Vegetarian Biryani Recipe

If you are unfamiliar with this much loved dish, Biryani is traditionally made by layering spiced rice and meat, then cooking the assembly in it’s own steam.

Versions of biryani can be found all across the subcontinent. In addition to the multiple varieties found in India, there are versions of Biryani from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Myammar, the Middle East and even countries like Tibet and Poland.

Purists will say that Biryani must be a meat dish, and a vegetarian version cannot exist. But this vegetarian Biryani that delight vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.

This Biryani is made with spices from the Spicecraft Hyderabadi Biryani spice kit. It is quite easy to make, though it does take a bit of time.

First we par boil rice in salt and spices, then make a vegetable curry with chunky veggies like potato, carrots, beans, onions and mushroom in yogurt and Biryani spices. You can also add in Paneer (cottage cheese) for some protein.

The rice and mixed veg curry then are formed into alternate layers in a deep pot, then allowed to steam gently in the sealed pot for a while.

It can take a couple of hours to put the whole thing together, so put on your music of choice and let’s begin.

Hyderabadi Vegetable Biryani Recipe

This beautiful vegetarian version uses half the marinade spices from the Spicecraft Biryani Spice Kit and a selection of veggies.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 45 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 6 serves


  • Dutch oven or 12 cm deep pot with a well fitting lid


  • 1 Spicecraft Hyderabadi Biryani Spice Kit
  • 400 g Basmati Rice Good quality
  • 1 bunch Fresh Mint leaves
  • 1 bunch Fresh Coriander leaves
  • 1 cup Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 3 tbsp Canola or sunflower oil 
  • 2 tbsp Ghee or Butter or olive oil
  • 1 Lemon
  • Salt to taste


  • 2-3 Potatoes (3 small or 2 large)
  • 1 Red onion medium
  • 900 g mixed veggies (carrots, cauliflower, green beans, capsicum) and paneer (Indian cottage cheese)



  • Soak rice underwater for one hour.
  • Slice potatoes into 2-3 cm thick discs. These discs will be used to form the base layer.
    Cut all other veggies into 2-3 cm pieces.
  • Roughly chop the mint and coriander
  • We first cook the vegetables to make a curry for layering.
    To make the curry, sautee onions in a wok with 1 tbsp of oil. When the onions soften, add in all remaining vegetables, except for the potatoes.
    Mix 1 cup yoghurt, half of the chopped mint and coriander, half the contents of Biryani Marinade Spices 1 and half the contents of Biryani Marinade Spices 2. This is to avoid the Biryani getting too spicy.
    Add this mix into the veggies in the wok and cook on medium heat till the carrots soften a little, or about 5 minutes, and set aside. Your Vegetable Curry for the Biryani is ready.

Cook Rice

  • Add spices from the Rice Spice Mix sachet to a large saucepan along with 1 tbsp oil and 2 liters of boiling water. Check the water for saltiness. It should be salty like the sea. If not, add more salt. This step is very important to ensure the rice is properly flavoured. The salt will be rinsed away later.
    Drain the rice that's been soaking underwater and carefully add it into the boiling water. Stir once, then allow the rice to cook on high heat for 4 mins. After 4 mins, turn off the heat and strain the parboiled rice discarding the water. It is very important to not overcook the rice to avoid a gluggy Biryani.
    You now have fragrant, gently spiced riced all ready for layering.

Build the layers

  • Preheat the oven to 170 fan forced.
  • LAYER 1
    To assemble the Biryani spread a 1 tbsp of oil in a thin layer at the base of a heavy pot.
    Place the sliced potatoes discs in a single even layer at the bottom of the pot. Ensure the base is completely covered without too much overlapping.
    Spread half the parboiled rice over the potatoes.
  • LAYER 2
    Spread the Vegetable curry prepared earlier over the rice evenly.
    Sprinkle half the chopped mint and half the chopped coriander over the curry.
    Now spread remaining rice in an even layer. Do not press down the rice.
    Drizzle half a cup of water over the rice.
  • LAYER 3
    Finally sprinkle remaining mint and coriander along with the fried onion from the sachet over the rice.
    Finish with a drizzle of 2 tbsp of ghee or olive oil.
  • Cover the pot with aluminium foil and then the tight fitting lid.

Cook the Vegetable Biryani

  • Cook the Biryani in the oven in it’s own steam at 170 degrees for 40 mins with the lid tightly on.
  • Remove pot from the oven and allow it to stand for 5 mins. Remove the lid and the foil. Biryani is ready to serve.


  • Garnish with a handful of fried cashews and raisins.
  • A small cup of Raita on the side goes really well with this Biryani.
    To make the Raita – combine 1 tbsp sugar, 1 tsp salt, juice of half a lemon with a cup of yoghurt in a bowl. Mix through finely chopped mint, diced cucumber, onions and tomatoes. Serve fresh.
Keyword Biryani, Spicekit, Vegetarian

How to cook perfect rice

“Rice is great if you’re really hungry and want to eat two thousand of something.”

Mitch Hedberg.

Cooking perfect rice can sometimes feel like rocket science. It doesn’t have to be so long as you follow the right proportions of water and rice, and use the correct cooking pan.

This simple rice recipe is gently spiced and oh so flavourful. It pairs well with almost any meat or vegetarian curry. Try it with some Spicecraft Butter Chicken or the Cauliflower coconut curry.

You will need

1. Basmati Rice 275g

2. A pinch of good quality saffron (optional)

3. Water

Cooking instructions:

1. Rinse the rice under water until water runs clear.

2. Soak rice in water for at least 15 mins, longer if possible.

3. Mix saffron into 1 cup of warm water, steep for 15 mins longer if possible.

4. Drain all water from the rice, then place the rice into a saucepan that has a tight fitting lid.

5. Top with 1.5 cups water and 1 cup of the saffron liqueur. If not using saffron, just use 2.5 cups of water.

6. Turn to high heat and bring the rice and water to a rolling boil.

7. Now turn the heat down low and cover with a lid. Cook for 8 mins.

8. Turn off the heat, do not remove lid.

9. Allow to steam for 5-10 mins.

10. Remove lid and serve hot.     

Vegan “Butter Chicken”

A delicious version of Butter Chicken made with vegan/vegetarian ingredients. Perfect if you avoid animal products or if you are trying to get some extra veggies in.

‘Paneer Makhani’, as the traditional Indian vegetarian version is known, is almost as popular as actual Butter Chicken in the subcontinent. It is made using Indian cottage cheese called Paneer, available in the dairy section of all Australian supermarkets.

But really you can use tofu, tempeh, soy protein, chickpeas and any number of veggies. Our favourite vegan option uses roasted cauliflower. Absolutely sensational!

Spicecraft kits come with the 13 herbs and spices pre-portioned for this dish. We add in different spices at different stages of cooking to build layers of flavour.

Kits do not contain any animal products at all.

  1. Spicecraft Butter Chicken kit (makes 6 serves) – 1
  2. Tomato paste – 140g
  3. Cauliflower and/or firm tofu – 600g
  4. Light Coconut cream – 300 ml
  5. Sugar – 1 tsp
  6. Olive oil – 2 tbsp
  1. Spicecraft Butter Chicken kit (makes 6 serves) – 1
  2. Tomato paste – 140g
  3. Paneer – 600g
  4. Light thickened cream – 300 ml
  5. Honey – 1 tsp
  6. Yogurt – 1 tbsp
  7. Butter – 1 tbsp

First up is the marinade.

  1. Combine contents of ‘Chicken Marinade Spices’ sachet from the Spicecraft kit with 1 tbsp of oil or yogurt.
  2. Cut up your protein and veggies into 2-3 cm pieces.
  3. Mix in the marinade paste and ensure everything is evenly coated.
  4. Allow to rest for at least 15 mins or overnight in the fridge.
  1. Grill the marinated veggies and protein on the BBQ or oven until nicely charred. If using Paneer, grill on BBQ or skip this step altogether as it will release a lot of water if cooked in the oven.
  2. To make the sauce combine the contents of ‘Sauce Pack 1’ sachet from the kit with 140g tomato paste and 1.5 cups of water. Mix well.
  3. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil or butter in a saucepan and add in the spiced tomato sauce.
  4. Bring to a boil, then gently simmer for 5 mins.
  5. Now slowly add in 300 ml light coconut cream or light thickened cream. Mix well as the colour of the sauce lightens.
  6. Stir in contents of ‘Sauce Pack 2’ sachet from the kits.
  7. Next add in 1 tbsp sugar or honey, and contents of the ‘Fenugreek leaves’ sachet from the kit. Fenugreek leaves at bitter in character and add a rounded earthiness to the flavour.
  8. Simmer for 10 mins.
  9. Add in the grilled protein – tofu/chickpeas/Paneer – and simmer until sauce thickens to a creamy consistency. Do not add the veggies at this point.
  10. Pile the grilled veggies on a plate and pour the sauce over them and mix well.
  11. Season to taste.
  12. (optional) Garnish with toasted almonds and some chopped up coriander leaves
  13. Serve hot with some rice or Naan bread.

Happy Cooking!