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Vegetarian Biryani

  • 20 minutes
  • 1 hour
  • 4
Vegetarian Biryani

Flavour up tonight’s meal with a vegetarian meal, packed with spices from India. Add your own choice of accompaniments such as bananas with coconut, naan bread and of course lime pickle and mango chutney all available at the supermarket.


  • 1½ cups basmati rice
  • ½ teaspoon saffron threads
  • ¼ cup hot milk
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon each minced garlic and ginger
  • 2-3 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup ground almonds
  • 500 grams vegetables, peeled and cubed (eg squash, parsnips, carrot)
  • 1 aubergine, cubed
  • 1 cup low-fat plain yoghurt
  • ½ cup water
  • 70 gram packet Brazil nuts


  1. Par-boil rice in boiling water for 5 minutes, drain well. Stir the saffron into the milk. Set aside.
  2. Place onion in a food processor with the garlic, ginger, curry powder, salt, cloves, black pepper and almonds. Process to form a smooth paste. Set aside.
  3. Heat a dash of oil in a frying pan and quickly brown the vegetables in batches. You may need to add a little more oil for the aubergine.
  4. Add onion paste to pan, cook over moderate heat for 5 minutes turning regularly. Gradually blend in yoghurt and half a cup of water. Return vegetables to pan, simmer for 15-20 minutes. Transfer to a large casserole.
  5. Pile the half-cooked rice over the vegetables. Make six wells in rice and pour a little of the saffron and milk mixture into each.
  6. Cover and cook at 180ºC for 30-35 minutes. Stand before turning out to serve.

Cooks Tips

- Basmati rice is a fine, aromatic long-grain rice. The authentic product is grown in the Himalayan foothills and its sweetness partners spicy dishes well.

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