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Recipe and Food Styling | Vegetable Biryani – Life does exist. It’s the purpose that counts

29 March 2015 6 Comments

healthy vegetarian biryani reciepe

Life does exist. It’s the purpose that counts.” ~Toba Beta

Is your life passion-driven or purpose-driven?” the lady sitting next to me in the lunch room asked.

I looked at her and smiled. I couldn’t comprehend her question and was at a loss of words for a minute.

It was during a photo-shoot last week where I met this beautiful lady who works as an art director. She was assisting a jewellery shoot adjacent to my room. We were having lunch together when she checked my blog on her mobile and asked me about my work.

Hmm…well, the blog was started to fill the empty space in my life and to keep me engaged & entertained.” I took another bite of the Missi roti (spicy Indian flat-bread) from the neatly packed lunch-box and replied.

“But yes, there were two primary reasons for me which prompted me to take up work again.” I leaned back on my chair and continued. She was all ears to me.

The first one was the constant urge to make my life meaningful and the second was to set examples before my children so they learn watching as they grow.” I continued.

With rate of affordability going up, today’s children get most things very easily. And I want them to realize the importance of hard-work in life, become self-dependent and start trusting their feelings so that they won’t be afraid of decision making when they grow.” I answered trying to maintain a tone of confidence.

Great, and what about these food styling projects?” she asked curiously.

Oh…I was accidentally pulled into the world of commercial food styling through a series of events. Lets’ keep this topic for our next meet” I looked into her eyes and smiled.

Nice talking to you Sanjeeta , do keep in touch” she said and gave her business card to me.

We waved good bye and moved on to our respected rooms to resume work.

Recipe | Vegetable Biryani -

I did one another photo-shoot with Prateek yesterday, with whom I had already worked for Hatsun brand.

The branded product was an export quality long grain Basmati rice selling by name ‘Signature’. I had also worked for the same brand last year with Kunal Daswani and did a photo-shoot for their breakfast cereals.

The client had listed out a few requirements and specifications for this shoot. Avoid using onion, garlic, cottage cheese or garam masala (spices) in the finale dish, was their main concern. Give more emphasis to the long grains of Basmati rice.

Peas pulao, Kashmiri pulav and vegetable Biryani were a few dishes we shot keeping in mind the restrictions given by the client.

Recipe | Vegetable Biryani -

I did most of the prepping at home and was quite comfortable at the shoot. Fried nuts, coloured long grain rice, tempering, half cooked rice, par boiled vegetables done a day before the shoot helped me ease out the pressure on the final day.

Recipe | Vegetable Biryani -

When the day started with Basmati rice how can a vegetable biryani be far. I had already cooked extra rice for the day before leaving for the shoot.

I just assembled every element and cooked this quick Biryani after reaching home. And yes, My Biryani had fried onions and garam masala in it… 🙂

Vegetable Biryani 

Recipe | Vegetable Biryani -


(serve 3)

1st Step – Cooking the Rice 

  • 1 cup long grain Basmati rice
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 6-7 strands Saffron
  • 1/2 cup warm milk
  • 1/2 cup Mint leaves
  • 8-10 Cashew nuts
  • Salt as required
  • Water as required

2nd Step – Cooking the Vegetables

  • 2 cups chopped vegetables
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 green chilies
  • 2 garlic pearls
  • 1 small ginger piece
  • 1 tp. Garam masala
  • Salt as required

3rd Step – Tempering and layering Biryani

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 7-8 Peppercorns
  • 3-4 Coves
  • 3 green cardamoms
  • 1 small Bay leaf
  • 1 star Anise

Recipe | Vegetable Biryani -

1st Step – Cooking Rice 

Wash and soak Basmati rice for at least an hour before cooking.

Add 4 cups of water in a large vessel and bring it to a boil.

Add soaked rice in it and cook it on high for about 6-7 minutes.

Put off the flame and drain the rice using a large colander.

Spread the half cooked rice evenly on the colander and let it cool.

Soak saffron stands in warm milk for about 10 minutes.

Peel and thinly slice the onion.

Heat oil in a pan and fry (about 7-8 minutes) the sliced onion till they turn bark brown in colour.

Recipe | Vegetable Biryani -

2nd Step – Cooking Vegetables

I have used an assortment of carrots, fresh peas and French beans in the recipe.

Prep the vegetables according to your choice.

Grind ginger, garlic and green chilies into fine paste.

Add garam masala in the yogurt and whisk it lightly.

Heat oil in the same pan used to fry te onion.

Add bay leaf, cloves, cardamom, peppercorns and star anise in oil and saute for a few seconds.

Add ginger-garlic-green chilly paste into it and sauté for a minute.

Add all the vegetables, salt, cover the lid and let it cook for 4-5 minutes on medium heat.

Pour the yogurt in the pan and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Turn the gas off and set it aside.

Recipe | Vegetable Biryani -

3rd Step – Tempering and layering Biryani

Take a large earthen pot to layer the Biryani.

Layer  about 3-4 ladleful of cooked Basmati rice at the bottom of the pot.

Sprinkle a few mint leaves and fried Onion or Brista over the rice.

Make a layer of  2-3 ladles of cooked vegetables with the gravy over the rice.

Repeat the same till the rice and vegetables are finished.

Make the last layer with rice.

Sprinkle fried onion, cashew nuts and soaked saffron with milk over the rice.

Cover the pot with a lid and secure it with dough (wheat flour mixed with water).

Place the pot over a Tawa or griddle and let ot cook on slow heat for 20 minutes.

Serve the Biryani with yogurt raita.

Check this traditional vegetable Biryani recipe here.

Search for the English & Hindi names of various foods and ingredients used in this recipe in Glossary.


  1. Use clarified butter or ghee for wonderful aromatic Biryani.
  2. Garnish the Biryani with fresh pomegranate seeds and lightly fried raisins, almonds and cashew nuts.
  3. Use cottage cheese, cauliflower or Mushrooms to make this Birynai.
  4. Cook Basmati rice in coconut milk for a different flavor and taste.
  5. Add  a few teaspoons of butter or ghee at the last layer before keeping the Biryani for Dum (slow cooking).


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  • anu said:

    beautiful recipe dear…luv the clicks..

  • aparnarajeshkumar said:

    You are inspiration to many sanjeeta 🙂 pat on your back. its been my dream to cook the perfect long grain briyani i yet to nail it . hopefully soon

  • Deepa said:

    You have taken so care in preparing this delicious looking biriyani. Came out so wonderfully well.

  • Sundari said:

    Nice recipe and clicks..

  • Madhuri Aggarwal said:

    Hi Sanjeeta di,
    Congratulations on winning the DMBLGiT contest

  • mjskitchen said:

    Another awesome rice dish! Lovely pictures…lovely post!
    mjskitchen recently posted..Asian Style Sweet Chile SauceMy Profile

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