1. Rice

Veg Biryani | Veg Dum Biryani


For Soaking Rice

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

Veggies And Herbs

  • 1.5 cups cauliflower florets – 150 grams
  • 1 cup chopped potatoes – 100 grams or 2 medium-sized
  • ½ cup chopped carrots – 100 grams or 1 medium to large carrot
  • ¼ cup chopped french beans – 50 grams or 11 to 12 french beans
  • 8 to 10 white button mushrooms sliced or chopped, (optional)
  • ¼ to 1/3 cup chopped bell pepper – 50 grams or 1 small to medium (optional)
  • ½ cup green peas – fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup thinly sliced onions (heaped) – 115 grams onion or 1 large onion
  • 1.5 tablespoons finely chopped ginger – 10 grams or 2 pieces of 2 inch ginger or 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic – 5 grams or 10 to 12 medium garlic cloves 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 or simple bay leaf)
  • 2 single mace strands
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt or add as per taste

For Biryani Curry/Gravy

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

For Assembling And Layering

  • 1/3 cup chopped coriander leaves (cilantro) – 20 grams
  • 1/3 cup chopped mint leaves – 5 grams
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons milk
  • ¼ teaspoon saffron strands
  • 2 teaspoons kewra water (pandanus water) or rose water


Soak the Rice

1. First, rinse 1.5 cups of basmati rice (300 grams) in clean water until the water runs clear of starch. You can use a bowl or colander to rinse the rice. Make sure you soak the rice grains in water for 30 minutes after rinsing them.

TIP: If possible try to use aged basmati rice or sella basmati rice (parboiled basmati rice) to make this hyderabadi veg biryani.

Top shot of rice soaking in water in yellow bowl

2. Once the rice has been able to soak for 30 minutes, drain all the water and set aside.

Top shot of rice in yellow bowl

Prep the Veggies

3. While the basmati rice is soaking, use that time to prep the other ingredients. First, you will want to rinse, peel and chop all of the veggies. This will make the process of cooking go by much quicker.

What to use: I have used 3 cups mixed veggies including green peas. You can use your choice of mixed vegetables for your veg dum biryani.

  • Onion: Slice 1 large onion thinly (about 1 heaped cup thinly sliced onion).
  • Ginger: Finely chop or crush 10 grams ginger (2 pieces of 2 inch ginger or 1.5 tablespoons finely chopped ginger). You should get 1 tablespoon of ginger paste.
  • Garlic: Finely chop or crush 5 grams garlic (10 to 12 medium garlic cloves or 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic). You will need ½ tablespoon garlic paste.
  • Chilies: Slit 3 to 4 green chilies.
  • Cilantro: Chop coriander leaves (cilantro) and mint leaves. You should get 1/3 cup each of chopped coriander leaves and mint leaves.
Top shot of chopped vegetables on white plate for veg biryani recipe

Cook the Rice

4. After you have organized and chopped all of your vegetables, it is time to cook the basmati rice. You can use any method to cook your rice – microwave, pressure cooking, instant pot or cooking in a pot.

If cooking your rice in a pot, use a deep bottomed pan and add 5 cups water.

Top shot of water boiling in pot

Add Spices to Boiling Water

5. When the water is hot, add all the spices and 1 teaspoon salt. Here’s what you want to include for your veg dum biryani in this step:

  • 1 tej patta
  • 3 green cardamoms
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 1 inch true cinnamon or 1 inch cassia cinnamon
  • 2 single strands of mace
Top shot of spices on white plate for veg biryani recipe

6. After adding the ingredients, bring the water to a boil on a high heat.

Top shot of water and spices boiling in pot for veg biryani recipe

Add Rice

7. Now it is time to add the rice for your veg biryani to the spice mixture in the pot.

Soaked white rice being poured from yellow bowl into pot

8. Gently stir with a spoon or fork after you add the soaked basmati rice. Check the taste of water and ensure it is slightly salty.

TIP: If the water is not tasting slightly salty, then add some more salt.

Top shot of rice cooking in pot for veg biryani recipe

9. Do not reduce the heat and continue to cook the rice grains.

Top shot of rice boiling in pot

Don’t Fully Cook the Rice

10. The rice should not be fully cooked, but a bit undercooked or about 75% or 3/4 of the way cooked.

TIP: Taste the rice! The grains should still have a slight bite to them.

Rice on fork for veg biryani recipe

11. Drain the semi-cooked rice in a colander. You can also rinse them gently with water so that the grains stop cooking.

Top shot of cooked rice in a strainer for veg biryani recipe

Make Vegetable Gravy

12. In a 2-litre pressure cooker or a pan, heat 3 tablespoons of ghee, then add the following spices. Sauté the whole spices until they crackle. You can make the vegetable gravy in a pan as well.

  • 1 teaspoon shah jeera (caraway seeds)
  • 1 tej patta
  • 3 green cardamoms
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 1 inch cinnamon
Top shot of spices cooking in pressure cooker

13. Next, add the sliced onions.

Sliced onions in pressure cooker

Sauté the Onions

14. Stir and sauté the onions on a low to medium heat. Onions can take a long time to cook, so add a pinch of salt to quicken the cooking process. Stirring often sauté the onions, so that they cook evenly.

onions being sautéed for biryani

16. When the onions are cooking, take 1 cup fresh curd or yogurt in a bowl. Beat the curd with a spoon or whisk until it becomes smooth.

Top shot of white curd in a bowl with spoon

17. Sauté the onions until they become golden brown or caramelize. Try not to burn them.

caramelized onions for Hyderabadi veg biryani recipe

Add Ginger-Garlic Paste and Chilies

18. Add the ginger-garlic paste and sliced green chilies. You can also finely chop the ginger-garlic and add if desired.

chopped garlic and ginger added to caramelized onions

19. Sauté the mixture for some seconds until the raw aroma of ginger-garlic goes away.

garlic and ginger being sautéed

20. Add the ½ teaspoon turmeric powder and 1 teaspoon red chili powder or cayenne. Stir and mix well.

ground spices added for biryani recipe

21. Next add the chopped veggies.

Top shot of mixed veggies in cooker

21. Mix thoroughly and sauté veggies for 1 to 2 minutes.

Top shot of mixed veggies in pressure cooker

Add Yogurt or Curd

22. Lower the heat and add the beaten yogurt or curd. Stir as soon as you add the curd.

Top shot of curd being added to the veggies

23. Then add ½ cup of water in the pressure cooker. If you decide to cook the veggies in a pot, add 3/4 cup water.

Top shot of water mixed with the remaining ingredients

24. Season with salt according to taste and mix again.

salt in teaspoon measure being added

Cook the Vegetables

25. Pressure cook for 1 whistle or 3 to 4 minutes on medium heat. If cooking in a pot, then cook until the veggies are done. Don’t overcook the vegetables.

pressure cooker covered with lid

26. 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 pressure cooker on the stove top and simmer the vegetable biryani gravy without the lid, till the vegetables are tender.
  • If there is too much water or stock in the gravy, then simmer till some water dries up. The vegetable gravy should have a medium or slightly thick consistency and should not be watery.
Top shot of cooked vegetables in bowl

27. Add 2 tablespoons cashews, 1 tablespoons raisins and 2 tablespoons almonds (blanched or raw) to the vegetable gravy.

TIP: Do check the salt and add more if required. You can chop the nuts before adding.

Top shot of mixed nuts and raisins in cooker

28. Mix, stir, and set aside.

Top shot of cooked vegetables

Infuse Saffron in Milk

29. While the veggies are cooking, warm 4 to 5 tablespoons of milk in a microwave or in a small pan on the stove top. Add ¼ teaspoon of saffron strands. Stir and set aside.

Top shot of saffron strands in milk in bowl

Assemble and Layer

30. Now in a thick bottomed pan, layer half of the vegetable curry first.

vegetable gravy layered in a pan

31. Then layer half of the semi cooked rice.

Top shot of cooked rice in pot

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

Top shot of herbs and saffron in a pot

33. Layer the remaining gravy.

Top shot of cooked veggies and spices in pot

34. Layer the remainder of the rice, and sprinkle the remaining coriander leaves (cilantro), mint leaves, saffron milk on the top. You can also sprinkle 2 teaspoon of rose water or kewra water (pandanus extract) at this point.

TIP: If you’d like, you can even add ⅓ to ½ cup of golden fried onions (birista) if you have these. You can make 2 layers or 4 layers like I have done. But do remember that rice should be the top layer and the vegetable gravy should be the bottom layer.

Top shot of herbs and saffron in a pot

Three Ways to Dum Cook

Method 1

35. Seal and secure the pot with aluminium foil.

Top shot of pan covered with aluminum foil

36. Then cover the pan/pot with a tight fitting lid.

Top shot of pan covered with lid

Method 2

37. You can also seal the pan with a moist cotton cloth.

Pan of rice sealed with red cloth

38. Then keep a lid on top.

Lid sitting on pan of rice sealed with red cloth

39. Then keep a heavy weight on the lid.

Weight on lid for veg biryani

Continue to Cook

40. Take a tawa (griddle/skillet) and heat it on medium heat. You can begin to preheat the tava when you start assembling the hyderabadi veg biryani.

Lower the heat when the skillet becomes hot, and keep the sealed veg biryani pan on the tawa. Keep the flame to the lowest and cook for 30 to 35 minutes.

TIP: 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 pan on the hot tawa or skillet and cook on a low flame.

Top shot of closed pot with aluminum foil placed on a black tawa (skillet)

Method 3 – Baking

41. Preheat the oven to 180 degree celsius for 15 minutes and then bake the vegetable biryani in a preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes.

Remember to use an oven safe glass bowl or casserole dish like the pyrex bowl or use a dutch oven.

You have to assemble the vegetable biryani as mentioned above in the casserole dish or your dutch oven. Seal tightly with aluminium foil or an oven safe heat resistant lid and then bake.

Check Cooked Biryani

42. After 30 to 25 minutes, switch off the flame, and use 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. After dum cooking, give a resting time of 5 to 7 minutes and later serve hyderabadi veg biryani.

While serving the veg dum biryani, make sure you equally serve the vegetables as well as rice layers.

Top shot of cooked dum biryani in the pan

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