“Biryani”, when you hear this magical what comes to your mind? If you visualise fragrant rice smeared in mouth watering spices along with chicken, mutton, egg or veggies, then you are not the only one.
I say “Biryani is a ritual, biryani a religion, biryani an emotion”.
The origin of biryani takes us to Persia, the word biryani itself has been derived from Persian word “birinj”, which is equivalent to rice. Some sources also suggests that it is derived from “beriyan”, which means “to fry”. Whatever the correct theory is, one can relate to both the theories, as biryani does mean rice which has fried contents.
It is uncertain if the dish originated in Persia (and was bought to India by Mughals) or if the biryani was originated in north of india, historians have debated about this, and I am less qualified than those historians to put any claim. Only thing I could say is that Biryani has now “Indian” associated with it now and quintessential to Indian cuisine.
In past, I have shared recipes of Chicken Dum Biryani, Lamb Biryani and Jackfruit Biryani, however as I am a vegetarian myself, I decided that this time around, I will be making (and sharing) the recipe of vegetable based biryani. In terms of steps to make biryani, all these biryanis of mine have similarity, as I like that “Dum” flavour. In future, I do envisage to share other style of Biryani recipes.
“Dum”, is a process of cooking in steam, and to make Dum Biryani, one needs to close the cooking vessel/ container air tight, so that steam does not go out and let the biryani cook gradually in the steam.
Lot of times people argue that if there is no meat in biryani it is rather be called pulao or pilaf.
So let’s understand what’s difference between Veg Biryani and Pulao/Pilao.
Difference between Biryani and Pulao
First thing is way of rice preparation.
While Biryani is made by boiling rice in water, and then draining the water away, leftover rice is used to layer up. However, Pulao is made through the absorption process, so the amount of water or stock is completely absorbed by the rice and vegetables in the dish.
Second is the Layering
In Biryani, rice is layered over the semi-cooked veggies or meat and let it cook so that rice gets the flavour from the vegetables or meat used. In Pulao, there is no layering, both rice and vegetables are cooked together.
Third is spices
Biryani is rich in spices, but Pulao normally is less loaded with spices. Fragrance coming from Biryani is unique (thanks to its spices), in Pulao its not so strong.
Fourth is heat
Biryani is normally cooked on slow heat for long time, this slow heat lets the flavour of Veg (or meat) mix well with the rice. Best to use a heavy bottom pot for cooking biryani. Pulao, on other hand is made on medium to fast heat and takes much less time to cook compared to Biryani.
Hoping my above explanations can put to rest the age old debate of Biryani vs Pulao.
Of course there are other variants of rice like, Fried rice, Tehri / Khichdi, may be I will create a dedicated post to explain differences between all of these rice dishes.
Let’s now get to step by step recipe of making this delicious Vegetable Biryani at home.
Vegetable Dum Biryani
- 1.5 Cup Cauliflower Florets
- 1/2 Cup Green Beans
- 2/3 Cup Green Peas
- 1/2 Cup Carrot Diced
- 1/2 Cup Potato Chopped
- 200 Grams Paneer / Indian Cottage Cheese
- 3 Tablespoon Yogurt
- 1 Tablespoon Ginger Garlic Paste
- 2 Tablespoon Biryani Masala
- 1 Teaspoon Turmeric Powder (Click to get from WholeFoodsOnline)
- 1/2 Teaspoon Red Chilli Powder
- 1 Teaspoon Coriander Powder
- 1 Teaspoon Salt (Click to Buy from WholeFoodsOnline)
- 2 Cup Long Grain Basmati Rice Soaked
- 2-3 Bayleaves
- 2-3 Cloves (Click to buy from WholeFoodsOnline)
- 1-2 Inch Piece Cinnamon stick
- 2-3 Green Cardamoms
- 2-3 Black Cardamoms
- 4-5 Peppercorns (Click to get from WholeFoodsOnline)
- 2 Tablespoon Oil
- 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
- 1/2 Tablespoon Salt (Click to Buy from WholeFoodsOnline)
- 4 Tablespoon Ghee / Clarified Butter
- 1 Onion Chopped
- 1 Tablespoon Ginger Juliennes
- 3 Tomatoes Finely Chopped
- 4 Green chillies
- 1 Tablespoon Biryani Masala
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt (Click to Buy from WholeFoodsOnline)
- 1 Tablespoon Cumin Seeds
- 2 Bayleaves
- 1/2 Inch Cinnamon stick
- 2-3 Peppercorns (Click to get from WholeFoodsOnline)
- 4 Tablespoon Fried Onion
- 12-15 Cashew Nuts (Click to get from WholeFoodsOnline)
- 3 Tablespoon Raisins (Click to get from WholeFoodsOnline)
- 3 Tablespoon Fresh Coriander Leaves Chopped
- 2 Tablespoon Fresh Mint Leaves Chopped
- Saffron Few Strands
- 1 Tablespoon Kewda/ Kewra Water
- 1/4 Teaspoon Orange Food Colour Optional
- 1/3 Teaspoon Asafoetida
- 2 Cloves (Click to buy from WholeFoodsOnline)
- 2 Black Cardamoms
- First of all, add saffron to warm water and keep aside. Now, in a mixing bowl, add everything listed under marination category, and mix well. Keep it aside for 30-40 minutes.
- Take a heavy bottomed pan/kadhai and heat ghee/clarified butter in it. Once hot, fry cashews and raisins till they are golden and take them out on a kitchen towel.
- Now to the same ghee in the pan, add asafoetida, cumin seeds, cinnamon stick, black Cardamom and peppercorns and sauté for a minute. Add chopped onion and saute them till they are translucent.
- Add Biryani Masala, salt, chopped tomatoes and green chillies and roast this until it starts leaving oil.
- Now add the marinated vegetables and 1/3 cup water and let it cook on medium flame for 10 minutes.
- In an another pan, bring 4 cup of water to boil. Add cloves, black cardamom, green cardamom, peppercorns and bay leaves to it. Add salt, oil and lemon juice to it and give a stir.
- Now add soaked rice to it and let it cook till the rice are 90 percent done. It will take around 8-10 minutes. Drain them in a colander and keep aside.
- By this time, the vegetables would have cooked. Switch off the flame. Now take out half of the cooked vegetables in a bowl, layer half of cooked rice in the pan over cooked vegetables and spread chopped coriander, mint, fried onions, cashews, raisins and half of saffron water.
- Again layer the rest half of cooked vegetables which we took out in the bowl, and repeat the above process of layering rice, mint, coriander, cashews and raisins topping it up with rest of saffron water. Add kewra water and orange colour mixed with water.
- Cover the pan with lid and let it cook for 20 minutes on the lowest flame.
- Biryani is ready. serve it with onion tomato Raita and enjoy.