Vegan biryani...

This biryani style dish is my family favourite. It combines gentle spices, coconut milk, lots of veggies, fluffy rice and crunchy nuts, an all-in-one full meal, that's ready in about an hour (most of which is hands free cooking!). The blend of spices and textures in a vegan biryani will leave you wanting more and more. it's also a great way of using up all those vegetables, that otherwise might be going to waste... I love the complexity of this dish, but at the same time simplicity in the way in which it's made - fuss free!

vegan biryani

I'm by no means an expert in Indian cuisine, but it's one I enjoy a lot, learn as much as I can, and make sure to always research the recipe, read about origins, culture and do its justice (whichever dish I end up cooking). I have the utmost respect for Indian rich and amazing traditions and food culture. 

Biryani is an iconic dish, a mixture of aromatic spices, fragrant rice and vegetables (traditionally also meat). Originating in the royal kitchens of India, biryani has become a beloved culinary masterpiece worldwide. Each region in India has its own unique style, resulting in a kaleidoscope of flavors. The Hyderabadi biryani from Southern India is renowned for its blend of fragrant spices and tender meat, while the Kolkata biryani from the East has subtle sweetness and addition of potatoes. It's a celebration of culture, tradition and the joy of good food.

vegetable vegan biryani

How to make it...

- 400 g basmati rice, washed
- 1 Tablespoon sunflower/vegetable oil
- 2 carrots, peeled and sliced into thin rounds or small dice
- 1 red onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- ½ head of cauliflower, broken into florets, optional
- 10 mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
- 10-20 green beans / snap peas, trimmed and halved
- 1 pepper, deseeded and diced
- 5 Tablespoons frozen or canned sweetcorn
- generous handful of cashew nuts or sliced almonds, whichever you're using, they should be lightly toasted
- 1 can 400 ml full fat coconut milk
- 1 Tablespoon medium curry paste
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground medium/mild chili powder (unless you want it more spicy, then use hot chili powder, or add more medium/mild chili)
- ½ teaspoon garam masala mix
- 2 spring fresh coriander, finely sliced
- generous pinch of sea salt


You can make this biryani in a big, round dutch oven dish on top of the stove, which is how I usually make it. Alternatively, you can bake it instead in an ovenproof dish. The following steps will be for the method using a dutch oven, I'll follow with the oven one in the tips section, at the end of the recipe.

- Pour the oil into a dutch oven, and heat it up on a medium heat, add the onion and fry until soft and translucent. 
- In the meantime, while the onion is frying, pour the coconut milk into a big jug, along with 230 ml cold water. Add in the curry paste and whisk together until combined. Put aside.
- Add grated ginger into the dutch oven and fry for 1 minute. 
- Add all your dry spices: turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, garam masala and chilli and toast them for 1 minute with the onion and ginger.
- Add all your veg that you're using, and coat them in onions and the spice mix. Follow with the toasted nuts.
- Add rice and mix all well together.
- Pour the spiced coconut milk mix over the rice and veggies, and gently stir through to ensure all of the rice is coated.
- Cover the dutch oven, lower the heat to low and simmer the biryani for about 45-50 minutes, until the whole spiced milk is absorbed, rice is cooked and the veg are all softened. 
- DO NOT uncover the dutch oven at any stage - you'll release the heat and steam, which are both vital for the success of this dish.
- After about 45 minutes, take the cover off, stir the biryani and check that all is cooked properly. If it seems a bit dry, you can add up to a 1/2 cup of water and mix it through. 
- Serve sprinkled with chopped fresh coriander and/or lemon slices. 

✅ If you prefer to bake it in the oven, or don't own a dutch oven dish, simply use big frying pan for first few steps of the recipe. 
✅ Prepare a large ovenproof dish and place all fried vegetables and spice mix inside, add rice, spiced coconut milk and mix all well together.
✅ Cover the dish with a silver foil, then bake in preheated to 200°C/400°F oven for 45-50 minutes, or until rice is cooked and veg softened. 


You may also like: 


Have you made any of my recipes? Tag @anulaskitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #anulaskitchen