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
- 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.
- 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 1To 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 2Spread 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 3Finally 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.