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

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!

bowl of vegetable biryani garnished with lemon wedge and some spoons placed in the background along with a plate of sliced onions
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Keyword veg biryani, vegetable biryani
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 3
Calories: 533 kcal
Author: Manali
5 from 1 vote
Print

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

  1. Soak the rice in 3 cups (24 oz) water for 30 minutes. After the rice has soaked, drain the water using a colander.

  2. 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.

  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.

    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

  1. 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.

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

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

  4. 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

  1. 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.

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Add the biryani masala and kashmiri red chili powder.

  7. 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

  1. 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).

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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).

  5. 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.

Recipe 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 Facts
Restaurant Style Vegetable Biryani
Amount Per Serving
Calories 533 Calories from Fat 189
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 21g 32%
Saturated Fat 8g 40%
Cholesterol 27mg 9%
Sodium 935mg 39%
Potassium 717mg 20%
Total Carbohydrates 77g 26%
Dietary Fiber 7g 28%
Sugars 8g
Protein 11g 22%
Vitamin A 74.9%
Vitamin C 34.6%
Calcium 13.7%
Iron 22.2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

2 thoughts on “Restaurant style Vegetable Biryani


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

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