Shital's-Kitchen: Vegetable Dum Biryani

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Vegetable Dum Biryani

We all know cooking rice is so important especially when you have guests over. It is so embarrassing when you have undercooked or overcooked rice at the dinner table. Yes, I have experienced that. I feel like crawling under the table and hiding my face if the rice I serve is sticky and over done :( 

Who does not like Biryani? Biryani is the most popular rice dish in India and every state has a different way of spicing and cooking it. Dum is a slow cooked technique which imparts immense flavor to rice and veggies from aromatic spices used. Mostly biryani is made by slow cooking meat, rice and spices, but it tastes amazing with veggies too.

Perfectly cooked, fluffy, tender, non-sticky, are all the adjectives I would like to use to describe this dish!!

My clay pot from India is apt for slow cooking Biryani and imparting rustic and delicious flavor. If you don't posses one, that is okay. But, it would be a great idea to add this to your shopping list.

I like to make fresh Biryani Masala (spice mix) by grinding slightly roasted spices. I usually use my electric grinder, but for this rustic recipe I used my Mortar & Pestle to grind spices.

Here is how I make Biryani Masala:
Dry roast 2 tbsp. coriander seeds, 1 tbsp. cumin seeds, 1 stick cinnamon, 2 star anise, 10-12 cloves, 10-15 pepper corns, 4-5 cardamom, 1 inch mace, 3-4 bay leaves, 5-6 dried red chillies.

Grind to form fine powder.

My favorite veggies for Biryani.

Wash 1 cup rice in a large container. Add few cloves, cardamom, pepper corns and bay leaves. 
Set this aside. We will cook rice just before cooking our veggies.

Make ginger and garlic paste.
Around 1 tbsp. ginger paste and 1 tbsp. garlic paste.
Used my rustic grinding stone for fresh paste. Reminded me of my childhood. Fresh pastes and chutnies were usually ground on a stone. 
If was a wonderful workout for my arms too :)

Add 3 cups of water and 1 tsp. salt to rice and bring the water to boil. You just need to cook rice for 7-8 minutes.

While rice cooks, heat 3 tbsp. ghee to a pan. Fry 1 tbsp. cumin seeds, handful of cashew nuts (optional)

Saute 2 cups sliced onions till they turn slightly brown. Remove half of these into a bowl to use later.

Add ginger and garlic paste. I like to make fresh paste every time. 
I do not freeze or refrigerate ginger and garlic paste.

Add chopped green chillies according to your spice level.

Add 1/4 cup cubed bell pepper, 1 small cubed potato, few cauliflower florets, 1/4 cup cubed carrots and 1/4 cup chopped beans.

Meanwhile rice is partly cooked. Strain the water and save some water to use it later. Do not mix rice or toss them. They are delicate and might break.

Add 1 tbsp ghee for fresh flavor.

To our sauteing veggies, add  2 chopped tomatoes and 1 cup yogurt.

Add salt to taste, 1 tsp. turmeric, 1 tsp. red chilli powder, and finely ground fresh biryani masala.

Mix these veggies well. Do not cook them much. They will finish cooking with rice.

Here is my well soaked clay pot. It is always a good idea to soak clay pot before using. Soaking will remove clay debris and clean the pot well. Not only that, when the pot is heated, water turns into steam which will aid to cook rice and veggies evenly. 

I like to layer my biryani with veggies and rice. You could use any clay pot or regular nonstick pot or stainless steel pot to complete this slow cooking process.

Layer veggies and rice keeping large veggie pieces and most gravy at the bottom of the pot. Gently spread half of the partly cooked rice evenly over veggies. Spread some fried onions and green peas. Sprinkle some turmeric powder. Grate some beetroot and spread lightly. Turmeric and beetroot will impart beautiful yellow and red color to rice. I do not like to use food color like they use at the restaurants. 
Repeat till all veggies and rice have been layered.

On the topmost layer spread 1/4 cup of chopped mint and 1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro.

Add half cup of rice water (water in which rice was cooked). This will help to steam and cook rice and veggies.

Cover the pot and seal it with wheat flour and water dough.

Cook on low heat for 20-30 minutes.

Serve with sliced salad and cucumber and yogurt raita.

Beautifully layered and colored rice.

Squeeze fresh lime and enjoy with sliced onions.

Enjoy your Dum Biryani!


  1. Replies
    1. Thank u so much Sheetal di for your awesome recepie.... I followed each and every step as per your direction and lo n behold... I got the perfect DUM biryani.... My personal favorite.. Thank you thank you thank you����

    2. I am so glad Ushma you liked it! :)

  2. I'm making a list of the recipes I want you to teach me. So far this is #1!! Yummmmmm.

  3. mama miya Shital...u r just awesome...I will try on weekend.....


    1. Thank you so much. :) The pot is from India. The serving soon is from the US...bought that from Anthropologie.

  5. wonderful receipie! Can you tell me where did you get the flat mortar for grinding

    1. Thank you :) I bought that from Marshall's. Even Indian stores here sell it.

  6. great since long waiting to cook veg biryani my own. Thanks, u'r recipe looks wonderful, definitely give it a try.

  7. Am big big fan of yours and love all ur recipes... I have tried all the recipes from your site.. Pav has all been hit in my family.... I have been making many varieties of biryani but i love that beet root style of urs because i personally don;t like to use colors...and so i always don't get that colorful layers in biryani, now i cannot wait to try this recipe..
    All your recipes looks sooo wonderful and u make it so easy to understand .. u are a good teacher ..

    1. Thank you so much....I am so glad you enjoy my recipe. :)

      Happy Cooking!

  8. Looks wonderful , thanks for the detailed explanation. Where did you get the clay pot from? And the grinding stone for the ginger garlic paste?

    - Priti

    1. Thank you! The clay pot is from India. The grinding stone was bought from marshall's.

  9. Looks great. In the end you added cilantro and mint right?

    1. Yes i did. You could also add it during layering.

  10. Thanks Shital. I'd like to point out that your recipe says spinach and not mint.

    1. Yes, I realized that today. I don't know what I was thinking when I typed it :) I did make the change. Thank you! :)

  11. Shital, Thanks for sharing this delicious recipe and the picture tutorial is really helpful. It's 10.20pm and I am hungry.

  12. Wow! Thanks for sharing your vibrant biryani recipe! Looks so delish! Where did you get the claypot from in India? Is it from Mumbai? Also which Indian store in bay area sells flat grinding stone that you used ?

  13. Lovely recipe and presentation! Please let me know where you did you get the claypot from in India. Also would like to know where to get the metate, pls do let me know which Indian store carries it in bay area.

  14. Hello Shital,

    Please reply to the above query.


  15. Thanks Shital for sharing ur recipe. Biryani was awesome.

  16. Shital, can we put in some other pot and place it on a tawa and then cook on dum if we don't have claypot?

  17. Amazing Shital,well explained with step wise pics....

  18. Awesome recipe and presentation is also very nice..

  19. Dear Shital, Thank you for all your awesome recepies. May Krsna Bless you. You are one amazing person always teaching and guiding every person that questions you and you take so much time explaing to detail. Wow! you are a great soul. Keep up the wonderful service that you are rendering out to public.

  20. Thanks for this recipe husband ( who is not a big fan of rice dishes) had it twice..he loved it so much..thanks again