Vegetable Dum Biryani

The aroma of Vegetable Dum Biryani made with layers of Basmati rice and curried vegetables along with fragrant spices never stops to tantalize our taste buds. It is very popular vegetarian dish and is always a crowd-pleaser. People think preparing Dum Biryani is a tough job. No, It just requires some time and patience and by practice you will get a hang of it soon.  Here I present you my recipe with step by step procedure and tips to make a delicious Dum Biryani.

Veg Dum Biryani

Veg Dum Biryani

Servings: 4-5


For Rice:

Long Grain Basmati Rice: 3 Cups, soaked in water for 20 mins

Bay Leaf: 1

Black Cumin/Shahi Jeera: 1/4 tsp

Green Cardamom: 3

Cloves: 6

Cinnamon Stick: 1″ inch piece

Star Anise: 1 small

Mace: 1 small

Nutmeg: 1/4 tsp, freshly grated

Salt: 2.5 tbsp

Water: As Required

For Vegetable Curry:

Cauliflower: 1 cup, Large florets

Green Beans: 3/4 cup, 1″ pieces

Carrots: 3/4 cup: 1″ pieces

Green Peas: 1/2 cup

Cottage Cheese: 1 cup, 1″ cubes

Ginger Garlic Paste: 2 tbsp

Green Chilis: 6, slit 

Salt: 1.5 tbsp (As required)

Red Chili Powder: 1 tsp

Turmeric Powder: 1/4 tsp

Coriander Powder: 1 tbsp

Garam Masala Powder: 1/2 tsp (See Below)

Yogurt: 1 cup

Oil: 1 tsp

For Layering:

Ghee: 2 tbsp

Oil: 2 tbsp

Onions: 1 Large, sliced thinly

Mint: 3 tbsp

Coriander Leaves: 2 tbsp

Cashew Nuts: 7-8 (Optional)

Lemon Juice: 2 tbsp

Few saffron strands soaked in 2 tbsp of milk

For Garam Masala Powder:

Cloves: 7

Green Cardamom: 7

Cinnamon: 2″ piece


  1. Grind the spices for garam masala powder in spice grinder and set 1 tbsp of it aside to use. (You can store the remaining in air tight container. This is what I use as garam masala in every recipe.)
  2. Wash the basmati rice in plenty of water and soak it for at least 20 mins
  3. In a 5-Quart heavy bottomed and wide pot, heat the ghee and oil and shallow fry the thinly sliced onions on medium flame until golden brown
  4. Add 1 tbsp of mint leaves and cashew nuts to the brown onions and fry for few seconds and remove them on a tissue paper. (Take care not to burn the onions. Flame should be medium and stir them occasionally to avoid burning. Take them out when golden brown and they will crisp up as they cool down. It doesn’t matter much if they don’t crisp up.)
  5. Transfer the oil in which the onions were browned to a separate bowl and set aside. (We will use this later)
  6. Meanwhile, get another pot full of water to boil on high heat to cook the rice.
  7. Add salt and spices mentioned in the ingredients list to cook rice and let it come to full boil
  8. Add the soaked rice and let it come to full roll boil again. It takes 3-4 minutes only (Taste test a grain of rice, it should be really salty to taste. Add more salt if required. To test if its done, take a grain and press between your fingers. It should break to three parts)
  9. Drain the water from rice completely and set the rice aside.
  10. To cook the vegetable gravy, in the pan where the brown onions were cooked (or any other wide pan), add tsp of oil and ginger garlic paste and saute for few seconds.
  11. Add the vegetables, green chilies, salt, turmeric, chili powder, coriander powder and garam masala powder and saute for a minutes.
  12. Add a half cup of water and cover and cook the vegetables for 4 minutes on medium-high flame until the vegetables are 70% cooked. (Prick the veggies with knife and test. They should be firm but not fully cooked)
  13. Transfer the gravy to separate dish and add yogurt,cottage cheese/paneer cubes, few brown onions and mint leaves and mix well and let sit for 15 minutes. (We we add the yogurt to the hot pan there is a chance to curdle)
  14. Now to layer the biryani, take the same 5 Quart pan (or any heavy bottom pan or pressure cooker) and first pour a layer of rice to cover the bottom and then the whole vegetable gravy. Add some brown onions, mint, coriander leaves, lemon juice and garam masala powder.
  15. Again layer with some rice, brown onions, mint and coriander, lemon juice and garam masala powder and continue to make layers as many as you want or do just one layer after the gravy
  16. Pour the oil used to brown the onions on the top. (This oil has flavor and gives nice aroma when used. Alternatively you can use 2 tbsp of fresh ghee or oil)
  17. Pour the milk with saffron strands and top with cashew nut, remaining brown onions and mint  leaves. (You can dust a pinch of orange red color at one corner of the rice on the top to give more bright color to the rice)
  18. Cover with aluminium foil or wet towel and put the lid so that no steam escapes. Put it on low-medium flame for 25-30 mins mins. If your pan is not heavy bottomed keep a tawa or griddle below the dish. Alternatively you can layer the same in aluminium tins and bake it at 350 for 25-30 mins.
  19. To check if its done, check the bottom of the pan at the edges, if there is water, its not done yet. You can check the rice grain and vegetable too. When you open the foil to check, if there is steam coming out of the pot, it is usually done. If its not done, cover and cook on low heat for 10 more minutes and check.
  20. If you think the rice is not done yet and the bottom is dry,  you can add quarter cup of boiling water and cook on low heat.
  21. Let stand for 10 mins covered before serving
  22. To make Bhurani raita add 1 tsp of red chili powder, 1/2 tsp of roasted cumin powder, 1 tsp of minced garlic and salt to a cup of yogurt and mix well


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  1. If the bottom is burnt, to avoid the burnt smell, cut a onion, peel to quarters and press them at corners and cover the dish. After 15 minutes you can take the upper part of the rice leaving behind the burnt part. The rice will not have the burnt smell.

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