Vegetable Biriyani With Cucumber Mint Raita

Vegetable Biriyani With Cucumber Mint Raita

Vegetable Biriyani and its variants make a frequent appearance on my table. So my family and friends, including myself were quite surprised that a recipe for the same has not yet appeared on divinetaste. When my aunt and cousin arrived last week, I made this for lunch and that's when I also felt that I could no longer postpone the writing of this post.

Biriyani is essentially a preparation of meat and rice and is a gift of the mughals to the cuisine of the world. There are hundreds of variations of this rice preparation. A pulao is quite similar to a biriyani and in "A Historical dictionary of Indian Food" K.T. Achaya says that the recipes in the Ain-i-Akbari show little distinction between a biriyani and a palao. But  the techniques and flavours used in the north Indian (Lucknow) biriyanis and pulao are different from those of the south (Kerala and Hyderabad).

One of the plus points of this rice preparation is that you can use seasonal fresh vegetables that you have on hand. I'm lucky to have farm fresh vegetables delivered at my doorstep from my vendor Nathuram every alternate day. This gives me a great choice of vegetables to use.

I still remember the day when my friend Preethi had recreated my version of biriyani in her kitchen after having noted the recipe to the tee. I cannot forget the smile on her excited face exuding so much happiness and contentment for having mastered the art of preparing this exotic rice. I always joke with her saying with her around I dont need any recipe testers.

The best part of the art of food preparation is when you are able to feel the satisfaction of making a wonderful creation and the contentment arrives when others savour it too. This Biriyani is perfect for a crowd or when you have many mouths to feed. It is visually attractive  and nutritionally adept with carbohydrate from the rice, vitamins and minerals from the vegetables and protein from the yogurt served as an accompaniment.

Vegetable Biriyani Recipe

The ingredient list is long but this is a fantastic rice preparation to make for a party. Vegetables in season can be used and soy chunks or paneer cheese can be added for additional flavour


500 gm (2 1/2 cups) good quality basmati Rice
2 medium sized carrots, cut into 1" pieces
1 medium sized potato, cut into 1" pieces
1 small cauliflower, cut into florets
100 gm, 1/2 cup peas
15 to 20 French beans, cut into 1" pieces
1/2 cup paneer cheese or soy chunks prepared by soaking in hot water (optional)
250 ml (1 cup) fresh pudina or mint leaves
125 ml (1/2 cup) fresh thick yogurt (omit for a vegan version and replace with 1/2 cup
750 ml (3 cups) hot water
8 cloves
2 bay leaves
3 green cardamom
3 black cardamom
2 star anise
1"piece cinnamon
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tbsp coriander seed powder (dhaniya powder)
1 tsp asafetida
4 tsp salt
8 tbsp ghee or vegetable oil

To be ground into a paste:
1 big tomato, cut into 4 big pieces with juice
250 ml (1 cup) packed fresh coriander leaves
15 ml (1 tbsp) chopped fresh ginger
2 green chillies


Wash the rice in a colander under a running stream of water and soak the rice in a pot with enough water to cover the rice for anywhere between 1/2 hour to 1 hour. After an hour drain all the water with the help of a strainer.

In a food processor or blender, assemble the tomato, coriander, ginger and green chillies and grind to a fine paste. There is no need to add water since the tomato has enough juice in it to get a good consistency paste.

Cut the vegetables and keep aside.

In a wok or kadhai or a degchi (shallow vessel used for cooking rice) or a big dutch oven, heat the oil over a medium flame and add in the whole spices, cloves, bay leaves, green and black cardamom, star anise and cinnamon. When the cloves puff up and the other spices release their aroma into the oil, put in the asafetida, turmeric, red chilli and coriander seed powder and stir for a few seconds. Mix in the ground paste and cook until the oil separates. Put in the cut vegetables and whole mint leaves and mix well.  Stir in the yogurt, rice, water and salt.

You can transfer this entire mixture to an electric rice cooker and cook till done or cook covered in the degchi or dutch oven for about 30 to 40 minutes on a very low flame.

Serves 6 to 8 for a main course or more as a side.

Cucumber Mint Raita

Slice one end of the cucumber and rub vigorously against the cut exposed part of the cucumber. This will help to extract the bitter white juices from the cucumber.


500 ml (2 cups) thick fresh yogurt
2 medium sized cucumber, chopped fine
2 tbsp mint leaves
1/2 tsp black salt or kala namak
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp roasted cumin powder
1 green chlli
1/2 tsp ginger, chopped


In a mortar and pestle or a blender or food processor, grind the mint leaves, ginger and green chilli to a fine paste and keep aside.

In a bowl, using a wire whisk whip the yogurt until smooth and creamy.

Mix in the ground mint paste, cumin powder, salt and the finely chopped cucumber.

Serves 4 to 6

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53 thoughts on “Vegetable Biriyani With Cucumber Mint Raita

  1. I always wondered what is the diff btn a Pulao n Biryani…after reading this post I am more curious…need to google it 🙂
    Also, I use Biryani Pulao Masala from the store, so, when my husband asks me what is that I made, I am always confused n he chuckles at it..

    Now that I have u r recipe, I am going to make my own masala n tell him this is what a Biryani tastes like 🙂

  2. I love this dish and have always wanted to learn how to make it. Thanks for sharing the recipe. It looks fantastic!

  3. did you just read my mind!?? i was so longing to eat biryani, but with the post-natal diet was unable to eat it from my fav restaurant… now with this recipe I am so definitely gona make this at home….pics are lovely Anu 🙂

  4. Simi: No, this is the basket, which nathuram my vegetable vendor brings in the vegetables.

    Avantika: I wish I could send this for you.

    Sharmilee: I use a Canon 40D but I endorse the school of thought which says that it is the photogrpaher and not the camera which takes the picture.

  5. Hi Anushruti..

    i endorse your school of thought too…But I`ll say its the photographer and the lens that takes the picture! It`s such a lovely preparation. What a co-incidence? I have posted something similar too!!!


  6. Hi Anushruti,

    I'm a big fan of your website! Your veggie pic looks awesome!!

    Your recipes look and sound yum. 😉 I often take a break from my work by browsing through your mouth-watering recipes/pics. Keep up the good work!


    PS: I plan to make this biriyani this weekend. 🙂

  7. Anuradha: You are very sweet and thank you for your wonderful words. Comments from readers like you make my day. 🙂 Hope you have fun making and eating this. My best!

  8. Finally your totally awesome briyani recipe has found its way to the divine table! Hey, I see that I am late to the party! But boy oh boy this recipe is an instant hit. And yes, aren't I your official recipe tester even to this day, sitting thousands of miles away! 🙂 Love my job 😀

  9. hey anu..what can b added instead of cauliflower (to the recipes with cauliflower)……
    plz suggest…coz we dont have cauliflower.

  10. Rakhee: Cauliflower really gives great taste to this biriyani. Its a pity you dont have it. But, dont worry simply leave out the cauliflower and add more of the carrots, beans, potatoes and peas. It will still taste good, I promise.

  11. Hi Anu,

    I love your website…. and I want to extend my hearty congratulations for making such a wonderful blog…..

    Vegetable Biryani is one of my husbands favourites, I made this yesterday, I religiously followed your recipe and it was a grand success. Thank You!!!!

  12. Thank you for these recipes – I made the biryani and raita tonight, they were amazing – well beyond what I thought I was capable of cooking! Thank you, I'll be using these recipes a LOT!

    I've tried 3 or 4 other biryani recipes, this is my favorite by far. Thanks so much for sharing the wealth!

  13. Steve: Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts here. This is one of my never-fail recipe and the one I resort to when I have a crowd to feed. I'm glad this works for you too. Cheers!

  14. I could not believe this recipe would turn out soo tasty – This is the best biryani I've ever made and tasted way better than the store bought masala mix.

  15. Hi Anushruti,

    Have a question on the black & green cardamoms mentioned in the recipe. Do they go in whole or is it just the seeds that are required? Not worked with black cardamom much so I really have no clue, but am interested in following this recipe to the dot.

    Thanks for all your recipes. They always turn out good!

  16. DJ: They go in whole here. The skin releases flavours from within and at the same time prevents the seeds from coming out which won't be very pleasant when you eat it with the rice. If one wants to use the seeds only then, it needs to be ground.

  17. Hi Anushruti,

    I was planning my diwali dinner menu and couldn't fine something the kids and hubby would love but I will make this biryani as both my kids and hubby love biryani. Thanks for saving my day. I love your receipes.

  18. Hey Anushruti,
    This recipe of your vegetable biryani tastes exactly as it looks.yum yum yum!!!!! I tried it today and my son who is not a big fan of any flavoured rice absolutely relished it.Thankyou so much.

  19. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful recipe. I am going to try this at home. Would it turn out the same if I cooked rice and vegetables seperately? Reason being I am always worried about adding more water and rice turning soft if i use the normal way to prepare rice.


  20. Nidhi: You can but it would change the end result and it would not turn out the same. If you use the correct measures given here you don't have to worry about overcooking the rice.

  21. Hi Anushruthi

    Thanks for putting up a Biryani recipe sans Onion and Garlic. I have made this a number of times while entertaining guests and none of them can believe that it does not contain Onion and garlic. Also, Im glad I can cater to my nonagenerian grandma's palatte with your recipe!

  22. Onestoryaday: Glad to help! Comeents such as yours prove that food without onion garlic can taste fabulous. Thanks for reporting your success!

  23. Hey Anushruti,

    If i need to make double to quantity, do I just double the ingredients. Will any of the quantity change?

    This is the first time that I will cook biriyani, and I know I will never go wrong with your recipes. They have saved me on so many occasions 🙂

  24. Melinda: Thank you for the trust and faith in me. Yes you can double all the ingredients except whole spices. After doubling the whole spices use 75% of the amount. Hope this helps and you get a great biriyani. Let me know if you have further doubts.

  25. Hi Anushruti,
    I had invited my friend for the first time after his marriage for dinner…..he told me that his wife does'nt eat onion and garlic….i was in a trouble …i had never made dishes without using onion and garlic……thanks to u and ur efforts which gave me an excellent menu of biryani and raita… was exotic and delicious…i also made paneer makhani using ur recipe… friend's wife could not believe i made these things at home….she was sure that i had ordered it from the restaurant ….i thank u once again for making me a wonderful host for my friends and family….THANKS A LOT!!!

  26. Tejal Sharma: You chose great dishes to treat your friends. These are never fail recipes which are sure to please everybody. Happy that you all liked it. Thanks for the feedback!

  27. Hello Anushruti,

    I came across this beautiful space of yours only a week ago. I have been browsing through all your recipes and photos since then and would definetely want to try all except baking as i dont know the ABC's of it. To start with i would want to try this biryani recipe. Could you please let me know if i have to halve the recipe for 2 people? I mean if i have to use half of the measurements mentioned above for each and every ingredient?

    Thank you in advance.


  28. This biriyani has become my absolute go to. Such a delicate combination of flavours. And yes, no one ever readily believes that this is achieved without any onion or garlic. Thanks!

  29. Have been quite late to try this recipe.Recently had guests home for lunch who were particular about the Sattvik diet.Am regular at Vegetable biryanis but never tried it this way. Just the mention of Sattvik food & your blog came to my rescue.

    Thanks Anushruti for making it a memorable lunch for my family & the guests.

    Appreciate the intricacies of write-up & the yummy pics too.

    My best

  30. Hi Anushruti,

    This is a fantastic recipe. I made this and my family enjoyed eating it. This is a keeper. Thank you for the meticulous recipe which was very helpful.

  31. Hi,

    I accidentally saw your video on rajshri food yesterday. The biriyani preparation was simple so wanted to give it a try.. I have tried doing biriyani earlier by the long process and it always ended up in rice being little over cooked. I tried your version seriously the whole house was smelling. My husband and I enjoyed the biriyani. I took the food to his office as he was very early to office today so his friends also had a hand on it. … I got a comment from his friend the he never knew vegetable would be this tasty.. Thanks to you.


  32. Such a fabulous vegetable briyani recipe and you made it very excellent.good on you for keeping up the family traditions. great click and recipe!

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