Gourmet Vegetable Biryani

In India the Biryani is cooked for special occasions. One mouthful of this sumptuous dish with its complex flavours and spicy notes will have you heading back for more and more. This is a must try and one that everyone will love.

Gourmet Vegetable Biryani



For the garnish

30 g ( 2 tablespoons ) raw cashews

15 g ( 1 tablespoon ) flaked almonds

1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds

1/2 teaspoon black onion seeds ( nigella seeds )

1 heaped teaspoon virgin coconut oil

2 medium red onions, finely sliced

1/4 teaspoon salt

For the vegetable mixture

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 heaped teaspoon virgin coconut oil

2 cinnamon sticks

4 black cardamom pods ( or you can substitute for green )

2 bay leaves

3 cloves

3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into bite-size pieces

2 medium bell peppers, chopped into bite-size pieces

225 g ( 1 cup ) green beans, chopped

1 medium aubergine ( eggplant ), chopped into bite-size pieces

Spice paste ~ 5 cloves garlic, 1 inch fresh ginger, 1/2 teaspoon coriander, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon garam masala, 1 fresh green chilli ( optional if you do not like it too hot ), 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, 1 teaspoon salt, 100 ml ( 7 Tbls ) water

150 ml ( 10 Tbls ) vegan cream

For the rice

250 g ( 8.8 oz ) basmati rice ( This should be pre-soaked in water with 1 teaspoon salt for 1 hour before cooking )

1 heaped teaspoon virgin coconut oil

1 teaspoon sea salt

300 ml ( 10 fl oz ) boiling water

1 cinnamon stick

3 black cardamom pods

1 bay leaf

2 tablespoons desiccated coconut

Turmeric water ~ 60 ml water mixed with 1/2 teaspoon turmeric

You will also need

1 blender

1 heavy bottom frying pan

1 medium saucepan with lid

Tin foil

1 casserole dish with fitting lid


Begin by preparing the garnish.

In a dry frying pan, toast the cashews, almonds, fennel seeds and black onion seeds. Put to one side.

Now add the coconut oil to the pan and fry the onions, with the salt, over a medium heat for about 15 minutes. The onions should very browned but not burned. Put to one side.

Now prepare the vegetable mixture.

To begin, make the spice paste (which is more a wet mix) by adding all of the spice paste ingredients to a blender and blending until smooth.

Heat the vegetable oil and coconut oil in a frying pan and fry the cinnamon, cardamom, bay leaf and cloves. Fry for a minute to release the oils and then add all of the vegetables. Fry these for about 5 minutes and then add in the watery spice paste. Continue to fry for another 5 minutes then turn the heat down low, cover and cook for a further 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, stir in the cream and put to one side. Remove as many of the whole spices as you can find.

Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius ( 400 F ) and prepare the rice.

Put the soaked rice in a sieve and rinse well under the tap to remove the starch and salt.

Over a medium heat, heat the coconut oil in a saucepan and fry the cinnamon, cardamom and bay leaf for a minute to release oils. Add the rice and continue to fry for another 1 minute to coat the grains with oil. Add the hot water, salt and desiccated coconut, stir well and bring to the boil. Turn the heat to the lowest setting possible, on the smallest ring, cover with tin foil and place the lid on top. Cook for 10 minutes and until all the water has evaporated.

Whilst the rice is cooking, transfer the vegetable mixture to a casserole dish (which has a lid). Place half of the onion mixture on top of the vegetables followed with half of the toasted nuts and seeds.

Once the rice has cooked place on top of the vegetable mix. Sprinkle with the turmeric water and place foil directly onto the rice to cover. Put the lid on the dish and put in the oven for 40 minutes.

Remove from the oven, test to be sure the rice is cooked through (return to the over for a few more minutes if needed) and serve with a garnish of the remaining toasted nuts and onions.

Gourmet Vegetable Biryani