: The curry paste

Take a Mortar and Pestal and add all the ingredients for the curry paste. Keep going until the paste is smooth. Add seasoning to taste.

The key is to season all layers of your dish and that is when you achieve the ultimate balance of flavour.*

Step 3: The vegetables and the curry paste

  • Take a non-stick frying pan and add 2 tbs. of vegetable oil.
  • Let the pan get super hot so when the boiled veggies it the pan, they develop instant colour.
  • Add the veggies and let it get a golden accent for 1 minute.
  • Add the curry paste we prepared and let that touch the hot oil. This ensures the flavour is extrapolated all across the board.
  • Take off the heat and keep aside.

Step 4: The Rice

  • Take your pressure cooker with Basmati rice. Rinse this rice at least 4 times.
  • In the last rinse, instead of adding plain water, add our stock from the veggies. (The usual ratio to cook Basmati is equal parts water and rice, however, since we want the rice to have a bite and not go mush in the cooker it is fine that the stock was already slightly reduce during the veggies)
  • Add the veggies on top and mix lightly.
  • Add the lid to your pressure cooker and wait till it whistles once (this will happen within 10 minutes on high heat and 15-18 minutes on medium heat, I suggest high heat).
  • Now as soon as the whistle goes off, take it off the heat.*

Step 5: Garnishing

  • Roast cashews till golden brown
  • Caramelise a small onion in a sizzling pan (I used the same one as the veggies without cleaning. It’s got all the flavour!) Let it go dark brown and then drain the excess oil on kitchen towel.
  • Fresh coriander



Now, we’re all done, so let’s start plating! Layer the rice on the bottom of your platter. Mount it up like a huge hill of rice. Top with caramelised onions, cashews and coriander.

Best paired with mint and cucumber raita. There are many recipes online, so I won’t delve any deeper to another recipe right now. After this, y’all will need a biryani break.


Published by

Heena Mak

I believe in changing mindsets, changing the world, not with the power of a sword, but with the power of a word...

One thought on “Special Vegetarian Biryani”

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