Vegetable Biryani

Biryani, which is a very popular rice dish in India is packed with vegetables and exotic spices and comes in many variations. Each biryani recipe can be as unique as the families that make them.

What is Biryani

All biryanis are cooked with rice, spices and vegetables. Some may have meats as well. Depending on what region of India one is from and their own family traditions biryani can be made with coconut milk, shredded coconut, paneer, combination of meats, and a wide variety of unique spice blends.

This recipe is a biryani that I learnt from Geetha Masi  (Masi meaning respectfully Aunty).  Geetha Masi was visiting us from Mumbai and offered to cook a dish that I wanted to learn – biryani is what I chose.


On a Sunday afternoon after our visit to the local farmer’s market, Geetha Masi showed me how to make her version of vegetable biryani.

About the recipe

This biryani is different in that it’s made with brown rice. In addition to brown rice, a paste of onions, tomatoes and green chili is made to add to the the rice dish. With lots of vegetables, generous amount of spices and brown rice, this a hefty rice dish. Serve it alongside yogurt raita for a satisfying meal.


Geetha Masi’s Rice Biryani
serves 8-10

Ingredients for Spices:

  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 star anise
  • 6 green cardamom pods
  • 6 whole black pepper kernels
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ginger paste or fresh grated ginger
  • 1 tsp garlic paste or crushed garlic
  • 1 green chili
  • Salt
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 – 3 tbsp Ghee or butter

Ingredients for Vegetables and Rice:

  • 2 cups green peas
  • 2 cups chopped cauliflower
  • 2 cups cut carrots
  • 2 cups cut green beans
  • 1 bell pepper chopped
  • 2 large tomatoes chopped
  • 1 large onion. 1/2 cut for onion paste, other half for sautéing with vegetables
  • 3 cups red rice or white long grain rice like Basmati rice


In a mini food processor blend together 1/2 of the chopped onion, 1 green chili, and all the tomatoes.  Set aside.

In a pan heat 3 tbsp butter or ghee. Add 6 green cardamom pods, black pepper corns and bay leaf and toast in ghee for a 1-2 minutes. Add the other half of the chopped onions and sauté in ghee for about 5 minutes until onions are translucent. Add 1 tsp ginger paste, 1 tsp garlic paste, all the vegetables, all the spices, brown sugar, and tomato onion puree.

Add 1-cup water and cook vegetables for 10 minutes.


Next add rice, salt to taste, 8-10 cups of water if using red rice, or 6 cups of water if using Basmati rice. Stir all ingredients together and bring the rice and vegetables to a boil. Lower the heat and cook covered for 20 minutes until the rice is cooked for red rice.  It will take less time if you are using white rice – about 10-15 minutes.

After rice is cooked, fluff with a fork. Top with chopped cilantro and serve with yogurt raita.


A special thank you to Geetha Masi for showing me how to make her delectable biryani rice dish 😋!


14 thoughts on “Vegetable Biryani”

  1. Excellent write-up, as good as the dish itself. The photos can easily work up an appetite. After Surreyfarm, our next place of halt in our 4-week USA tour was Dayton, Ohio, where Geetha treated us to some authentic Mumbai Pav Bhaji, which was equally awesome. The kids there could not have enough of it. It was so good.

    1. Pav Bhaji sounds so delicious! I should have asked Geetha Chithi to make it for us too – the kids love pav bhaji here as well!! Why don’t you all visit us again so we can have a big cooking class!!

  2. Biryani is one of our favorite dishes. This is different recipe. Look delicious. Will try.

    1. Thank you! So happy to know you are enjoying the recipes I am posting! I try to make sure most of my recipes are healthy vegetarian dishes, but mostly I want them to be eay to make. Thank you for your feedback.

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