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Leftover Rice Vegetable Biryani

vegetable biryani

I have always wanted to try to make Biryani and Indian rice dish mixed with meats and/or veggies and when I had a huge bag of leftover basmati I figured it was time to try it. Turns out it is not really made with leftovers, but I tried it anyways and it was a huge hit. Enjoy this vegetable biryani, it would be perfect for Shabbat too, cause it gets better the longer it cooks on a low temp.

If you prepare the cauliflower and mushrooms ahead the recipe comes together quickly.

  • Duration
  • Cook Time
  • Prep Time
  • 8 ServingsServings


For the masala (sauce)

  • 1 tablespoon cashews
  • 1 tablespoon dried coconut
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 small onions grated (about ½ cup when grated)
  • ½ bay leaf
  • 1 thin piece of cinnamon
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste
  • 1 teaspoon garlic paste
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 cup roasted cauliflower
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms, sauteed
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas

For layering

  • 4 cups leftover basmati rice
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup chopped mint leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron dissolved in 1/2 cup warm milk
  • 2 tablespoons ghee


Grind the cashew with dried coconut into a smooth paste, using as little water as possible. Set aside.
Heat oil in a large skillet. Add grated onions, and cook on low heat till the onions are brown, about 10 minutes.
Then add bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom. Bring the heat up to medium and stir for about 1 minute.  Add  ginger and garlic and stir another 30 seconds.
Then add the coconut/cashew paste and stir.  Add tomato sauce and stir, cook for a few minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat and add the yogurt, mixing well.
Return the skillet to the stove. Turn heat to low, and add garam masala, chili powder, and cumin. Stir for 1 minute.

Add the roasted cauliflower, sauteed mushrooms and peas and 1/2 cup water.  Cook for 10 minutes until veggies are well coated.  Taste the gravy and adjust salt if needed. Remember: this gravy will be spicy, but when you add the rice to it later, everything will balance out.

Now you are ready to layer the biryani. Take a large baking dish or pot. Lightly oil the inside.
Layer everything in this order – half the rice, half the chopped cilantro, half the chopped mint, all the vegetables and gravy, remaining half of the rice, saffron dissolved in milk, remaining half the cilantro and mint. Drizzle the top with ghee.

Cover the baking dish and bake in a 350f oven for 15  minutes or till the rice is cooked through.  Turn the oven off, and let the biryani sit in the hot oven another 10 minutes.  You can also let it sit on a low temperature until ready to eat.

If desired you can top with some fried onions and cashews.

Adapted from