Hyderabadi Veg Biryani

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1.5 cups basmati rice

1 cup water for soaking rice

150 grams cauliflower

90 to 100 grams potatoes

90 to 100 grams carrots

50 grams French beans

8 to 10 white button mushrooms, sliced or chopped, (optional)

1 small to medium green bell pepper

½ cup green peas, fresh or frozen

115 grams onion

10 grams ginger

5 grams garlic

2 green chilies, slit or sliced

3 green cardamoms (hari elaichi or choti elaichi)

1 black cardamom (badi elaichi)

3 cloves (laung, lavang)

1 inch cinnamon (dalchini)

1 tej patta (indian bay leaf)

2 single mace strands (javitri)

5 cups water

½ teaspoon salt or add as per taste

3 tablespoons ghee, can use 3 tablespoons oil instead of ghee

1 teaspoon shah jeera (caraway seeds)

1 tej patta (indian bay leaf)

3 green cardamoms (hari elaichi or choti elaichi)

1 black cardamon (badi elaichi)

1 inch cinnamon (dalchini)

1 cup fresh whisked curd or 200 grams (dahi, yogurt)

½ teaspoon turmeric powder (haldi)

1 teaspoon red chilli powder (lal mirch powder)

½ cup water for pressure cooking and ¾ cup water if cooking in a pot

2 tablespoons cashews (kaju)

1 tablespoons sultanas or raisins

2 tablespoons almonds (badam), raw or blanched, peeled and sliced

salt as required

20 grams coriander leaves

5 grams mint leaves

4 to 5 tablespoons milk

1/4 teaspoon saffron strands (kesar)

2 teaspoons kewra water or rose water


1. Pick and rinse basmati rice in running water till the water runs clear of starch. Soak the rice in 1 cup of water for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes drain the rice and keep aside.

2. When the rice is soaking prep all the veggies and other ingredients. Keep aside.

3. Cooking rice for biryani: take a deep bottomed pan. Add 5 cups water and heat the water on a high flame. When the water becomes hot, add all the spices and ½ tsp salt - 1 tej patta, 3 green cardamoms, 3 cloves, 1 black cardamom, 1 inch cinnamon, 2 single strands of mace. Bring the water to a boil. then add the rice.

4. Just gently stir with a spoon or fork, after you add the rice. Do not reduce the flame and continue to cook the rice. The rice has to be 75% or ¾th cooked. The grains should have a slight bite to them when cooked. The rice should not be fully cooked but almost cooked.

5. Drain the rice in a colander. Gently fluff and keep aside.

6. Preparing veg biryani gravy: in a pressure cooker or a pan, heat 3 tbsp. ghee. Add the following spices - 1 tsp shah jeera, 1 tej patta, 3 green cardamoms, 3 cloves, 1 black cardamom, 1 inch cinnamon. Sauté the garam masala till they crackle.

7. Now add the onions. Stir and sauté them on a low to medium flame. Onions take a lot of time to cook, so add a pinch of salt to quicken the cooking process. When the onions are cooking, take 1 cup fresh curd/yogurt in a bowl. beat the curd with a spoon or whisk till it become smooth.

8. Sauté the onions till they become golden brown or caramelize. Then add the ginger-garlic paste and sliced green chilies. You can also finely chop the ginger-garlic and add.

9. Sauté till the raw aroma of ginger-garlic goes away. Add the turmeric and red chili powder. Stir and mix well. Next add the chopped veggies. Sauté for a minute or two. Add the yogurt. Stir. Then add water. Season with salt. Stir again. Pressure cook for 1 whistle on medium flame. If cooking in a pot, then cook till the veggies is done. Don’t overcook the veggies.

10. Warm 4 to 5 tbsp. milk in a microwave or in a small pan on the stove top. Add ¼ tsp of saffron strands. Stir and keep aside.

11. When the pressure settles down on its own, remove the lid and check the gravy. If the veggies are not cooked well, then keep the cooker on the stove top and simmer the gravy without the lid, till the veggies are cooked. If there is too much of water or stock in the gravy, then simmer till some water dries up. The gravy should have a medium or slightly thick consistency and should not be watery.

12. Now add cashews, raisins and almonds (blanched or raw) to the vegetable gravy. Mix and stir. Keep aside. Do check the salt. Add more if required. Assembling and layering Hyderabad veg biryani: now in a thick bottomed pan, layer half of the gravy first. Then layer half of the rice. Sprinkle half of the chopped coriander, mint leaves and saffron milk. Layer the remaining gravy. Layer the remainder of the rice. Sprinkle the remaining coriander, mint leaves, saffron milk on the top. Sprinkle 2 tsp of rose water or kewra water.

13. Now seal and secure the pot with aluminum foil. Then cover with a lid. Take a tava/griddle and heat it on medium flame.

14. When the tawa become hot, and then lower the flame. Keep the sealed biryani handi on the tava. Keep the flame to the lowest and cook for 25-30 minutes.

15. For baking Hyderabad veg biryani: you could also preheat the oven to 180 degree Celsius and then bake the biryani in the oven for 20-25 minutes. please remember to use an oven proof glass utensil like the Pyrex bowl for baking in the oven. You will have to assemble the biryani as mentioned above in the oven proof utensil and then bake it.

16. Serve the delicious Hyderabad veg biryani with your choice of raita, onion salad, mango pickle, roasted papad.

Bon Appetit!

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