Restaurant style Vegetable Biryani

Nothing like a good plate of aromatic biryani! This Vegetable Biryani hits all the right spots with its wonderful aroma and exotic flavors!

Loaded with veggies, crunchy cashews, warm spices like saffron, herbs like cilantro and mint, this biryani is a delight to the taste buds in every bite!

bowl of vegetable biryani garnished with lemon wedge and some spoons placed in the background along with a plate of sliced onions

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So, I know that more often that not, vegetable biryani is looked down upon.

I have often heard people call it “pulao” and claiming that an actual biryani should have meat in it.

While I don’t know how accurate that claim is, I still think that a very good Vegetable Biryani is very much possible which is very different from a pulao.

For me pulao is a short cut one-pot meal (like this beetroot pulao) which I make when I am in mood for easy dinner.

On the other hand, I make biryani for special occasions. It’s a multi-step process, takes time and is not something I would make for a weekday dinner.

I can 100% guarantee you that even if you don’t think much of veg biryani, this one will change your mind!

It’s super flavorful, packed with so many flavors and will entice your taste buds in every bite!

I won’t say this is an easy or super quick recipe because it’s not.

The recipe takes time, there are multiple steps. So reserve this dish for special occasions.

It is well worth the effort though, that much I can guarantee!

What is Biryani

Biryani is a rice dish made with layers of rice, spices and traditionally meat (but it our case veggies!).

Here are the key components of biryani:

Rice: of course rice is the base and key ingredient of this dish. Long grain basmati rice is what is traditionally used.

I highly recommend using extra-long grain aged basmati rice for biryani. I use the Zebra Sella Basmati Rice and it works so well.

Veggies: so traditionally meat is used in biryani but since we are making veg biryani, we are using assorted vegetables here.

I have used potato, cauliflower, beans and carrots.

You can use green peas, mushrooms or even paneer would be a good addition.

Spices: aromatic and exotic spices  (both whole and ground) are a must for a good biryani. Most commonly used are cardamom, peppercorns, cumin, saffron, garam masala.

Also rose water or kewra water is often used to flavor the biryani.

Fresh herbs & nuts: herbs like mint, cilantro and nuts like cashews are often added as garnishing and to add more texture and flavors to the biryani.

Caramelized onions also make a great addition.

The veggies and rice are layered and the biryani is then cooked on low heat with some heavy object placed on top of the pot of biryani.

This process is called “dum” and hence it’s also known as Vegetable Dum Biryani.

a large steel pot with layers of rice, veggies, herbs, caramelized onion and nuts and saffron

Tips to Make Restaurant Style Veg Biryani

So, now that we know the key components for biryani, let’s see how to make restaurant style vegetable biryani!

Choose the right rice: long grain basmati rice is what you should be using to make biryani.

My recommendation is Zebra Sella Basmati rice. It has extra long grains and it works perfectly well in biryani.

Using fresh ingredients: like mince your own fresh ginger, garlic and chilies.

I often use store bought ginger-garlic paste when I am short on time but for biryani, I always crush them fresh using my mortar and pestle.

It makes a difference and you would have to trust me on that.

Pan-frying the veggies before cooking them: so before cooking the veggies, I like to pan fry them a little. This gives the veggies a nice texture.

We don’t want over-cooked vegetable in a veg biryani so this extra-step helps.

Using fresh herbs & spices: I really like to flavor my biryani with all the herbs and spices.

So, I use saffron milk (which is made by mixing saffron with warm milk) and also use rose water for the final flavor.

Of course, I also use plenty of cilantro and mint.

Drizzle ghee on top: I like to drizzle some ghee as I layer the biryani. It really elevates the flavor.

Don’t forget to drizzle some extra ghee on top before cooking the biryani at the last step.

Don’t cut down on the fat: this is not health food you guys, so don’t cut down on  steps like frying the onions in ghee.

It’s something you make once in a while so no harm in indulging. Right?

a bowl of vegetable biryani with a spoon placed along a bowl of yogurt and some lemon wedges and sliced onion scattered all around

 

Can you Make this Vegetable Biryani Vegan?

Absolutely, super simple!

  • skip the ghee
  • replace plain yogurt with non-dairy yogurt (like almond milk yogurt) or with coconut milk
  • use non-dairy milk to make the saffrom milk

Follow rest of the steps as it is.

So let’s see how make this vegetable biryani!

Method

Cook the rice

Soak the rice in 3 cups (24 oz) water for 30 minutes.

After the rice has soaked, drain the water using a colander.

1- Heat a pot full of water, add 3 green cardamom, 2 cloves and 3/4 teaspoon salt to it. Let it come to a boil.

2- Add rice, stir with a spoon.

3- Let it cook uncovered (don’t lower the heat) until it’s almost cooked (around 70-75% cooked but not fully cooked). There should be a bite to it. This takes around 6 to 7 minutes.

4- Remove pan from heat and drain rice in a colander. You may add a teaspoon of ghee to the rice. Set aside.

step by step process of making vegetable biryani at home

Caramelize onion & cashews and pan fry the veggies

5- Heat 1.5 tablespoons ghee in a pan on medium heat. Once hot, add 1 sliced onion to it and cook until they turn golden brown and caramelize.

This takes around 8 to 9 minutes. Remove on a plate.

6- To the same pan, now add cashews and cook until golden brown, around 1 to 2 minutes. Remove on plate and set aside.

7- To same pan add potato, cook for 2 minutes until light brown. Remove on a plate.

8- To the same pan, now add cauliflower, beans and carrots. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes until veggies appear light brown. Remove on a plate.

PS: This pan-frying veggies is an additional step and you can skip it and directly cook the veggies later on. I like doing the extra step as it gives the veggies a nice texture.

step by step process of making vegetable biryani at home

Make the saffron-milk and cook the vegetables

9- Heat 2 tablespoons milk in a pan. Once warm, add saffron strands (crush it before adding).

Let it sit for 10 minutes for that beautiful yellow color. Saffron milk is ready, set it aside.

10- Crush ginger, garlic and chili using a mortar and pestle. Set aside.

11- Heat 1.5 tablespoons oil in a pan/pot on medium heat. Add cumin seeds, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, peppercorns, remaining 3 cardamom and remaining 2 cloves.

Stir and let the spices sizzle for few seconds. Add the sliced onions also add 1/4 teaspoon salt.

12- Cook for 3 to 4 minutes until onions turn light brown. Then add the crushed ginger-garlic and green chilies paste.

Cook for 2 minutes until the raw smell goes away.

step by step process of making vegetable biryani at home

13- Remove pan from heat and whisk in the yogurt, whisking continuously until it’s all absorbed.

Put the pan back on heat. Add all the veggies and toss to combine.

14- Add the biryani masala and kashmiri red chili powder.

15- Add 1/4 cup water. Let it cook for around 6 to 7 minutes until veggies are almost cooked but not overcooked. They should be firm to bite.

You may also cover the pan, I usually cook uncovered. There shouldn’t be much water left, it should be kind of thick mixture.

Remove from heat.

step by step process of making vegetable biryani at home

Layer the biryani

17- Now take a heavy bottom pan. I first grease the bottom of the pan with ghee.

18- Then add a layer of rice (half of the rice).

19- Top with half of fried onion, half of fried cashews and half of cilantro and mint. Add 1/2 teaspoon of rose water.

20- Now place the veggies on top (all of it).

step by step process of making vegetable biryani at home

21- Then add the remaining rice on top of the veggies. Then top it with remaining with fried onion, cashews, cilantro and mint.

Add the prepared saffron milk on top.

22- Add the remaining 1 teaspoon rose water on top.

23- And finally drizzle 1 teaspoon ghee on top. Sprinkle some biryani masala.

24- I did 2 layers of rice and 1 layer of veggies. If your pan in small you may do more layers, but the end layer should always be of rice.

Cover the pan tightly with aluminium foil. Then cover with a fitted lid.

Heat a flat pan on medium heat. Once hot, reduce the flame to lowest. Place your biryani pot on top of the pan and let it cook for 25 to 30 minutes on lowest heat (dum).

step by step process of making vegetable biryani at home

Scoop out the biryani from the bottom of the pan so that each serving has both the veggies and the rice.

Serve vegetable biryani with a side of raita.

bowl of vegetable biryani with a spoon and a bowl of yogurt placed on the side

If you’ve tried this Restaurant Style Vegetable Biryani Recipe then don’t forget to rate the recipe! You can also follow me on Facebook and Instagram to see what’s latest in my kitchen!

Restaurant Style Vegetable Biryani

bowl of vegetable biryani garnished with lemon wedge and some spoons placed in the background along with a plate of sliced onions
Manali
Aromatic and flavorful restaurant style Vegetable Biryani! This fragrant biryani is packed with veggies, spices, herbs and nuts and is an explosion of flavors in every bite!
4.92 from 35 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 3
Calories 533 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup basmati rice 200 grams, soaked in 3 cups (24 oz) water for 30 minutes
  • 6 whole green cardamom divided
  • 4 cloves divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt divided
  • 1.5 tablespoon +1 teaspoon ghee divided
  • 2 medium red onion thinly sliced, divided
  • 2 tablespoons broken cashews
  • 1 small potato cubed
  • 1/2 cup cauliflower florets medium sized florets
  • 1 medium carrot cut diagonally
  • 5-6 green beans cut diagonally
  • 2 tablespoons milk 30 ml
  • saffron strands generous pinch
  • 1 inch ginger crushed
  • 4-5 large garlic cloves crushed
  • 2 green chilies crushed
  • 1.5 tablespoons oil 22 ml
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds I used shahi jeera
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 whole black peppercorns
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt whisked and at room temperature, can add 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch and whisk to prevent curdling
  • 1.5 teaspoon biryani masala or use 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder or use regular chili powder for heat
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons chopped mint
  • 1.5 teaspoon rose water or kewra water

Instructions
 

Cook the rice

  • Soak the rice in 3 cups (24 oz) water for 30 minutes. After the rice has soaked, drain the water using a colander.
  • Heat a pot full of water, add 3 green cardamom, 2 cloves and 3/4 teaspoon salt to it. Let it come to a boil.
    Add rice, stir with a spoon.
  • Let it cook uncovered (don't lower the heat) until it's almost cooked (around 70-75% cooked but not fully cooked). There should be a bite to it. This takes around 6 to 7 minutes.
    Remove pan from heat and drain rice in a colander. You may add a teaspoon of ghee to the rice. Set aside.

Caramelize onion & cashews and pan fry the veggies

  • Heat 1.5 tablespoons ghee in a pan on medium heat. Once hot, add 1 sliced onion to it and cook until they turn golden brown and caramelize.
    This takes around 8 to 9 minutes. Remove on a plate.
  • To the same pan, now add cashews and cook until golden brown, around 1 to 2 minutes. Remove on plate and set aside.
  • To same pan add potato, cook for 2 minutes until light brown. Remove on a plate.
  • To the same pan, now add cauliflower, beans and carrots. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes until veggies appear light brown. Remove on a plate.
    PS: This pan-frying veggies is an additional step and you can skip it and directly cook the veggies later on. I like doing the extra step as it gives the veggies a nice texture.

Make the saffron-milk and cook the vegetables

  • Heat 2 tablespoons milk in a pan. Once warm, add saffron strands (crush it before adding).
    Let it sit for 10 minutes for that beautiful yellow color. Saffron milk is ready, set it aside.
  • Crush ginger, garlic and chili using a mortar and pestle. Set aside.
  • Heat 1.5 tablespoons oil in a pan/pot on medium heat. Add cumin seeds, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, peppercorns, remaining 3 cardamom and remaining 2 cloves.
    Stir and let the spices sizzle for few seconds. Add the sliced onions also add 1/4 teaspoon salt.
  • Cook for 3 to 4 minutes until onions turn light brown. Then add the crushed ginger-garlic and green chilies paste.
    Cook for 2 minutes until the raw smell goes away.
  • Remove pan from heat and whisk in the yogurt, whisking continuously until it's all absorbed.
    Put the pan back on heat. Add all the veggies and toss to combine.
  • Add the biryani masala and kashmiri red chili powder.
  • Add 1/4 cup water. Let it cook for around 6 to 7 minutes until veggies are almost cooked but not overcooked. They should be firm to bite.
    You may also cover the pan, I usually cook uncovered. There shouldn't be much water left, it should be kind of thick mixture.
    Remove from heat.

Layer the biryani

  • Now take a heavy bottom pan. I first grease the bottom of the pan with ghee.
    Then add a layer of rice (half of the rice). Top with half of fried onion, half of fried cashews and half of cilantro and mint. Add 1/2 teaspoon of rose water. Now place the veggies on top (all of it).
  • Then add another rice layer (remaining rice) on top of the veggies. Then top it with remaining with fried onion, cashews, cilantro and mint.
    Add the prepared saffron milk and the remaining 1 teaspoon rose water on top.
  • And finally drizzle 1 teaspoon ghee on top. Sprinkle some biryani masala.
    I did 2 layers of rice and 1 layer of veggies. If your pan in small you may do more layers, but the end layer should always be of rice.
  • Cover the pan tightly with aluminium foil. Then cover with a fitted lid.
    Heat a flat pan on medium heat. Once hot, reduce the flame to lowest. Place your biryani pot on top of the pan and let it cook for 25 to 30 minutes on lowest heat (dum).
  • Scoop out the biryani from the bottom of the pan so that each serving has both the veggies and the rice.
    Serve vegetable biryani with a side of raita.

Notes

  1. I haven't added lot of vegetables here since I wanted the rice to shine through. You can add more veggies if you like more veggies in your biryani.
  2. To make the biryani vegan, use vegan yogurt or coconut milk in place of plain yogurt. Skip the ghee and use non-dairy milk to make the saffron milk.

Nutrition

Calories: 533kcalCarbohydrates: 77gProtein: 11gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 27mgSodium: 935mgPotassium: 717mgFiber: 7gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 3745IUVitamin C: 28.5mgCalcium: 137mgIron: 4mg
Keyword veg biryani, vegetable biryani
Tried this recipe?Mention @cookwithmanali or tag #cookwithmanali!

88 thoughts on “Restaurant style Vegetable Biryani

  1. 5 stars
    It just looks superb n mouth watering. It so orderly placed. And east to follow. Great! Thanks 😊 a lot. All the best.

      1. 5 stars
        Tried this recipe today. Excellent !!! My husband and daughter loved it. Thanks dear Manali. Will try out your other recipes too.

  2. 5 stars
    Firstly, I came here because you are my go-to person for any new recipes 🙂 so naturally when I had to make biryani for the first time in my life, I had to search your site for it! Took me nearly 2 hours to put it all together and the family loved it. Thank you Manali 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    For a large family event I quadrupled the recipe. Everyone loved it. There was not a grain of rice left! I was forced to make two adjustments. I had no ghee and used half butter/half vegetable oil, and I was confused about the rose water at the end. I did not see it on the shopping list. I just left it out. Next time I will plan ahead and make it exactly as the recipe says. Thank you for this lovely addition to our list of family favorites.

  4. 5 stars
    I tried this today and came out awesome!!! It was a super hit and there was not a grain of rice left. My kids also loved it so much. Thanks for the wonderful recipe.

    FYI – I made one change to the recipe – Instead of biriyani masala, I used home made Kitchen king masala..

  5. I tried this recipe today ..
    And it was delicious..
    My family loved it alot .
    My mother-in-law praised me .
    Thanks a lot for this recipe❤️

  6. 5 stars
    I tried it for dinner yesterday. Great recipe. The veg biriyani was just perfect, both the texture n taste was yum.

  7. Very good recipe. First time I could make a decent biryani. After many failed attempts, I had decided never again to try making a biryani in my life. But once after many years when feeling lazy to cook traditional full time meal, was thinking if only I could cook a biryani. Then searched the Internet for recipes and came across this one. It turned out delicious. Thank you

  8. I’m planning to make this for a neighbor today who is going through a rough patch. Ideally, I’d like to make it in a disposable baking pan so that she can heat it all up in her oven, so that she doesn’t have to worry about virus on the pan. How would you recommend making this in the oven instead? Also, can it be frozen if I use vegetables that freeze well like peas, carrots, etc?

    Thank you!

    1. you can use those veggies and I haven’t made this in the oven. But to make one, follow all the steps as it is- boil the rice, make the veggies and once you layer everything- do that in an ove-proof container. Try 20 minutes at 375 to 400 F degrees?

  9. I am planning to try making this on my birthday. I cant source biryani masala, can I use homemade garam masala instead?

  10. 5 stars
    We are a family of 4 taking turns in trying new recipes during , awarding the cook of the evening points for flavour and presentation. I made this Biryani tonight with mango raita and rhubarb icecream with strawberries as dessert. Everyone was just blown away. I received top notes. Absolutely delicious!

  11. 5 stars
    Best recipe .. I made biryani for the first time and oh la la … it turned amazing .. thank u for such a nice recipe .. wish I could share the picture .

  12. Hi Manali

    Can you tell me, is the pan you heat up, under the rice pan, empty or does it have water in? Also, I make my own garam masala, do you have a recipe for your homemade biryani masala please? We Can’t get it at the moment
    Thanks for all your yummy recipes, from Panda here in the UK x

    1. you mean at the last step? No it’s just a flat griddle, no water. Use garam masala if you don’t have biryani masala. I don’t have a biryani masala recipe on the blog yet, sorry.

  13. 5 stars
    Thank you Manali for your fantastic recipes! I was forced to start cooking , and I was not really experienced with making Indian dishes. From the first time I came across your website, I completely fell in love with the way you explain each and every step of the cooking process and the on spot quantities. And every dish comes out so delicious! Even my Indian husband is amazed by the taste of the meals 😉

  14. 5 stars
    Awesome… followed it to the T and it turned out perfect!! Everyone loved it home. I have been sharing your recipe so often with all my friends and family.

  15. 5 stars
    Hey manali ,tried the biryani and it turned out awesome,even better than any best biryani outlets.Everyone absolutely loved it😋.Was craving to eat biryani for long time.Have shared the recipe with all my near n dear ones.

  16. 5 stars
    Loved the recipe, so easily demonstrated and laid down. Followed it completely minus the rose water as we dint have it and it turned out heavenly ! Also been following a few of your other recipes. Yum !

    1. 5 stars
      I followed the recipe step by step, took me a bit over 2 hours but it was delicious. Finally, vegetable biryani felt different from vegetable pulao. The fragrance of this dish was also amazing!

  17. 5 stars
    Hey recipe was just superb,very well explained and presented which really helped it to turn out to be scrumptious meal….Thanks a lot…

  18. Manali I loved your recipe. I want to try it out . Can I use diluted rose essence in place of rose water since I don’t have rose water?

      1. 5 stars
        Thank you so much Manali
        Tried your recipe every step. Turned out great. Proudly shared with two families. They loved it. Got the compliment” tastes exactly like restaurant style
        Biryani”…..😊

  19. 5 stars
    I tried it and it came out very well. Everybody at home enjoyed the biryani. Thank you for such a delicious recipe.

  20. 5 stars
    Hi Manali

    That’s an excellent tutorial. I just did it and it came out awesome. I followed to T your steps and with bated heart waited on the table with it. My hubby opened and said wow feel like being in Paradise Hyd, and needless to say it was dhumilicious. Thanks so much.. My 90 mts tiredness just flew away with the compliment. Thanks.

  21. Hello Manali,
    I’m helping my son prepare a socially distanced Indian dinner for tonight. We have a number of dishes planned, and I’m wondering if it will work to do the last step- heating the layered biryani in the oven, instread of in a pan?

  22. 2 stars
    Hi Manali
    Really disappointed with the result after so much care and attention following the recipe. Has really put me off ever expending so much effort again on a rice based dish.
    Really struggled to get the veg to cook-ended up waiting for 70mins, after giving up and baking it in the oven. By then everything had got super dry, and the flavours just weren’t there anymore. Usually pretty good nailing various Indian dishes, especially Gujarati.

    1. Hi Alain, I am not sure what happened. This recipe has glowing reviews and everyone seem to love it. I can guarantee it’s a full proof recipe and I gave taken a lot of effort to explain everything in detail. Can you please tell me why would the veggies not cook in 70 minutes? That doesn’t make any sense.

    2. 5 stars
      this biryani is a delight to the taste buds in every bite!
      I’ve been making it since 2 years now.. Everyone in my family loves it… And they call my biryani as world’s best biryani… Thank u!!!

  23. 5 stars
    I made Biryani, following your recipe! It came out superb. So flavorful and aromatic. Could not have imagined that vegetable Biryani pups be so yummy.

  24. hey .. planning to cook this for dinner tonight had a little doubt that do i need to use desi ghee or normal oil will do ?

  25. I wanted to love this, but it turned out so bland for me! I’m a relatively new cook and this was my first attempt at Biryani so I’m 99.99% sure it’s my fault. The only thing I can think of is I must have cooked the rice in too much water– I soaked it in the amount you specified, but then didn’t measure however much I put in the pot (it was a lot). Could it have diluted it that much? I also took forever with recipe prep so it probably soaked for 1.5 hours.

    1. The water in which you cook the rice will not dilute anything. We use that water for only boiling the rice. Ultimately you drain all the water so it can’t have an effect on the final flavor. This recipe is very flavorful so it’s hard to say where you went wrong. Please re-read the recipe again and try.

  26. Can the Biryani be prepared and layered the day before and then cooked close to serving time. I have vegetarians and meat eaters and thought I would do the vegetable Biryani and a chicken Biryani but won’t have time to prepare them on the day.

  27. 5 stars
    Thank you for this lovely recipe. I was looking for a breyani recipe, bursting with flavour & with caramelised onions. This recipe sure hit the spot. I love your carrot cake recipe & have been using it for years. Now this will be my go-to veg breyani recipe. Thank you so much!!!

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