seven suppers: vegan biryani.

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i love biryani, but cooking it has always seemed like an ordeal. traditionally it is cooked “dum pukht” or by its own steam. an ancient persian method was to bury the dish in hot sand and leave to cook. nowadays it’s often cooked in cay pots, but you can work with just a pot & a large saucepan. the thing about biryani is the flavor, it needs a lot of spices. it is also not a “one pot” dish, the rice has to be cooked separately. the beauty of the dish is that it’s got so much in it, so don’t be intimidated by the list of ingredients. you can add or subtract many of the items to make it just how you like. i have tried a few recipes but haven’t found one that was vegan. a vegan biryani is also a bit of an oxymoron, as indian food is almost always cooked in ghee (clarified butter), but here we go.


  1. 1 1/2 cups basmati rice
  2. 2/3 cups water plus 2 1/2 cups water for rice
  3. 2 tablespoons coconut oil plus 1 tablespoon for rice
  4. 1/2 small white onion, chopped
  5. 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  6. 1 clove garlic, chopped
  7. 1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  8. 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  9. 5 cardamom pods
  10. 1/2 teaspoon tumeric
  11. 1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
  12. 1 teaspoon salt
  13. 2 tablespoons golden raisins
  14. 2 tablespoons raw cashews
  15. 1 cup garbanzo beans, rinsed
  16. 1 cup cauliflower florets
  17. 1 medium carrot, cut into small pieces
  18. 1 cup chopped eggplant
  19. 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  20. 2 tablespoons shredded coconut
  21. a handful of fresh mint leaves


  1. make the rice. heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil in pot and add in the turmeric, cinnamon stick & cardamom pods and stir until fragrant. add in the rice & stir until lightly toasted (about a minute)
  2. add in 2 1/2 cups water & bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer
  3. make the veggies. melt 2 tablespoons coconut oil in large saucepan that has a lid
  4. add the onion, ginger, garlic, salt, cashews, raisins, coriander & cumin and cook until slightly browned
  5. add the eggplant, bell pepper, cauliflower, carrot & garbanzo beans
  6. pour in 2/3 cups water and raise heat to high & cover, cook for 4 minutes
  7. uncover & cook on high, stirring, until veggies are tender & most of water is evaporated
  8. add the rice to the veggies & top with coconut & fresh mint

the end.

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