Vegetable Dum Biryani

How to make vegetable biriyani , vegetable dum biryani recipe, Restaurant style vegetable dum biriyani, homemade biryani masala recipe.

It’s the season of rains and the holy month of Ramzaan. No better excuse to gather friends and family for a weekend Iftar party serving heavenly biryani. Many of my non vegeterian friends (including hubby) would make fun of me saying ‘a biryani is never a biriyani without meat and don’t curse a biryani by making a “vegetable” version out of it’!! But guess who had the last laugh when the same gravy and the biryani masala of “vegeterian version” was used to make a chicken biryani for our anniversary celebratory lunch! Of course, hubby was pleasantly surprised with the outcome. Using the same spices and technique, except adding chicken ( or any meat of your choice) in place of vegetables and paneer.

          If you want me to talk about the vegeterian version, I can go on and on. Most of the biryanis served outside hardly qualify as a biryani (guess that’s where the repuation of veg biryani takes a beating!) with some coloured basmati rice and a piece of veggie /paneer scattered here and there. The home mades are far better with the amount of vegetables and paneer going into it under your control. The preperations for biryani will take up most of your precious holiday morning time, but then who eats biryani everyday? Gather your friends or rope in your hubby to help you with the elaborate cutting-blending process , make your biryani and have it too!

          This homemade biryani masala will give you the most awesome and flavourful biryani, I made a seperate post for the sake of convenience, as adding it here would make it excessively lengthy. To make homemade biryani masala , please click here.

homemade biryani masala

Preperatory steps for making vegetable dum biryani can be broadly put into these four steps, (these apart from the step for making home made biryani masala):

  1. Make caramelised onions
  2. Make mixed vegetable gravy
  3. Partially cook rice with whole spices
  4. Layer and steam (dum) the rice with gravy and other garnishings.

1. To make caramelised onion:

  • Onions, peeled and thinly sliced- around 500 grams of onions

Spread the finely sliced onions on a microwave safe plate, toss 1 tablespoon oil and separate the onion layers into thin shreds. On highest power setting, microwave for 3 minutes. With a wooden spatula mix and turn the contents and continue for another three minutes. Repeat this till all the onion becomes deep brown. It will roughly take 12- 15 minutes. The center portion cooks faster than the outer sides, so make sure you toss and redistribute the onions in between to prevent burning. You can make caramelised onions by deep frying the onions in sufficient oil.

2. For making Mixed Vegetables gravy:


Vegetables: ( you can increase or decrease the amount of vegetables, or change the type of vegetable depending on your choice and availability)

  • Onion- thinly sliced- 3 to 4 medium sized
  • Ginger garlic paste (preferably fresh)- 4 to 5 tablespoons
  • Tomatoes- roughly chopped and coarsely grind in mixer- 3 to 4 medium sized
  • Carrots, potatoes- wash, clean, peel and dice into slightly long pieces- 1 ½ cups
  • French beans- wash and cut into 2” long pieces- ¾ cup
  • Paneer- medium sized cubes 1 to 1 ½ cups
  • Baby corn- slice vertically and cut into 2” long pices – ¾ cup
  • Green peas- ½ cup
  • Coriander leaves- finely chopped- 1 cup
  • Mint- finely chopped- ¾ cup
  • Dry fruits- raisins, cashews, dried plums (aloobukhara),  2 tablespoons each

Boil baby corn and green peas in sufficient water for few minutes, drain and keep aside.

Boil paneer cubes in sufficient water for few minutes, drain and keep aside.

Fry raisins and cashews in 1 tablespoon ghee and keep aside.


  • Red chilly powder- 1 teaspoon (adjust according to taste)
  • Turmeric powder – ½ teaspoon
  • Biryani masala – 2 to 3 tablespoons
  • Sugar- 1 to 2 teaspoon

Other ingredients:

  • Refined oil to deep fry the vegetables and prepare the gravy- 1 to 1 ½ cups
  • Tomato puree (store brought one, gives good colour)- 5 to 6 tablespoons
  • Curd/ yogurt– 1 cup
  • Cornflour- 1.5  to 2 teaspoons

Preperation of mixed vegetable gravy:

  • Heat sufficient oil to deep fry all the vegetables in a big wok ( around 1 ½ cups of oil)
  • Add all the vegetables to the oil and deep fry till they turn light brown.
  •  Once browned , remove them , drain out excess oil and keep aside.
  • In the same oil, add paneer cubes and fry for few minutes till they are light brown. Take out the cubes, and keep aside.
  • Add onion slices to the same oil , fry till they are light brown.
  • Add ginger garlic paste, continue frying till the raw smell of the paste disappears and the mixture turns light brown.
  • Add fresh tomato paste and continue stirring.
  • Add tomato puree and mix well. continue cooking till the gravy starts leaving oil from the sides.
  • Now add the spices, turmeric, red chilli powder, biryani masala, sugar.
  • Whisk 1 cup curd with 2 teaspoons cornflour till the mixture is smooth without lumps. Add this cornflour-curd mixture to the gravy and mix well.
  • Now, add all the deep fried vegetables, paneer cubes and dry fruits  to the gravy and mix well. You can add 1 cup of water to adjust the consistency of the gravy.
  • Add 3 tablespoons of chopped coriander leaves, 2 tablespoons of chopped mint leaves and switch off the flame.
  • Note: keep the consistency of the gravy slightly watery, to provide moisture for complete cooking of rice.

3. Preperation of rice:

  • Rice- 4 cups ( roughly 300-350 grams), wash and drain all excess water, keep aside.
  • Water- 5 to 6 litres
  • Whole spices –  star anise- 1, black peppercorns- 3 to 4, cinnamon- 1 inch stick, shahi jeera- 1 teaspoon

Heat water in a large vessel along with all whole spices. Once the water starts boiling, add washed rice and allow it to cook for 10- 12 minutes. The rice must be 70% cooked, i.e it should have changed its colour from translucent to a more opaque white , but should feel hard when pressed between fingers. Once it comes to this stage, drain all the water from the rice, and keep the partially cooked rice aside.

4. To layer the biryani:

Ingredients for flavouring  and garnishing the rice while layering:

  • Rose water- 3 to 4 tablespoons
  • A generous pinch of saffron ( kesar) soaked in ½ cup of warm milk
  • Kewda water- 2 tablespoons (you can use any two/all three of the above ingredients)
  • Ghee-  5 to 6 tablespoons + extra for greasing the bottom of the the vessel.
  • Gather caramelised onions, chopped mint leaves (around 1 cup) and chopped coriander leaves (1 cup) and a teaspoon of biryani masala to garnish  the rice layer.
  • 2 cups of flour kneaded into a soft dough to seal the vessel.


  • Take a thick bottomed big vessel (preferably aluminium), grease the bottom well with ghee/clarified butter. I used my rice cooker for this process, if you have a rice cooker then it will serve the purpose exceedingly well.
  • Add a layer of partially cooked rice , around 2 to 3 inches thickness layer.
  • Sprinkle kewda water, rose water, saffron soaked milk one by one over the surface of rice layer.
  • Sprinkle just a pinch of biryani masala over the rice.
  • Garnish with caramelised onions, mint leaves , coriander leaves one by one. add a teaspoon of ghee over the top.
  • Now layer the vegetable gravy over the rice layer and spread it evenly.
  • Add another layer of rice and repeat the whole toppings and garnishings as before.
  • Cover it with another layer of vegetable gravy evenly.
  • Lastly top with the final layer of rice and all the garnishings.
  • Toss a generous tablespoon of ghee/clarified butter and close the lid.
  • Form a rope out of the kneaded dough and stick it around the mouth of the vessel.
  • Place a fitting lid over it, and seal the sides by folding the dough to the lid and sealing the container properly.
  • Place this on gas on a medium flame and cook for 15- 20 minutes.
  • Switch off the flame.
  • Let the rice soak up in the aromatic steam of all garnishings for another 30 minutes or so before it is served. Serve immediately after opening the seal, with just some plain raita/ kachumbar ( watery curd with coriander, mint, chopped onion, chaat masala, black salt)

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Hi , I’am Neelima and welcome to my space!! I’am a full time practicing dentist. Cooking had always been my passion, and baking which had started as a fascination is now crossing over to be an obsession.

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