Spiced vegetable biryani

Spiced vegetable biryani

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(76 ratings)

Takes 50 minutes - 1 hour


Serves 6
This simple vegetarian curry, full of fresh Indian flavours, is quick to make and cooks in a single pot

Nutrition and extra info

  • Vegetarian


  • kcal494
  • fat12g
  • saturates1g
  • carbs89g
  • sugars0g
  • fibre5g
  • protein14g
  • salt0.99g
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  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 small cauliflower, broken into small florets



    A brassica, like cabbage and broccoli, cauliflower is a mass of tiny, tightly packed flower…

  • 2 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
    Sweet potatoes

    Sweet potato

    sweet po-tate-toe

    Sweet potatoes have a creamy texture and a sweet-spicy flavour that makes them ideal for savoury…

  • 1 large onion, sliced



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 1l hot vegetable stock
  • 3 tbsp hot curry paste (Madras is good)
  • 1 red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
  • large pinch of saffron strands



    The stigma of a type of crocus, saffron threads have a pungent and distinctive aroma and flavour…

  • 2 tsp mustard seed (black or white)
  • 500g basmati rice
  • 140g trimmed green bean, halved
  • 2 lemon, juice only



    Oval in shape, with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile fruits…

  • a handful of fresh coriander leaves
  • 50g packet salted roasted cashew nuts



    The seeds from the 'Cashew Apple' - a tree which bears bright orange fruit and is native…

  • poppadoms and raita, to serve


  1. Preheat the oven to 220C/gas 7/fan 200C. Pour the oil into a large roasting tin or ovenproof dish and put in the oven for a couple of minutes to heat through. Add all the vegetables to the tin, except the beans, stirring to coat them in the hot oil. Season with salt and pepper and return to the oven for 15 minutes until beginning to brown.

  2. While the vegetables are roasting, stir together the stock, curry paste, chilli, saffron and mustard seeds.

  3. Mix the rice and green beans with the vegetables in the tin, then pour over the stock mixture. Lower the oven to 190C/gas 5/fan 190C. Cover the dish tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed. Stir in the lemon juice and check the seasoning, then scatter over the coriander and cashew nuts. Serve with a pile of poppadums and a bowl of raita.

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Comments (97)

jeanettees's picture

Served it as part of an Indian feast. My cauliflower-hating sons loved it and ate the lot.

loopyfilms's picture

Nice easy recipe which worked exactly as described. I used Turmeric instead of saffron and curry powder rather than paste. Makes enough for lunch tomorrow too. I'll try it with peppers and prawns next time :)

hugorune's picture

First time I have made athing like this, and I have to say it was wonderful. So easy to make, plenty of flavours working through it and great portion sizes. Highly recommended. Thank you.

mleociak's picture

Great recipe! I do not how come the rice will not cook in 30-40 min. Mine was perfect. It is probably because of the oven...easy and very filling dish! Perfect with a simple sauce from yogurt, lemon, garlic and coriander mixed together!

missburns's picture

DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME AND MONEY MAKING THIS DISH. I followed the recipe exactly and not only was the rice still hard after 40 minutes the whole thing tasted like all the ingredients just clashed! Awful! Why put a madras sauce in a dish and then add other ingredients like Saffron (which costs a fortune)!? VERY disappointing! My husband is now having to eat beans on toast instead but at least that tastes miles better than this terrible Biryani.

clairehughes079's picture

Very tasty. I always have to reduce quantities as don't have a dish big enough (even a large casserole dish holds about half the quantity of rice). First time I cooked this I just covered it with tin foil and it took ages to cook. Think it really needs a good seal to cook within the given cooking times. Good with other veg especially peppers.

jules201174's picture

mine did not cook either, waited 2 hours and lots more stock added, still the rice was rock hard! in the end i had to put it in a saucepan with even more stock and cook it that way! very disappointed :(

jules201174's picture

my rice didnt cook in time said, in act it took 2 hours to cook and i had to add load more liquid!

maryechappell's picture

Delicious, scaled it down for 2 and used a lot less rice about 100g and 250 mls stock, made plenty, also had no saffron and used a pinch of turmeric. Will try it for veggie family members and may also add prawns too.

amlawren's picture

Delicious! A favourite with friends and the Fiance!
I'm going to make it again tonight, but substitute sweet potato for normal, and also add chicken.

dara1687's picture

I also had the problem that the rice took forever to cook. The veg had turned to complete mush by the time it was done. But it still tasted good!

carolt64's picture

This was a great success. It would have been even better if it had been accompianed by a vegetable sauce.

paulmurray62's picture

Tried this for the first time....Excellent and easy Will make again

craicin's picture

Really tasty and easy to do. No basmati so used brown rice which took longer to cook and needed a bit more stock. Very filling - half the recipe did two generous portions plus another to go in the freezer.

notmyname's picture

Just made this for lunch with a couple of changes (regular potato not sweet and an extra parsnip that was lying around). The flavour was good as is the idea of an easy biryani but like a few others my rice (and potato) didn't cook in 30 minutes. Might be because of the size of my pan - had to use my le crueset which it filled! We'll be eating it all week by the looks of it. Next time will make half or even a third and see if that improves the cooking time.

harnarsharfar's picture

Definitely want to try this! It sounds amazing :)

ankachapaeva's picture

I have a suggestion, however - cook the onions a bit first and then put the vegetables in together with the rice. Don't cook them for 15 minutes before adding the rice as this leaves them overcooked. Esp. when it come so cauliflower.

ankachapaeva's picture

Fab recipe! Turned out really well for me. Light and fluffy. Although I did not have any curry paste and just used curry powder instead and also added a few cloves of garlic. I think that to work well this recipe really needs to be made with white basmati rice. If I was cooking it with brown, then I would probably double the time in the oven and upped the liquid content. Will now make it with different veg.

esmilky's picture

A lovely tasty biryani, although quite time consuming to make and a little on the dry side.

pollyskettle's picture

It was OK, but nothing to get excited about, just curry flavoured rice. I prefer a curry with a bit more sauce to it and this was very dry. Shame, as it had potential :(


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