Vegetable Biryani

Monday, June 1, 2009

Remember those days when Vegetarians(mainly the bachelors)traveling abroad carried a lot of homemade pastes,MTR ready to eats,easy to cook meals etc,often attracting the attention of the customs.This made me wonder if it was indeed difficult to survive as a “veggie” in the US? It’s a common misconception people have about the scarcity of Vegetarian food.Things have changed dramatically in the past few years owing to an increase in the Indian Immigrant population.Most restaurants cater to the needs of vegetarians giving them a fair deal.Two days back, P and I we went to TGIF and were bowled over seeing a customized menu card for “vegetarians”.

Of course there are times when we have to compromise on our likings, like am fond of Burgers and I don’t find any Veggie ones in any of the Burger joints like a Mc Donalds,Wendys or even in Burger King.I cudn’t care less as there are many other things to indulge on and enjoy.

I belong to school of thought that any food with the right blend of spices and timely cooking will taste as good regardless of whether it has meat or not.And I enjoy conversations with my ardent Non vegetarian friends on the same.Recently,a friend of mine argued on Biryani being the best when cooked with meat.According to him, a true Biryani is with either Mutton or Chicken and there is no such thing called Vegetable Biryani .While I can understand the tastebuds of my fellow Non Veg friends,I took it as a friendly challenge and made this spicy,aroma filled “Vegetable Biryani”(Basmati Rice layered with spices and vegetables).The word “Biryani” is a Persian word which means “fried before cooking”.This is a very popular dish in India,Pakistan,Iraq(my recent visit to a Kurdish restaurant helped me taste some,will talk about it in my next post),Afghanistan etc.There are also different types of Biryani ,Hyderabadi Biryani being the most popular one. Needless to say this was a royal dish for the Nawabs and Nizams.

I did mention about the origin of Pulao in my earlier post on “Tawa Pulao”.The difference between a Pulao and Biryani is - In Pulao the vegetables and rice are stirred/mixed before cooking,where as in Biryani the vegetables and rice are layered during cooking.And also Biryani is made more spicy and colorful,thus being my fav one too!

Prep Time - 20min
Start to Finish - 45-50min
Servings – 5

Ingredients :

For the masala (to be grinded to a smooth paste)

Ginger – an inch
Garlic – 2 large pods
Red Onion – 1
Tomato – 1 small
Poppy seed – 2 tbsp
Mint leaves – a few leaves
Coriander leaves – 2tbsp
Chilli powder – 1 tbsp

Main Ingredients:

Basmati Rice – 2 cups
Ghee – 6 tbsp
Bay leaf – 1
Red Onion – 1 (sliced)
Cashewnuts and Raisins – 3 tbsp (roasted in li’l bit of ghee)
Tomatoes – 2 chopped (I used Roma tomatoes)
Boiled Vegetables (Carrots,French Beans,Peas,Cauliflower,Potato) – 2- 3 cups chopped to an inch thickness
Black Pepper corns – 1 tsp
Milk – 3 tbsp
Coriander Powder – 1 tbsp
Cilantro - 3 tbsp
Saffron – a pinch(soak in 3 tbsp warm milk/water)
Cinnamon – 2 sticks
Cardamom – 4 nos
Salt to taste

Method :

1.Cook rice along with salt and ensure each and every grain is separated. Mix saffron and allow it to cool.
2.Heat Ghee (4 tbsp),add Bay leaf,Cinnamon Sticks,Cardamom,Pepper corns and Onions. Saute the Onions until translucent,add the masala paste(already grinded),turmeric powder and Coriander powder. When you see the Oil separating from the sides,add the tomatoes and sauté for few minutes.
3.Now add the boiled vegetables,salt and coriander leaves.Cook for a while until you see the veggies completely coated with the masalas.If needed, you may add ½ cup of water.
4.Preheat the oven to 375F,on a large baking pan,smear ghee(remaining) in the bottom,spread one layer of cooked rice,cashewnuts and raisins and then spread li’l bit of the vegetable gravy on top,thus forming layers of vegetables,nuts and rice.End it with the rice,sprinkle milk and ½ tsp of ghee on the top.
5.Cover and bake for 20min.Serve hot along with raita.Also, if you wish you may turn it upside down before serving.

The Rice already has salt in it,hence be careful when you add salt to the veggies.You may also add grated Paneer at the end,this would give a richer taste.And trust me,after baking the Aroma that it brings is simple mind blowing.

This is off to "Ravishing Rice" event hosted my Nags of the Edible Garden,originally started by Meeta of Monthly mingle


Lisa June 1, 2009 at 3:09 PM  

Sounds like a healthy and very satisfying dish. Certainly a good choice to serve to non-vegetarians! Good vegetarian food is certainly not boring!

Ramya Vijaykumar June 1, 2009 at 3:51 PM  

Wow lovely biriyani... to be honest staying a vegeterian is quite easy out here and we could get all the healthiest food we will ever need!!!

kittymatti June 1, 2009 at 4:18 PM  

yummy ummy..the pic loks awesome!!

Padma June 1, 2009 at 4:34 PM  

Delicious veg biryani :)

Uma June 1, 2009 at 4:40 PM  

looks so gorgeous and yummy :)

Pooja June 1, 2009 at 5:02 PM  

Looks so delicious n yummy! I agree with you surviving as a veggie here is not at all difficult. And good veg food made with right amount of spices added at the right time tastes really great!

Gita June 1, 2009 at 5:13 PM  

The briyani looks simply gorgeous...yummy :)

A2Z Vegetarian Cuisine June 1, 2009 at 5:28 PM  

Wowww..Lovely Biryani..Being vegetarian keeps mind and soul happy as well

Priyameena June 1, 2009 at 6:00 PM  

Picture is awesome..If vegetable briyani is like this no one prefer to have mutton/chicken briyani...Excellent preparation

Varsha Vipins June 1, 2009 at 6:31 PM  

Thats just yummy Nithya..I say, I havent ever tasted a veg biriyani as it'd be always chicken/mutton for me,being the hardcore non veg fan that I am..ButI go with u on the say,that careful/timely cooking can make veg biriyani also equally yum...n this one is looking really nice n I love the addition of grated paneer to it..:)

sowmya June 1, 2009 at 6:37 PM  

looks awesome..ncie recipe..

Laavanya June 1, 2009 at 7:04 PM  

I know a few non-veg eaters who think the same way but I've not felt that veggie biryani lacks anything so far. Looks great.

Mangala Bhat June 1, 2009 at 7:21 PM  

wow! yummy dear ..good one ..:)

Superchef June 1, 2009 at 8:08 PM  

awesome biryani!!! yeah, even i feel its pretty easy to survive as a vegetarian here...any restaurant you go to, there is atleast one dish in the menu for you and there are places ive ben to where there is no veg dish but the chef happily custom makes one for you and that is the best!!! :)

Home Cooked Oriya Food June 1, 2009 at 8:57 PM  

Wow what a biryani! Yes I will agree if veg biryani is as yum as yours it will taste as good as the meat ones...
Pix looks so tempting...

Prathibha June 1, 2009 at 9:24 PM  

That Biriyani looks great Nithya..My Must order in restaurants..

Prathibha June 1, 2009 at 9:43 PM  

Hey Nithya, regarding ur query for replacing spinach with amarnath leaves...You can make it with spinach too,but add spinach after adding spinach as it takes less time to prepare...
one more thing..looks like u r from bangalore..whr r u from?

Nags June 1, 2009 at 10:08 PM  

Thanks for the super fragrant entry :)

Suparna June 1, 2009 at 10:59 PM  

hey Nithya,
vegetables when cooked appropriately with just the amount of spices required can be really could beat non -v dishes too! keep it coming girl enjoyed the read and the recipe :)

VineelaSiva June 1, 2009 at 11:09 PM  

Wow yummy biryani Nithya.

anudivya June 1, 2009 at 11:45 PM  

Nithya, this looks great. Vegetable biriyani is tougher to make than their meat counterparts. Just because the right flavor is hard to attain with just veggies. Yours looks amazing.

Nithya June 1, 2009 at 11:54 PM  

Wow nice biryani.. Here for the first time. You have a lovely space here. Keep it going. :)

Parita June 2, 2009 at 4:39 AM  

Thats delicious looking the flavors in it, you surely have taken the challenge very seriously and the outcome is mouth watering:)

Happy cook June 2, 2009 at 6:31 AM  

Wow tha tbiriyani looks so so yumm.

Trupti June 2, 2009 at 7:21 AM  

biryani looks very delicious nithya.

Viki's Kitchen June 2, 2009 at 8:26 AM  

vegetable biryani looks amazing. Nice photos.

Hema June 2, 2009 at 10:59 AM  

I dont know nithya.. When I came to US, I was a pure vegetarian. When we went on long trips, it was too hard for me to find anything vegetarian. Egg is considered vegetarian here. Even on my strict order of vegetarian they bought me egg, and asked me surprised if egg was a part of non veg. Too bad I had to start eating Non veg again.. Yes we can find vegetarian in few restaurants, but I still cannot figure out them when on long road trips.. The briyani looks (and sounds) yummy:)) Good one

Chitra June 2, 2009 at 11:42 AM  

this method is new to me..will make it soon..looks delish.nice treat:)

Poornima Nair June 2, 2009 at 12:44 PM  

That biryani looks awesome...I would have sided with ur friend on whats biryani without meat,but this one I'll happily gulp down.

Priya June 2, 2009 at 2:30 PM  

Delicious and fabulous briyani, makes me hungry:)

Vrinda June 2, 2009 at 2:37 PM  

Yummy biryani..rice looks perfectly cooked..nice click

Sree vidya June 2, 2009 at 3:30 PM  

Hey Nithya!
Thanx for ur wonderful comments.
First time here.
dunno how I missed ur blog all these days.
Its awesome.Going thru all ur posts.
Even i have an entry waiting to be posted for the event.
Planning to post it today.

Sree vidya June 2, 2009 at 3:33 PM  

Hey no entry to ur other blog?
Can you send me an invite to if it is not too personal?
I would love to read it.

Nithya Praveen June 2, 2009 at 4:13 PM  

Thanks all for the wonderful and motivating comments.
Prathiba - Thanks for the clarification on the spinach leaves.Hema - I agree with you on long trips expecially road trips...i wud simple survive on subway,i do enjoy eating their veggie delite:-P
Sree Vidya - Thanks for your comments,the other blog of mine is jes my personal musings!

Sakshi June 2, 2009 at 10:03 PM  

I am satisfied with any food served lovingly and with the right amount of ingredients. Your biryani looks so awesome and yeah being a non veg person I still love Subway any time..just love to see all those fresh veggies stacked inside that bread...

Will give your biryani a try and thanks for dropping by my blog...hope to see u more often

Mahimaa's kitchen June 2, 2009 at 10:57 PM  

delicious looking biriyani. sapadnum pola iruku..

thanks for offering your help in posting the round up... i think i can do it myself... that is so nice of u.

Asha June 3, 2009 at 9:26 AM  

Thanks Nithya. It's amazing how Indian people still manage to smile even with all those everyday struggles for almost everything there! Strong minds, I guess!:)

See you in Fall, hugs to you. Next time i will visit there in cooler weather like December!

Divya Vikram June 3, 2009 at 5:27 PM  

Biryani looks elegant! Love basmati rice in anything!

Red Chillies June 3, 2009 at 11:10 PM  

All I know is Biryani is complicated, while pulao you throw in everything in a cooker and cook it :-) :-) Ok OK, just kidding.
Today me and DH were having a talk about making Biryani and he plans to make it this weekend. I will show this post to him.

Priti June 4, 2009 at 1:35 AM  

That's yummy looking briyani...ur pic is just so like....relaxing :)

CHAITRA June 4, 2009 at 5:11 AM  

Dear Nitya!!
Biryani Looks great and tempting.You have one small surprise that awaits you,so do drop in sometime dear.

Nithya Praveen June 4, 2009 at 9:40 AM  

Thanks Sakshi that was a nice response.Asha – I agree with you,they have adjusted so well with the place.See you soon.RedChillies – Yeah you must try this…lemme know how it turned out
Divya ,Priya,Chaitra and Mahimaa – Thanks for your comments.

Pavithra June 4, 2009 at 10:24 AM  

LOvely biriyani... perfectly done...

AnuSriram June 4, 2009 at 12:30 PM  

Yummy! Looks awesome...

Vij June 4, 2009 at 3:38 PM  

Lovely briyani! looks so good.

Kitchen Flavours June 5, 2009 at 1:27 AM  

Wow looks superb...feel like grabing it right now...

Pavithra Kodical June 5, 2009 at 9:48 AM  

Biryani looks yummy and delicious.Sorry for my delayed comment.Was out of blooging for somedays.

Rekha June 9, 2009 at 7:03 AM  

I love veg biryani and was hunting for a recipe, am glad I stumbled upon urs...this is going to be my weekend recipe.

Dhanya Nambirajan June 15, 2009 at 2:36 PM  

Veg biriyani looks delicious.

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