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Vegetable Biryani

Vegetable Biryani

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I had this Vegetable Biryani at a wedding and it was absolutely delicious so I had to try and re-create the recipe and I am so pleased with the results.  It is worth all the effort you put into it.

However, this Vegetable Biryani is a long winded version and I would say more delicious.

Wedding Biryani

This flavour-packed rice dish is an absolute favourite amongst vegetarians and goes down a treat even with meat-eaters. I call this Vegetable Biryani my “wedding version” as it tastes just like the one that was served at Indian weddings. 

Especially if it’s accompanied by Dal, you can double the recipe here, and a crunchy carrot salad. In South Africa Vegetable Biryani is typically served with dal, do try it and you will thank me.

A long list of spices

My list of spices may seem like a lot but it is these long list of spices that brings this delectable recipe together. Vegetable Biryani is a bold and flavorful dish. It really goes down well with some Raita or Carrot Salad.


Lots of different vegetable can be used to create this dish but I prefer to use firm vegetable. There’s nothing worse than a mushy biryani. You have to be careful not to overcook your rice too.

Cooking the Biryani in the oven

Cooking the Biryani in the oven for a bit definitely keeps the grains whole and separated. I find that I am more in control of my cooking when it’s cooked in the oven. Biryani can easily scorch on the stovetop, if you not careful and it can be easily overcooked too.

Rice is usually half-cooked before being added to the spiced veggies and you can add some turmeric or a little sprinkling of egg-yellow food colouring for the yellow colour.

I love the addition of potatoes and you can steam and fry your potatoes. This method keeps the potatoes whole and speeds up the cooking process. And as you know butter makes everything better so adding butter to my biryani is a definite must for me.

I hope you love this Biryani as much as we do. If you try it please leave a comment and a star rating. It is always appreciated.

More Recipes to try:

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Vegetable Pilaf

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5 from 4 votes

Vegetable Biryani

Pre-cooked vegetable layered with rice, aromatic and flavorful
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes


  • 1&1/2 cup Basmati Rice
  • 1 piece cinnamon stick
  • 3 elachie/cardamom pods
  • egg yellow food colouring


  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 5 tbsp butter
  • 2 bay leaf
  • 2 pieces cinnamon stick
  • 1 star aniseed
  • 2 elachie/cardamom pods
  • 3 cloves
  • 2 onion finely chopped
  • 1 tspn ginger/garlic paste
  • 1 sprig curry leaf
  • 2 green chillies slit in half
  • 8 sprigs thyme
  • 1 tspn kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1 tspn ground cumin
  • 1 tspn ground coriander
  • 1/2 tspn turmeric
  • 1/2 tspn ground soomph/fennel seeds
  • 1 tspn garam masala
  • 4 small potatoes cut into medium sized cubes
  • 1 roma tomato blanched and grated
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 3 cups vegetable I used green beans,peas,carrots and double/lima beans
  • salt to taste


  • Add the cinnamon stick and cardamom to the rice, season with salt and cook as per packet instructions until half cooked. Drain the water, add a sprinkle of egg yellow food colouring, cover and set aside.
  • Steam potatoes until almost cooked. Season with salt, shallow fry in a little oil and set aside
  • Fry one onion until golden brown and crisp and set aside

Cooking the Vegetable

  • Heat one tablespoon oil and one tablespoon butter. Add the bay leaf, cinnamon stick, cardamom, star aniseed and cloves. Fry until fragrant
  • Add the curry leaf, chilli, thyme and onion and sauté until the onion is translucent
  • Add the ginger/garlic paste and sauté for a minute
  • Add the vegetable and allow it to fry with the spices and herbs for 2 minutes
  • Add the chilli powder, turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander, ground soomph/fennel, garam masala and fry for another minute
  • Add the vegetable and mix well. Allow this to sauté for 5 minutes on low heat
  • Add half cup water, add the grated tomato, season with salt and allow it to simmer on a low heat for about half an hour or until vegetables are tender

Layering the Biryani

  • Once the vegetable is cooked, remove half a portion from the pot and leave half in the pot
  • Fluff the rice with a fork and spread half the rice on top of the vegetable together with half the potatoes and half the fried onion
  • Add the other half of the vegetable on top of the rice together with the remaining potatoes
  • Sprinkle half a cup of water over the Biryani
  • Place the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter on top and sprinkle the remaining onion over the rice
  • Cover the pot, ensure it's sealed properly. Finish cooking the BIryani in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees celcius for 30-45 minutes or until the rice and potatoes are tender. You can fluff the rice in between cooking time to prevent the rice from drying out and spray some water along the edges of the pot


  1. You can cook the biryani fully on the stovetop but try and keep it on the lowest temperature and keep a careful eye on it so it doesn't burn
  2. If you don't have Basmati Rice you can use normal long grain rice
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Monday 16th of August 2021

Definitely tastes like wedding biryani. And so great to have a small family portion. I added masoor dhal but could easily have left it out. Thanks for a great recipe.


Tuesday 24th of August 2021

Its why I don't miss weddings anymore...Lol! Thank you so much, glad you enjoyed it:-)


Saturday 16th of January 2021

Hi Lorraine, I am from Durban but live in the US. I have been searching for a veg biryani recipe that tastes like home for what seems like a very long time! I have just made this and it is fantastic. I did not add lentils, maybe next time but without them, it is still close to perfect (as much as I remember!) I do have a bit of dry rice so maybe I will cover it for the first 15 minutes next time, but aside from that, absolutely wonderful. Thank you!


Sunday 17th of January 2021

Thank you so much Shelley! I am really happy to hear that you enjoyed the Biryani. My apologies, the pot must be covered when cooked in the oven. Another tip to prevent the rice from drying out is to fluff the rice in between cooking time and spray some water along the edges. Hope this helps next time. Take Care:-)

Lallie Pillay

Monday 21st of September 2020

Oh wow! I put my chopped butternut which I froze and did not know what to do with them. I used your sweet potato n feta recipe What a yummy taste


Friday 25th of September 2020

Hi. How much grated tomatoes did you use?


Tuesday 22nd of September 2020

Thank you Lallie. So glad you loved the recipe:-)


Saturday 5th of October 2019

Finally a good recipe that is also easy. Delicious. Thanks!


Sunday 6th of October 2019

Thank you so much Tanya. I’m happy to hear that you enjoyed the recipe:-)

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