Loaded with tons of flavor, this recipe for Shahi veg biryani is a complete crowd-pleaser. It is a gluten-free dish that will be greeted with open hands by both biryani and pulao lovers as it is so flavorful and aromatic and will take your meal to new heights.
What’s more, it is ideal for celebratory occasions and will surely be a hit with your family for its myriad flavors and textures.
You will surely enjoy this recipe if you are a biryani or pulao lover. Shahi Veg Biryani is a gluten-free dish loaded with tons of flavor and will take your brunch or weeknight meal to a whole new level.
What is Shahi veg Biryani?
In English, Shahi is often quoted as Royal. Just as the word implies, this rice fare is as exotic as possible.
With all the unique ingredients like cashews, almonds, raisins, and ghee in it, along with the aromatic spices and assorted medley of vegetables, this shahi veg biryani is lip-smacking to the last bite.
This layered vegetable pilaf has layers of fragrant rice and cooked vegetables, making it magnificent on its own.
Origin of Biryani
Though they have Persian origin, biryani is famous throughout India, with each state having its variety of biryani. And for this, we need to be thankful to the Mughals as they bought this exotic dish to India.
Furthermore, the dish was further developed in Mughal kitchens. As a result, it became more and more popular in India.
It gets the name biriyani from the Persian words’ Birian‘, which means fried before cooking, and ‘Brinj,’ which means rice in Persia.
In India, each house has its own style of cooking biriyani since biryani is a dish that can make us feel comforted and indulgent at the same time.
Finger-licking good, this shahi veg biryani is prepared through the slow cooking method (dum pukht) by cooking layers of parboiled rice and vegetable gravy in a sealed pot.
Are Shahi Veg biryani and pulao the same
Though both terms are often used interchangeably, they are not the same. Though they are both rice-oriented delicacies, their preparations and method of cooking are distinctive.
Pulao is a one pot-meal where veggies or meat are cooked along with rice. Moreover, the rice color remains more or less the same throughout the dish.
On top, it is only mildly flavored with spices. Furthermore, it employs the absorption method since all the ingredients are cooked with water.
Biryani, in contrast, is a fare in which the rice and the main primary ingredients are cooked separately. Usually, they are assembled and mixed just before sealing the pot—the subtle flavor of Garam masala and the caramelized onion up the flavor by several notches.
The layering method takes place while making biriyani, where rice and veggies are arranged in layers in a pot or handi and cooked on low heat until done. Depending on the region, the preparation and flavors of biryani vary.
Shahi veg biryani Ingredient List
Some of the main ingredients which are used while making shahi veg biryani are —
Rice — Basmati rice is the primary ingredient of this dish, and therefore it is highly significant that you use good quality brand rice. Biryani should have separate and fully cooked rice.
Ghee — I love using ghee since it provides a deep intense flavor with nutty notes, making it so outstanding. Ghee is a traditional food that is made from butter. You can either use a readymade one from shops or go for homemade ghee. In fact, I have different recipes for making homemade ghee – Ghee made in the slow cooker and Ghee made in an instant pot.
Mixed vegetables — You can choose your favorite ones to enhance the dish’s flavor. Ensure not to overcook the veggies as it can alter the texture of the vegetable biryani.
Spices — The determining factor that infuses the dish’s flavor is the spices like dried whole red chilies, fennel seeds, cumin seeds (Jeera), cloves, black cardamom, whole coriander seeds, and poppy seeds (Khus Khus). The fragrant ground masala used here is a nice blend of earthly spices and lends the dish a heavenly taste and an aromatic flavor that is too good.
When mixed together, these spices create – Shahi masala, a versatile masala. Spoon in a teaspoon of this masala to any gravy, taking that dish to a new level of flavor.
Cream — What makes the fare shahi is its creamy texture and slight sweetness and this, in turn, comes from the usage of cream and nuts, which imparts a richness to it. When selecting cream for this fare, make sure to use those creams with a fat content of at least 35% and above.
Onions — They pack a punch of flavor into this shahi veg biryani and create a base flavor for the creamy dish.
Nuts — Make sure to use high-quality nuts in this rice fare since the nuts play a significant role in this dish. They provide a fabulous texture and depth, making this Shahi veg biryani more lip-smacking. Some of the main ones used here are cashews and almonds. They are high in nutrients to boot, which gives them superstar status.
Expert tips & Variations
Soaking rice — The basmati rice puffs up beautifully when cooked if allowed to soak for enough time. To make this recipe, soak the rice for at least 20 minutes, but if time permits, you can soak it for 2 hours to reach the best results.
Best ratio to follow — Keep the ratio of rice to water at 1: 1.25 when cooking the rice. This ratio makes tender rice with accurate doneness and fluffiness.
To check for doneness — To check the rice for doneness, take a few grains between your fingers, squeeze them, and ensure the grains have a slight bite. Watch out for aged basmati rice, as they make the best choice for this recipe. After cooking, your rice may feel dry after some time of resting. To prevent this, sprinkle some water and then microwave them.
The best kind of pan for dum-cooking — A heavy-bottomed, wide pan is best suited for dum-cooking. Otherwise, you can use a grill below your thin-base skillet if you are not using a heavy-bottomed pan.
Clay Pots for best dum-cooking — Clay pot is an excellent option for dum-cooking as all the nutrients are preserved, making a more nutritious and healthier dish.
For evenly cooking of the veggies: Make sure to chop the veggies in medium sizes because this way, they will cook evenly.
Do not skip the spices: Skipping the spices like bay leaves and cinnamon will devoid the biryani of the mouth-watering flavors and spiciness. So, avoid skipping them by all means. But for any reason, if you cannot avail of the spices, just use extra green chilies or garam masala for the shahi veg biryani recipe.
Sauté the veggies — I prefer to keep my veggies tender-crisp and not soft. So, I have cooked them for only a few seconds. Do not overcook the vegetables, as they will become mushy. The vegetables are sautéed in this recipe to draw out the flavor before the rice goes in.
Saffron to elevate the richness: Saffron lends richness and hypes the flavor of the Shahi Biryani so that you may add a few strands to it. Soak them in the milk for some time, and drizzle them all over the rice for a fantastic flavor!
Roasting dry fruits perfectly: Roasting dry fruits over a low flame will release the moisture slowly and correctly. Do not roast them over high flame, as it may over-roast them or burn them, rendering them a smoky and unpleasant flavor.
Ghee for optimum flavor and health: Ghee contributes to the richness and deliciousness of this recipe, besides rendering it a creamy texture. You may use the oil by replacing ghee, but try keeping ghee as your primary choice to bring the desired results. Compared to oil or butter, ghee contains more medium and short-chain fatty acids, which place it into the heart-healthy fat bracket. So, consider the healthy and tasty ghee for preparing your delicious Shahi Veg Biryani.
The best rice for this biryani: Basmati rice is preferred over other rice for making this delicious recipe, but if it is unavailable, you may use Sona Masuri rice.
Substitute for cream: You can use coconut cream instead of regular cream if you prefer.
Adding a healthier punch: Veggies like zucchini, mushrooms, corn, and others may be added to this recipe to create a healthier and more nutritious version. More veggies mean a more irresistible recipe and a heavenly delicious indulgence.
Let me know what you think!
Try making this Shahi veg biryani as soon as possible, and I assure you it would be a treat for your palate. Your family and dear ones would go gaga over its taste and texture.
Should you make this recipe, please let me know your thoughts by sharing your comment below. And don’t forget to share it with your family and friends.
CRAVING FOR MORE, TRY MY OTHER FLAVOR-PACKED MEALS LIKE –
Follow the step-by-step recipe to make the best Shahi Veg Biryani Recipe
Shahi Veg Biryani
SHAHI MASALA – MAKES 3/4 CUP
- 1 large Onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of Garlic
- 1 teaspoon Ginger paste
- 3 tablespoons Toamto puree
- 2 tablespoons Cream
- 2 teaspoons Garam Masala Powder
- 2 tablespoons Ghee or Oil
- ¼ cup Carrots rinsed and diced
- ¼ cup Green beans rinsed and diced
- 1 medium sized Red Bell pepper rinsed and sliced
- ¼ cup Cabbage rinsed and shredded
- – – Salt to taste
- 1 cup Long Grain Basmati Rice
- 2 pieces of Black Cardamom
- 2 pieces of Green Cardamom (Hari Elaichi)
- 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
- ½ cup Chopped cilantro leaves
- 3 tablespoons Chopped Mint leaves
- 1¼ cups Water
- – – Salt to taste
- 2 tablespoons Oil
OTHER INGREDIENTS TO FINISH THE DISH
- 3 small Onions, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon Cornstarch
- ¼ cup Mixed nuts (Cashews, almonds, raisins)
- – – Oul for Frying
- 3 tablespoons Milk to sprinkle on rice
- 2 tablespoons Chopped cilantro leaves – to garnish
- Add all the spices listed under "SHAHI MASALA" to a heavy-bottomed pan. Sauté them for 2-3 minutes over medium heat until lightly brown. Keep stirring frequently to avoid burning the spices. Take the pan off the flame and allow the spices to cool completely.
- Once cooled, transfer the spices to a blender and blend until powdered. Set it aside.
- Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add the ginger-garlic paste and sauté over medium heat for a few seconds.
- Add chopped onions and sauté for about 3-4 minutes until the 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 the veggies until they are tender and al dente, which means it is firm enough to bite. Do not overcook them, as they may turn mushy and look unpleasing. Feel free to add veggies of your choice.
- Pour in cream and mix.
- Add 3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon of shahi masala that was prepared earlier in the recipe. Mix until all the ingredients are well blended. Tip — Store the remaining Shahi masala for future use in a cool, dry place.
- Add bell pepper and cabbage and cook for a minute. Take it off the flame and set it aside.
- Sort through the rice to remove all the pebbles and gritty things.
- Rinse and rub rice thoroughly until the water runs clear. Drain and set it aside.
- Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pan and add the whole spices.
- Add onions and sauté until golden brown.
- Add water, rinsed rice, and salt. Give it a good stir and bring it to a boil.
- Add chopped mint leaves and cilantro leaves. Tip — When the rice is cooked in spiced water, it absorbs water and gains flavor and aroma.
- Gently mix the rice and parboil it (halfway cooked) for 4-6 minutes in hot water. The rice should be 70% cooked, which means it breaks with slight pressure when pressed between the fingers. If it breaks instantly when pressed, then you have overcooked the rice. Do not proceed with this rice, as you will end up with sticky biryani. Once the rice is parboiled, turn the heat off. Remove the rice from the pan and drain it in the strainer. Let the rice stand in the sieve for 2-3 minutes until all the extra water is drained.Tip — Do not cover the rice; let it dry for a few minutes. The rice is now ready to be used for veg biryani which needs further cooking.
- 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 extra oil.
- Same way, fry the nuts. Add 1 tablespoon ghee and roast all the nuts. Roast for 2-3 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat and set it aside.
- Time to assemble shahi pulao. Take a handi or a deep dish pan. Drizzle oil or ghee at its base.
- Add a layer of parboiled rice at the base.
- Top it with a layer of sautéed veggies.
- Again layer it with parboiled rice. Spread it evenly all over the veggies. The sautéed veggies should be covered with a generous layer of rice. Keep repeating the layering until all the veggies and rice are used. Sprinkle milk on top.
- Top the final layer with fried onions and nuts.
- Layer this delicious biryani with chopped cilantro leaves, and finally, top with some fried nuts.
- Cover the handi/pan and seal the cover with dough. Before closing the pot, add milk or water to the layered biryani. Dum, cook for 10-15 minutes until rice is cooked thoroughly.
- Once the desired cooking time is done, remove the dough and uncover the pan.
- Fluff the cooked rice with a fork.
- Serve hot, along with your favorite raita or chutney.