An authentic Indian Veg Dum Biryani recipe with simple and easy to follow, step by step instructions. Family recipe that we have been cooking, testing and perfecting for many years. This recipe is a great balance of authentic Biryani spices, fluffy Basmati rice and fresh vegetables!
My Ammi(Mother) used to make Veg Biryani quite often. I call this recipe, Gujarati Biryani for all the fresh Undhiyu (famous Gujarati Vegetable Curry) vegetables it contains. I am sharing the exact method and ingredients used by my Ammi for this recipe.
What is Biryani?
Biryani is a wonderful combination of curried Meat or Vegetables, fluffy Basmati rice, and an authentic blend of Masala(spices). The simple layers of curry and rice adorned with and topped with pure ingredients like Saffron, ghee and crispy fried onions truly elevates the flavors of this authentic Biryani.
Meat Biryani is famous and cooked by Non-Vegetarians all around India. Vegetable Biryani took over amongst Vegetarians to experience the taste of Biryani. Vegetarian meals are a large part of our lives in the Western part of India. Gujarat's beautiful fresh produce can make you want to live a Vegetarian lifestyle. Pure, organic and sweet Vegetables cooked with Indian spices won't make you miss the Meat.
I come from a small town in India. My town is surrounded by wonderful luscious produce farms and some of the owners of these farms are my Pappa's(father) friends. Every harvest season, my family would receive loads of fresh fruits, vegetables, and nuts. My Ammi would experiment with all sorts of vegetables in her Biryani recipes.
What's in My Veg Dum Biryani?
I have used the vegetables I like and grew up eating in Gujarat, Indian. Feel free to add your favorite vegetables. Whole Spices and non-perishable ingredients can be purchased online. Click here to shop the essential ingredients from my Amazon storefront.
Produce & Dairy
- Vegetables: I am using a lot of the same vegetables we use for Gujarati Undhiyu(Mixed Vegetable Curry). I have used, Pigeon Peas(Lili Tuver), Green Peas(Vatana), Carrots(Gajar), Potatoes(Bataka), Green Broad Beans(Surati Papadi Dana), Eggplant(Ringan), Tomatoes(Tameta).
- Onions: Thinly sliced onion for curry and fried thinly sliced onion for garnish.
- Garlic-Ginger Paste: Blend an equal amount of fresh ginger and garlic in a blender with a little water to create a paste. I have seen ginger-garlic paste at Major grocery stores in the produce section as well.
- Tomatoes: finely chopped tomatoes make the Biryani Masaledaar. "Masaledaar" is a South Asian term for thickness and the spice level of the curry.
- Yogurt: I recommend using whole milk yogurt. It is creamy with the right amount of water consistency for Biryani Masala and Curries.
Grain & Spices
- Basmati Rice: I highly recommend using aged Basmati rice. Find them online or at an Indian grocery store.
- Biryani Masala: Beautifully fragrant Biryani Masala blend is made with toasted whole spices. Click here to grab my homemade Biryani Masala recipe. You may use boxed Biryani Masala if you like.
- Whole spices: Whole spices are one of the main ingredients of biryani. Feel free to use a spice/muslin bag if you don’t want to bite into whole spices.
- Aloo Bukhare & Amchur Powder: Dried Plums and dried Mango powder give a sweet and tangy(Chatpata) flavor that Biryani is known for. I love each bite of Biryani that has Aloo Bukhare in them. Amchur and Aloo Bukhare are usually available at Indian grocery stores.
How to Make Veg Dum Biryani
- First step is to prepare the Biryani Masala blend and cut the vegetables for Veg Curry(Curry for Biryani). You may substitute boxed Biryani Masala if you like.
- Cook the curry until carrots, and peas are tender.
- Parboil the Basmati rice for layering. Add fried onions, cilantro, and yogurt into curry. Mix gently.
- Layer the fried Potatoes and Eggplant on top of the curry. I like to layer eggplant on top of the curry. It holds its shape well without getting mushy. You may mix the eggplant and potatoes in the curry if you like.
- Now layer parboiled rice on top of the curry. Drizzle in the saffron colored milk and oil or ghee.
Fear of Parboiling Basmati Rice:
I hear people talk about how tedious the parboiling process is and how difficult it is to cook Biryani. Yes, I get it! Sometimes It is tricky to get a fluffy long grain of parboiled Basmati Rice without breaking or overcooking. It is not a "Rocket Science"! Parboiling rice is super simple. If you can boil al dente pasta, you can parboil rice too! I want to share my two cents for cooking fluffy basmati rice.
How to Parboil The Rice for Biryani:
- Rinse 3 cups of Basmati rice. Takes about 2 to 3 rinses. This will remove the excess starch and impurity from the rice.
- Soak the rinsed rice in the water for 15 minutes.
- Bring about 8 to 10 cups of water into a deep large pan. Add 2 teaspoons of salt, green chili, and whole spices.
- Carefully transfer the rinsed rice into the boiling water. Add lemon juice.
- Cook for 6-8 minutes on medium-high heat. Cook until al-dente. Should be firm yet breakable between your fingers. Cooking time is for soaked-aged-Basmati Rice. Sella Basmati Rice can take up to 8 or 10 minutes to parboil.
- Pour the parboiled rice into a strainer.
Tip: If you end up overcooking the rice, run cold water into strained rice. Lay parboiled rice flat on a tray and let the excess starch dry at room temperature.
Recipes to Serve Biryani with:
You might like my other Meat and Vegetable Biryani recipes.
Kitchen Tools You’ll Need:
Veg Dum Biryani-Veg Biryani Recipe
For Veg Curry
- 2 medium Carrots
- 1 large Eggplant
- 1 cup Pigeon peas
- ¼ cup Green Broad beans(Surati Papdi) , Edamame makes a great substitute.
- ½ cup Green peas
- 1 large Bell Pepper
- ½ cup plain whole milk Yogurt
- ¼ cup Water
- 1 cup nibble Potatoes , or 2-3 medium potato halves
- 2 Tomatoes
- 2 Tablespoons Ginger-Garlic Paste
- 1 ½ teaspoons homemade Biryani Masala , or Boxed Biryani Masala
- 1 teaspoon Turmeric powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons Kashmiri Chili powder , adjust more or less for your preference
- 1 teaspoon Cumin-Coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon Dried Mango powder , Amchur powder
- 1 teaspoon dried Fenugreek
- 3-4 dried Plums , Aloo Bukhare
- 1 Cinnamon stick
- 2 Cardamom pods
- 2-3 cloves
- ¼ teaspoon Cumin seeds , Jeera
- ½ Caraway seeds , Shahjeera
- 2 Bay Leaf , Tej Patta
- 1 whole Mace Javantri
- 1 teaspoon Salt , or to taste
- ¼ cup chopped Cilantro
- ¼ cup Oil or Ghee
- 1 large Onion
- ½ cup oil , for frying
- ¼ cup chopped Cilantro
- few lemon slices
- ½ teaspoon Biryani Masala
- ⅛ teaspoon Orange food coloring , dissolve it in 2-3 tablespoons water
- 8-10 threads Saffron , soaked in ¼ cup warm water or milk
- Thoroughly wash and clean all the vegetables under running water. Peel the Carrots and cut into ½ inch pieces. Cut 1 inch pieces of Bell Pepper, thinly slice small onion, finely chop the tomatoes, and Cilantro. If using medium or large potatoes, peel and cut them into halves. Cut an eggplant into about 1 inch pieces. Soak frozen Pigeon peas, Broad beans and Green peas in warm water.
- Heat oil or ghee on medium heat in a large heavy bottom pot. Add thinly sliced onions and cook until golden. Add Ginger-Garlic paste, Carrots, Pigeon peas, Green Broad beans and Green peas. Sauté for a few seconds then add chopped tomatoes, all the listed powdered spices and whole spices for Veg Curry. Mix well and cook until tomatoes start to soften and breakdown.
- Add dried Plums, Bell peppers and ¼ cup water. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 minutes or until carrots, peas and beans are cooked through. Garnish with chopped cilantro and set it aside to cool down.
- Heat ½ cup oil in a wok or large skillet on medium heat. Fry Potatoes or Potato halves until golden brown and cooked through. Remove in a bowl and set the potato aside.
- In the same oil fry eggplant until golden brown and cooked through. Remove from oil and set it aside.
- Fry 1 large thinly sliced onion in the same oil with a pinch of salt. Fry until golden and crispy. Remove it from the oil and set it aside.
- Bring 8-10 cups of water to a rolling boil in a large stock pan. Add salt and whole spices, or spice bag, green chili, lemon juice and Basmati rice. Cook rice on medium-high heat for 6-8 minutes or until al-dente. Strain the rice in a large colander and drain all the water. Set it aside.
- Add whipped yogurt, crumbled fried onions, chopped cilantro, and biryani masala to the Veg Curry. Mix gently and layer potatoes and eggplants on the Curry.
- Top the Curry with parboiled Basmati Rice. Swirl food coloring and soaked saffron on top of the rice. Sprinkle the rest of the onions. Cover the Pot with an aluminum foil then cover the lid.
Steaming The Biryani(Dum)
- Heat a large Cast Iron Skillet or Tava on medium heat. Place the Pot on Tava or Skillet to diffuse the heat. Turn the heat down to low. Steam(Dum) on low heat for 20-25 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the biryani rest for 8-10 minutes.
- To Bake in the oven (Dum), layer Curry and Rice in an oven safe Pot like a Dutch oven or disposable Aluminum tray. Cover the pot and Bake the Biryani at 365 F for 25 minutes.
- To serve, gently slide the spatula on one side of the pot and gently bring the rice and vegetables to the top. Remove the Biryani gently on a platter. Serve hot with whipped Yogurt or Raita.