Vegetable Biryani Recipe

Saffron-scented rice layered with fresh green beans, cauliflower, carrots, peas, chick peas, and roasted cashews all tossed in a flavorful spiced broth.

Adapted from Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant



For the Rice:

  • 1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • generous pinch saffron
  • pinch turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 1/4 cups hot water

For the Vegetables:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, medium dice
  • 1 red or green bell pepper, medium dice
  • 1 medium jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated, peeled ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • pinch cayenne
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 small sweet potato, peeled and medium dice
  • 1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 medium tomato, medium dice
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen green peas
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1 cup canned or cooked chick peas
  • Roughly chopped roasted salted cashews and cilantro leaves for garnish


For the Rice:

  1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once shimmering, add rice and toss to coat in oil. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer until all water is absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes.

For the Vegetables:

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Oil a 2 1/2-quart casserole and set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onions, bell pepper, and jalapeno and season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are starting to brown. Add ginger, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and cayenne, and cook, stirring constantly, to toast the spices.
  3. Add water, sweet potato, and cauliflower and season again with salt. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 3 to 4 minutes. Add tomato, peas, raisins, and chick peas and continue to cook until vegetables are just tender, but still have a little crunch, adding more water if necessary to prevent sticking. Taste and add more salt if necessary.
  4. Spread half of the rice on the bottom of the greased casserole dish. Top with vegetable mixture and spread remaining rice over the top. Cover tightly and bake for 30 minutes, or until vegetables are tender, but not mushy and dish is heated through. Serve with bowls of roasted salted cashews and cilantro leaves for garnish.