A flavorful and aromatic Shahi Veg Biryani cooked with assorted veggies and aromatic Indian spices. A gluten-free dish that is perfect as a leisurely Sunday brunch!
Are you a biryani or pulao lover then you are surely going to enjoy this recipe. Shahi Veg Biryani is a gluten-free dish that is loaded with tons of flavor and will take your brunch or weeknight meal to a whole new level.
Origin of Biryani!
Biryani needs no introduction. Originally from Persia, this rice dish has found its way into India cuisine. Every region of India has its own traditional way of making biryani.
This finger-licking dish is prepared by slow cooking layers of parboiled rice and vegetable gravy in a sealed pot (dum*). This way the flavors permeate and spread throughout the dish making it all the more flavorful and d-licious.
*Dum cooking also referred to as dum pukht means cooking a dish in a sealed pot. This method of cooking dates back hundreds of years. In this method, veggies or meats secret their juices into the rice resulting in a rich and fragrant dish.
Are Biryani and Pulao the same?
Not really! I understand that many of us get confused within the term biryani and pulao, but they are different. Though they are both rice-oriented delicacies, their preparations and method of cooking are distinctive.
- Pulao technically speaking, is a one-pot meal where veggies or meat are cooked along with rice in a set quantity of water. But when it comes to biryani, it uses a couple to steps to finish the whole dish – veggies/meat and rice are cooked separately.
- Pulao is cooked using “absorption” method wherein biryani uses the “layering” method – where rice and veggies are arranged in layers in a pot or handi and cooked (dum) on slow heat until done.
- Pulaos are mildly flavored with just the right amount of spices that enhance the overall taste of the dish. But in biryani, spices are the most important ingredients. Depending on the region, preparation and flavors of biryani vary.
How to make Shahi Veg Biryani!
For better understanding, I have divided the recipe into four stages.
- The first stage involves preparing Shahi masala. This is a versatile masala. Toss in a teaspoon of this masala to any gravy and take that dish to a whole new level.
- The second step involves preparation of veggies and gravy. Cook the veggies until they are tender and al dente ( firm enough to bite). Do not overcook them as they may turn mushy and look unpleasing. Feel free to add veggies of your choice.
- The third step involves the preparation of rice. Add whole spices + onions+ mint + coriander and parboil rice (halfway cooked).
- The final step involves the assembly – “layering” part. Layer the biryani as shown below.
Finish off this delicious biryani with some chopped cilantro leaves and finally top with some fried nuts. Seal with dough. Before sealing the pot, add milk or water to the layered biryani. Dum cook for 10 minutes until rice is cooked thoroughly.
Overall this yummy biryani is magnificent on its own. Loaded with tons of flavor and texture, Shahi veg biryani will definitely be a hit in your family. I hope that you give this recipe a try and make some amazing memories!
Let me know in the comments if you try this recipe. If you have any questions, I would be happy to answer them. Would love to hear from you. ?
Shahi Veg Biryani
SHAHI MASALA - MAKES 3/4 CUP
- 1/4 cup Diced Carrots
- 1/4 cup Diced Beans
- 1 medium sized Sliced Red Capsicum
- 1/4 cup Shredded cabbage
- Salt to taste
- 1 cup Basmati Rice
- 2 pieces of Black Cardamom
- 2 pieces of Green Cardamom (Hari eliachi)
- 4 pieces of Cloves (Laung)
- 2 sticks of Cinnamon (Dalchini)
- 1 piece of Star Anise (Chakra phool)
- 1 teaspoon Cumin seeds
- 1 large Onion, sliced
- 1/2 cup Chopped cilantro leaves
- 3 tablespoon Chopped Mint leaves
- 1.25 cups Water
- Salt to taste
- 2 tablespoon Oil
OTHER INGREDIENTS TO FINISH THE DISH
- 3 small Onions, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon Cornstarch/Cornflour
- 1/4 cup Mixed nuts (Cashews, almonds, raisins)
- Oil for Frying
- 3 tablespoon Milk to sprinkle on rice
- 2 tablespoon Chopped cilantro leaves - to garnish
- Assemble all the spices listed under "SHAHI MASALA". Dry roast the spices for 1-2 minutes in a heavy bottomed pan. Allow it to cool.
- Transfer dry roasted spices to a grinder and ground it to its powdered form.
- Pulse until the mixture is completely powdered. Set it aside.
- Assemble ingredients for the gravy.
- Wash and dice veggies. As per taste feel free to add or subtract spices.
- In a heavy bottomed pan, heat oil and add ginger-garlic paste. Saute for couple of minutes.
- Add chopped onions and cook until onions are translucent.
- Add diced beans and carrots to the pan.
- Pour in tomato puree.
- Add salt + 3 tablespoons of water and mix it well.
- Cover and cook until veggies are soft.
- Pour in cream and mix.
- Add 3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon of shahi masala that we had prepared earlier. Mix it well. Store the remaining Shahi masala for future use in a cool dry place.
- Add capsicum, cabbage and cook for a minute. Take it of the flame and set it aside.
- Assemble spices for rice.
- Heat oil in a heavy bottom pan and add whole spices.
- Add onions and saute until light brown in color.
- Pour water.
- Add rice and salt. Give it a good mix and bring it to a boil.
- Add chopped mint and cilantro leaves.
- Mix and parboil rice until all the water has evaporated.
- Fluff rice with fork and set it aside. Do not overcook the rice.
- Slice or cut onions in rings. Dust with cornflour.
- Shake off the excess cornflour and fry onions in hot oil until crunchy and crispy. Set it on a paper towel to drain excess oil.
- Same way fry the nuts.
- Time to assemble shahi pulao. Take a handi or a deep dish pan. Drizzle oil or ghee at its base.
- Add a layer of rice at the base.
- Top it with a layer of sauteed veggies.
- Again layer it with rice and keep repeating the layering process until all the veggies and rice is used up. Sprinkle milk on top.
- Top the final layer with fried onions and nuts.
- Finally add chopped cilantro leaves.
- Cover the handi/pan and seal the cover with dough. Cook on low flame for 10 -15 minutes.
- Remove the dough and uncover the pan.
- Fluff the cooked rice with a fork.
- Serve hot along with your favorite raita or chutney.