With more and more people moving towards veganism around the world, one can always give their own spin to our typical festive delicacies like biryani. Your korma can taste just as delicious with chunks of soya, your biryani just as tempting with pieces of fresh veggies and paneer, in place of mutton.  

Also Read: This Khatti Dal Is Proof That Hyderabad Veg Fare Is Just As Good

We know, we know, the ‘traditionalists’ would be shaking their heads in disbelief now that we mentioned ‘veg biryani’. But did you know the word ‘biryani’ originated from birinj, the Persian word for rice. Another theory states that it is derived from biryan or beriyan, which means ‘to fry’ or ‘to roast’. Even though the authentic biryani recipe included meat, there is no rule that meat is necessary for the recipe. So, this Eid, we have brought you a delicious veg Awadhi Biryani recipe by MasterChef India Pankaj Bhadouria. 

Made with aromatic rice, layered with vegetables and served with garlic-flavoured yoghurt. This epic biryani recipe will unite both meat and non-meat lovers. So, without further ado, here’s the recipe you were waiting for.  

Ingredients:

For the biryani:

  • 400 gm basmati rice  
  • 7 tbsp ghee
  • 2 large onions (sliced)
  • 1 tsp black cumin seeds  
  • 8 cloves
  • 2 1-inch sticks cinnamon
  • 1 whole piece Mace
  • ¼ tsp grated nutmeg
  • 3 tbsp ginger paste  
  • 3 tbsp garlic paste
  • 100 gm shelled green peas
  • 100 gm baby potatoes
  • 100 gm small cauliflower
  • 100 gm French beans (cut into 1-inch pieces)
  • 100 gm carrots (sliced diagonally)  
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp black pepper powder  
  • ½ cup yoghurt
  • 4 black cardamoms
  • 4 green cardamoms
  • 2 bay leaves  
  • ½ fresh mint leaves, finely chopped 
  • A few drops of rose water
  • A few drops of screw pine (kewra) water
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • Wheat flour dough, to seal the dish

 For the burani:

  • 250 gm yoghurt
  • 5-6 garlic cloves (crushed)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes

 Method:

For the biryani:

  1. Wash the rice and soak in water for half an hour. Heat 4 tablespoons of ghee in a pan.  
  2. Fry the sliced onion in batches to a golden brown and remove with a slotted spoon.
  3. Drain on absorbent paper. In the same pan, saute half the black cumin seeds till they begin to sizzle.
  4. Add 2 cloves, 1 cinnamon stick , half the mace, the nutmeg and peppercorns and sauté until fragrant . Add the ginger and garlic pastes and saute for 1 minute.  
  5. Add salt pepper and the vegetables and sauté over a low heat for 1-2 minutes.  
  6. Add salt, pepper and yoghurt and cook till the vegetables are almost tender.
  7. In the meanwhile, in a separate large pan, bring 8 cups of water to a boil with  2 teaspoons of salt.  
  8. Tie the remaining cloves , cinnamon stick , mace and black cumin seed the black cardamoms and 2 green cardamoms in a piece of muslin to make a small bundle (potli), and add to the water with bay leaves. Cook on a low heat for 15-20 minutes to allow the spices to infuse the water with their flavour.  
  9. Drain the rice and add to the pan and cook till half done. Remove from the heat and strain.  
  10. Reserve the strained water.  
  11. Stir the remaining ghee into the rice and set aside.
  12. To assemble the biryani, spread half the rice at the base of a deep heavy –bottomed heat proof casserole. Spread a layer of the vegetables and the chopped mint over the rice. Cover with the remaining rice and top with the fried onion. Sprinkle the rose water and the kewra water over the rice.  Dot the rice with unsalted butter. Pour in a cup of the strained water. Cover with a lid and seal it with the dough.  
  13. Place on a hot tawa or griddle and cook on low flame till steam begins to escape. Remove from heat and let stand for 2 minutes. Remove the dough seal, uncover and fluff up the rice with a fork.

For the burani:

  1. Strain the yoghurt or whisk till smooth. Mix in the rest of the ingredients. 
  2. Place in the refrigerator to chill.  
  3. Serve hot biryani with chilled raita.