Spiced vegetable biryani

Spiced vegetable biryani

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(113 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 potatoes, 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 lemons, juice only



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

  • 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…

  • poppadums 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, questions and tips

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Frances Claire
8th Dec, 2015
Delicious healthy recipe! I only used 420g of rice and replaced the curry paste with spices and it turned out great.
12th Apr, 2015
Worked really well, but these are *very* generous servings. It says six but it would easily feed eight or more. I am hopeful it freezes...
rubot's picture
8th Nov, 2014
This turned out perfectly. I followed it pretty much to the letter with ingredients/times/amounts (bar the nuts and the saffron) and the rice cooked perfectly. Based on some comments I feared the rice wouldn't be cooked, but it was great.
3rd Aug, 2014
Did not use vegetable stock used water instead; used chilli powder instead of chillies; did not use mustard seeds; used some tomatoes; used madras curry powder instead of curry paste; used sona masoori rice instead of basmati; mixed finely chopped coriander leaves into rice just before the last thirty minutes in the oven; gives a fantastic aroma;used onion raita instead of the cucumber raita ; came out amazingly well; thank you very much for the recipe!!
21st Jul, 2014
I think I used this recipe for the technique, rather than ingredients. Made this with brown rice - took an hour to cook, I found the stock level was perfect. Really enjoyed this dish, and I think we'll be enjoying it for a few days to come, there is so much of it! I used new potatoes, carrots, onion and cauliflower. I would put peas or green beans in next time, for colour more than anything. I also used curry powder, rather than paste. Served it with a jar of curry sauce that I filled out with chick peas and green lentils (canned) Definitely a dish I'll make again. A small amount of prep, for a lot of food.
21st May, 2014
Gorgeous! I forgot to lower it down to 190C/gas 5 but it didn't matter - just cooked the rice faster! Added green pepper as it needed using up. Also made the raita - love the crunch!
4th May, 2014
Having read the previous comments I soaked the rice in cold water for half an hour before cooking and that solved the issue of timing. I made it for 2 and used 125g of rice, which was enough for 3 in the end. I added a sliced red pepper to the vegetables and a handful each of frozen peas and sweetcorn 10 minutes before the end. Otherwise I stuck very closely to the original recipe and it was delicious! I will try it with chicken next time I think as it is much quicker and easier than my normal biryani recipe.
21st Mar, 2014
Absolutely scrumptious! Didn't have saffron and didn't miss it. Getting a tight seal with the foil is key to having evenly cooked rice. Looking forward to making this again.
jkpaul's picture
26th Jan, 2014
I made this for the family recently and was surprised how easy it was - I usually use stir in sauces for curry but I'll make this again. The only slight issue was that it was too spicy for the kids - I'd anticipated this and used Biryani paste instead of Madras, but it was still on the hot side, even for the adults, so we stirred a little coconut milk in as it was served - this helps!
19th Nov, 2013
I made this in the oven in a large cast iron pan- I omitted the saffron and coriander leaves. It turned out well- I didn't have problems with it taking that too long to cook (40 mins, rather than 30 in recipe), but I do have a well fitting lid for the pan, which probably helps. It makes quite a lot, but that's a good thing, as it can be frozen to feed us at a later date!


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