Hyderabadi Veg Biryani Recipe

Authentic Vegetable biryani recipe that tastes awesome and so good. One of my most popular recipes on the blog is this perfectly made Vegetarian Biryani recipe from the Hyderabadi Cuisine.

Hyderabadi Veg Biryani Recipe

This delish recipe has been tried by many readers over the span of 10 years with great results.

One of our favorite rice based dish is this Hyderabadi dum biryani made with mix veggies, spices, yogurt and a lot of love.

In fact one has to make biryani with patience, care and attention to detail. There should be no hurry and cooking a perfect traditional dum biryani takes up time but worth it.

When you savor biryani for the first time, you realize what a splendid dish it is. Indeed it is a royal dish from the South Asian cuisine.

Biryani – What it is?

In simple words Biryani is a rice and curry casserole. The curry can be meat based or vegetable based.

Similar to some layered and baked pasta dishes, the curry is layered with semi-cooked rice – later to be baked or slow cooked till the rice is completely done and the curry or gravy has been absorbed by the rice.

Usually the meat is marinated and cooked later for the curry, but for vegetables marination is not done or is required.

Biryani is also spelled as Biriyani and is popular not only in India but in South Asia as well.

In the Indian Cuisine, specifically in the North Indian cuisine, the traditional biryani is made with the dum pukht method of slow cooking in clay pots (also known as “handi” in India).

Of course nowadays many home cooks even bake the biryani. In the step by step process shots, I have explained both the dum cooking and oven baking methods – so that you can choose what suits you.

What is Dum Pukht?

The dum pukht method of cooking has its roots in Persia. It is a technique of slow cooking food in tightly sealed pots thereby not allowing any steam to escape.

The layers of food is kept in a pan or pot which is then sealed tightly using wheat flour dough. Traditionally clay pots are used while making biryani.

Sealing together the edges of the lid and the pot tightly with wheat flour dough does not allow the steam to escape.

The result is that the food gets slow cooked in its own steam and juices on a low heat infusing the flavors and aroma of the various herbs and spices in the food.

Nutrients are not lost in this process and thus the food is nutritious too. Dum pukht is also known as dum cooking or cooking on dum.

Dum pukht is also a part of the Awadhi cuisine which is from the city of Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh (a north central Indian state).

The method of dum cooking is also seen in regional Indian cuisines like the Hyderabadi, Mughlai and Punjabi cuisines.

How is Biryani made?

Like I have mentioned above a biryani is made by making separate layers of the rice and curry.

In some variations, the rice or curry is topped with fried onions (also known birista).

Fragrant ingredients like rose water, pandanus extract (kewra water) and saffron infused milk, ghee (clarified butter) are also sprinkled from the top.

This entire assemble of the semi-cooked rice and gravy with the various toppings are then dum cooked.

Authentically and traditionally a biryani is always slow cooked on dum. This cooking on dum gives the biriyani its uniqueness and originality.

This is how the biryani has the beautiful medley of the aromas, flavors and tastes from the variety of ingredients added in it.

Hyderabadi Veg Biryani Recipe

Biryani Variations

Throughout India, you will find many avatars of Biryani.

Though mostly biryani is layered and cooked but you will also find one pot biryani dishes, specifically in the southern parts of India. Here the biryani is cooked much like the way a pulao is made by adding all the ingredients in a pot and cooking them.

Biryani, though usually made with meat is also made with seafood, eggs, paneer (cottage cheese), mushrooms and vegetables.

In some versions of biryani, the curry or gravy is made with both eggs and vegetables or meat and vegetables.

The spices, aromatics, flavoring ingredients also differ widely from state to state in India. Example in South India you will see the addition of curry leaves, black pepper, coconut milk, cilantro etc. So no two biryani dishes will taste the same.

Sometimes biryani is made using a special type of spice blend known as the Biryani Masala. This spice blend is made by grinding aromatic whole spices which are usually added in a biryani.

About this Vegetable Biryani Recipe

This Hyderabadi biryani recipe is one of the best biryani I make. I also cook my mom’s version and that too turns out great.

There are hundreds of variations of making biryani each having their own unique taste and flavor.

In a vegetarian biryani you can always add a variety of vegetables.

In this recipe, I have added a mix of cauliflower, potatoes, carrots, french beans, bell pepper (capsicum), button mushrooms and green peas. You can even add aubergines, cabbage, broccoli, spinach and kale.

In fact biryani can also be made with just one veggie or a couple of vegetables.

This vegetable biryani recipe is light, a bit spicy and super delicious. The subtle flavors of the garam masala, onions and yogurt are so infused in the vegetable chunks.

Each bite of the vegetable had the taste, flavor and aroma of the masala as well as the unique taste of that veggie.

All I can say is that each mouthful of this Hyderabadi veg biryani is heavenly. This veg biryani recipe post is one of my lengthy post with a lot of pictures.

I have included step by step recipe details with pictures for this post. I hope you enjoy making this recipe as much as I enjoy making this biryani.

Tips for making perfect Biryani

  • Ingredients: As far as the ingredients are concerned, it is best to use all the ingredients as mentioned in the recipe.
  • Rice: To make a biryani firstly you need good quality basmati rice – preferably aged basmati rice. Biryani is not mushy and the rice grains remain perfectly separate in the dish. In this recipe I have added aged basmati rice.
  • Sella Basmati Rice: I also make biryani with parboiled basmati rice (known as sella basmati rice in Hindi and converted basmati rice outside India) and it works wonderfully and much better than aged basmati rice.Biryani made with sella basmati rice has restaurant style flavors as many hotels and restaurants in India use this rice for making biryani as well as other rice based dishes like PulaoFried Rice and Jeera Rice (cumin rice).
  • Cooking of rice: The rice grains are boiled till they are ¾ cooked. The rice grains will have a slight bite to them and will be slightly undercooked. Do not cook the rice 100% as then they will become mushy by the time the biryani is dum cooked.
  • Spices: The lovely fragrance and aroma in a biryani comes from using whole spices. Thus the spices need to be fresh and in good condition.
  • Curd (Yogurt): The curry is made with yogurt and so it is important that the yogurt must be fresh and not sour. The curd or yogurt should also be made from whole milk. Do not use fat free yogurt or curd made from toned milk as it will split while cooking.
  • Biryani gravy: The curry or gravy for the biryani should have a medium to medium-thick consistency. It should not be watery like a stock or broth as this will lead to the rice becoming mushy or very soft after dum cooking.
  • Vegan variation: Use almond milk yogurt or cashew milk yogurt. Replace ghee (clarified butter) with oil. You could use any vegetable oil or neutral tasting oil.
  • Serving Suggestions: Biryani is usually accompanied with a raita (yogurt dip). The raita can be a simple onion raita or made with a mix of onion, tomatoes and cucumber.In Hyderabad, biryani is served with mirchi ka salan (green chilli curry) and raita. You can even serve biryani with a soupy gravy known as shorba gravy.

INGREDIENTS:-

For Soaking Rice

  • 300 grams / 1.5 cups basmati rice – preferably aged basmati rice
  • 1 cup water for soaking rice

Veggies

  • 150 grams / 1.5 cups cauliflower florets
  • 100 grams / 2 medium potatoes / 1 cup chopped potatoes
  • 100 grams / 1 medium to large carrot / ½ cup chopped carrots
  • 50 grams/ 11 to 12 french beans/ ¼ cup chopped french beans
  • 8 to 10 white button mushrooms, sliced or chopped, (optional)
  • 50 grams capsicum / 1 small to medium capsicum / ¼ to ⅓ cup chopped bell pepper (optional)
  • ½ cup green peas – fresh or frozen
  • 115 grams onion / 1 large onion / 1 heaped cup thinly sliced onions
  • 10 grams / 2 pieces of 2 inch ginger / 1.5 tablespoons finely chopped ginger or 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 5 grams / 10 to 12 medium garlic cloves / 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic or ½ tablespoon garlic paste
  • 2 green chilies, slit or sliced

For Cooking Rice

  • 3 green cardamoms
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 inch cinnamon
  • 1 tej patta (indian bay leaf)
  • 2 single mace strands
  • 5 cups water
  • ½ teaspoon salt or add as per taste

For Biryani Curry/Gravy

  • 3 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter) – can use 3 tablespoons oil instead of ghee
  • 1 teaspoon shah jeera (caraway seeds)
  • 1 tej patta (indian bay leaf)
  • 3 green cardamoms
  • 1 black cardamon
  • 1 inch cinnamon
  • 200 grams / 1 cup curd (yogurt), whisked
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder or cayenne pepper or paprika
  • ½ cup water for pressure cooking and ¾ cup water if cooking in a pot
  • 2 tablespoons cashews
  • 1 tablespoons sultanas or raisins (without seeds)
  • 2 tablespoons almonds – raw or blanched, peeled and sliced
  • salt as required

For Assembling And Layering

  • 20 grams / ⅓ cup chopped coriander leaves (cilantro)
  • 5 grams / ⅓ cup chopped mint leaves
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons milk
  • ¼ teaspoon saffron strands
  • 2 teaspoons kewra water (pandanus extract) or rose water

INSTRUCTIONS:-

Preparation

  • Pick and rinse basmati rice in running water till the water runs clear of starch. Soak the rice in 1 cup of water for 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes drain the rice and keep aside.
  • When the rice is soaking prep all the veggies and other ingredients. Keep aside.

Cooking Rice

  • Take a deep bottomed pan. Add water and heat the water on a high flame.
  • When the water becomes hot, add all the salt and following spices tej patta, green cardamoms, cloves, black cardamom, cinnamon, strands of mace.
  • Bring the water to a boil. Then add the rice.
  • Just gently stir with a spoon or fork, after you add the rice.
  • Do not reduce the flame and continue to cook the rice.
  • The rice has to be ¾ᵗʰ cooked. The grains should have a slight bite to them when cooked. The rice should not be fully cooked but almost cooked.
  • Drain the rice in a colander. Gently fluff and keep aside.

Making Vegetable Curry/Gravy

  • In a pressure cooker or a pan, heat ghee. Add the following spices – shah jeera, tej patta, green cardamoms, cloves, black cardamom and cinnamon. Sauté the whole spices till they crackle.
  • Now add the onions. Stir and sauté them on a low to medium flame.
  • Add a pinch of salt to quicken the cooking process.
  • When the onions are cooking, take 1 cup fresh curd (yogurt) in a bowl and whisk the curd with a spoon or wired whisk till it become smooth.
  • Sauté the onions till they become golden brown or caramelize.
  • Then add the ginger-garlic paste and sliced green chillies. You can also finely chop the ginger-garlic and add.
  • Sauté till the raw aroma of ginger-garlic goes away.
  • Add the turmeric and red chili powder. Stir and mix well.
  • Next add the chopped veggies. Sauté for a minute or two.
  • Lower the heat and add the whisked curd (yogurt). Stir and mix well as soon as you add the curd. Then add water.
  • Season with salt. Stir again.
  • Pressure cook for 1 whistle on medium flame. If cooking in a pot, then cook till the vegetables are done. Don’t over cook the vegetables.
  • Warm 4 to 5 tablespoons milk in a microwave or in a small pan on the stove top. Add ¼ teaspoon of saffron strands. Stir and keep aside.
  • When the pressure settles down on its own, remove the lid and check the gravy. If the vegetables are not cooked well, then keep the cooker on the stove top and simmer the vegetable biryani gravy without the lid, till the vegetables are cooked. If there is too much of water or stock in the gravy, then simmer till some water dries up. The veg biryani gravy should have a medium or slightly thick consistency and should not be watery.
  • Now add cashews, raisins and almonds (blanched or raw) to the vegetable gravy. Mix and stir. Keep aside. Do check the salt. Add more if required.

Assembling & Layering :-

1= Now in a thick bottomed pan, layer half of the veg biryani gravy first.

2= Then layer half of the rice.

3= Sprinkle half of the chopped coriander leaves (cilantro), mint leaves and saffron milk.

4= Layer the remaining veg biryani gravy.

5= Layer the remainder of the rice. Sprinkle the remaining coriander leaves, mint leaves, saffron milk on the top. Sprinkle the rose water or kewra water. You can make 2 layers or 4 layers like I have done. But do note that rice should be the last layer.

Dum Cooking Biryani

  • Now seal and secure the pot with aluminium foil. Then cover with a lid. You can also seal the handi with a moist cotton cloth and then cover with the lid.
  • Take a tava/griddle/skillet and heat it on medium flame.
  • When the tawa become hot, then lower the flame. Keep the sealed veg biryani handi on the tava. Keep the flame to the lowest and cook for 25 to 30 minutes. You can also dum cook veg biryani for the first 15 minutes on direct low flame and then for the last 10 minutes, place the handi on the hot tawa/skillet and cook on a low flame.
  • Once done using a fork or spoon check the bottom layer of the biryani. There should be no liquids at the bottom. If there are liquids, then continue to dum cook for some more time. After dum cooking, give a standing time of 5 to 7 minutes and then serve the dum biryani. 
Mediavine

Serving Biryani

  • While serving, make sure you equally serve the vegetables as well as rice.
  • Serve the delicious hyderabadi veg biryani with your choice of raita, onion salad, mango pickle, roasted papad. other accompaniments for this biryani are mirchi ka salan and veg shorba gravy.

Notes

For baking veg biryani

  1. You could also preheat the oven to 180 degree Celsius/356 degrees Fahrenheit and then bake the veg biryani in the oven for 30-35 minutes.
  2. Please remember to use an oven proof glass utensil like the pyrex bowl for baking in the oven.
  3. You will have to assemble the vegetable biryani as mentioned above in the oven proof utensil and then bake it.

Tips

  • Ingredients: Do try to use all the ingredients as mentioned in the recipe.
  • Rice:  Use a good quality basmati rice – preferably aged basmati rice. You can even use Sella Basmati Rice which is parboiled basmati rice (known as sella basmati rice in Hindi and converted basmati rice outside India). For sella basmati rice, you will need to soak the rice grains for an hour. The cooking time will also increase for this variety of basmati rice.
  • Cooking of rice: Cook the rice grains till they are ¾ᵗʰ done. They will have a slight bite to them and will be slightly undercooked. Do not cook the rice all the way as they will become mushy by the time the biryani is dum cooked. 
  • Spices: The lovely fragrance and aroma in a biryani comes from using whole spices. Thus the spices need to be fresh and in their shelf life. 
  • Curd (Yogurt): Use fresh yogurt that is slightly sweet and not sour. The curd or yogurt should also be made from whole milk. Do not use fat-free yogurt or curd made from toned milk as it will split while cooking.
  • Biryani gravy: The curry or gravy for the biryani should have a medium to medium-thick consistency. It should not be watery like a stock or broth as this will lead to the rice becoming mushy or very soft after dum cooking.
  • Vegan variation: Use almond milk yogurt or cashew milk yogurt. Replace ghee (clarified butter) with oil. You could use any vegetable oil or neutral tasting oil. 
  • Serving Suggestions: Biryani is usually accompanied with a raita (yogurt dip). The raita can be a simple onion raita or made with a mix of onion, tomatoes and cucumber. In Hyderabad, biryani is served with mirchi ka salan (green chilli curry) and raita. You can even serve biryani with a soupy gravy known as shorba gravy.

Leave a Comment