Biryani is one of those dishes that’s usually reserved for special occasions or holidays.

Growing up, my mom would make it for Christmas or a birthday. My husband and I have made it for our anniversary. It’s usually not one of those everyday meals—partly because of its richness, partly because it can be somewhat tedious to make, until I came up with this Express Version. This recipe is for vegetable biryani, thus saving time, unlike its chicken or lamb counterpart.

Opinions may differ on the “right” way to make biryani, but the methods are as varied as the types of biryani themselves. This version is a quick one you can make anytime–even weeknights—whether or not they fall on a holiday.


  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1/2 sliced purple onion
  • 4-5 tablespoons ghee
  • 3/4 tablespoon biryani masala
  • pinch of turmeric
  • 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables (I used a mix of corn, green beans, carrots, and peas—whatever you use, make sure they are cut small)
  • 2 handfuls of raisins
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 4 cups water


    1. In a medium pan, heat ghee and add onions. Once onions are caramelized, add turmeric and biryani masala.
    2. After spices are incorporated, fold in vegetables and raisins.
    3. Cover and allow to simmer on medium heat until almost soft, about 12-15 minutes. Remove from heat.
    4. Wash rice until water drains clear. Place into separate pot. Add water.
    5. To this, add cooked vegetable and cinnamon stick. Mix thoroughly.
    6. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce to low and set timer for 10 minutes.
    7. After 10 minutes, remove from heat and wait another 10 minutes before opening.
    8. Carefully fluff biryani with a fork and serve immediately with mango achaar (pickle) and raita. Serves 4-6.


  1. It’s funny because I’ve only just finished eating biryani and then I saw this. My mum used to – and still does – make biryani for special occasions. Although these days it tends to be the express version – but it’s still very delicious. Yours sounds delicious too. 🙂


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