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Beautiful Biryani

Beautiful Biryani

Lisa Kamolnick
A colorful, aromatic and delicious casserole. While many are made with meat, this is a vegetarian-friendly version.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 10 servings
Calories 162 kcal


Vegetable curry

  • 2 TBSP ghee or canola oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp black cumin seeds
  • 6 cardamom pods green
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 2-3 fresh or dried bay leaves
  • 2 pieces cinnamon sticks, 3-in. long
  • ½ med red onion halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1 scallion finely chopped
  • 6 med cloves garlic thinly slivered
  • 1 C cauliflower florets size about ½ in
  • 1 C cut green beans size about 1-in
  • 2 small to medium carrots peeled, trimmed, halved lengthwise and cut into ½-in cubes
  • 2 tsp garam masala see recipe link
  • 1 tsp fresh ground ginger
  • 1 tsp kosher or sea salt
  • ¾ C green peas


  • 1 C basmati rice
  • 1 tsp salt

Rice bottom layer

  • 1 tsp ground Kashmiri chilies if needed, sub with ¼ tsp cayenne and ¾ tsp sweet paprika (add more to taste)

Rice top layer

  • ¼ tsp saffron threads
  • 3-4 TBSP ½ & ½ warmed


  • ¼ C raisins I use a blend of gold and green raisins
  • ¼ C cashews whole


Vegetable Curry

  • Heat ghee to medium high.
  • Add cumin seeds and cardamon pods, cloves, bay leaves, and cinnamon sticks. Cook (they will sizzle and perfume) about 30 to 45 seconds.
  • Add onion and garlic and saute until gently browned, about 5 minutes.
  • Add all vegetables except the peas. Cook, stirring often. Coat vegetables completely with mix.
  • Add garam masala and salt. Stir into mixture.
  • Add water to release browned bits into the mix.
  • Bring to a boil and immediately reduce to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender to fork but still a little crunchy, about 10 minutes.
  • Stir in peas, cover pan with lid and remove from heat.


  • Place rice in strainer, clean and rinse until water runs clear.
  • Toast rice in ghee or grapeseed oil. (optional)
  • Place rice in bowl and fill with water (water should reach top of rice) and soak about 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  • Fill medium saucepan about ¾ full. Heat medium-high and bring water to boil.
  • Add salt and drained rice. Stir to separate grains. Return pot to boil then reduce heat and simmer uncovered abut 3 to 5 minutes, infrequently stirring until rice is partially cooked.
  • Drain rice and divide it in half, placing each half in a small bowl.

Bottom rice layer

  • Using one half of the reserved rice, add Kashmiri powder and stir, creating an even, deep red color.

Top rice layer

  • While rice is soaking, stir saffron into warmed ½ & ½ and steep for about 5 minutes. The cream will become tinted.
  • Using one half of the reserved rice, pour the saffron-infused cream into bowl and stir well to completely coat rice with mixture.

Casserole layers

  • Preheat oven to 300° F. (Use center rack in oven.)
  • Lightly coat a medium casserole dish with cooking oil or cooking spray.
  • Spread the bottom layer (red colored rice) in the dish.
  • Layer the red rice with the vegetable curry, carefully covering the red rice completely.
  • Layer the saffron rice over the curry.
  • Cover with lid or with foil (seal tightly).
  • Bake 45 minutes to an hour—until rice is perfectly cooked and vegetables are tender.
  • Remove the dish and uncover.
  • If possible, remove whole seasonings.
  • Top with cashews and raisins.


Serving Suggestions
Serve with raitas, chutneys, naan and other dishes or alone.
For best results, soak raisins in warm water until they plump up.
Garam Masala


Serving: 1half cupSodium: 492mgCalcium: 43mgVitamin C: 13mgVitamin A: 2233IUSugar: 2gFiber: 3gPotassium: 245mgCholesterol: 9mgCalories: 162kcalMonounsaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 3gFat: 6gProtein: 4gCarbohydrates: 26gIron: 1mg
Keyword basmati rice, cauliflower, garam masala, kashmiri chili, low sodium option, Mexican Rice, saffron, vegetarian
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