Biryani - Simply Fresh Dinners

I love trying different dishes from all over the world and this dish has intrigued me for some time.  Biryani is a rice-based dish that originated in Turkey and Persia and was brought to India by Muslim travellers and merchants.  It is made with spices, chicken, mutton, fish, eggs and/or vegetables.  It is now a very popular dish throughout Southeast Asia and is known for it’s unique flavours.

I have to say I was so excited cooking this because the house filled with wonderful aromas that I am unaccustomed to and the flavours were so rich and diverse.  Now, biryani purists will tell me that I didn’t cook this the traditional way and they would be right.  I wanted to make a vegetarian dish of it and I tried to keep it within my own guidelines of the blog – quick and easy.  That being said, it was delicious and I will make definitely make it again and will follow a time-tested recipe to determine if there are any differences in taste.  I’ll report back here when I do but in the meantime, don’t beat up on me please, lol.  Biryani |simply fresh dinners

I think it’s important to step outside of our comfort zones when cooking and eating.  We tend to get into a rut and miss out on so many delicious foods because we are afraid to try something different.  This meal, however, is a delicate blend of spices that we are already familiar with that come together to  create a perfect dish.  There are so many different varieties of biryani –  Bombay, Calcutta, Karachi, British, Thai and Filipino just to name a few.  All have their own stamp of blended spices that makes their dish special.

This dish would be great for a large crowd and you can add any kind of meat or fish that you like.  Spring lamb would be a great addition and, of course, chicken and shrimp would be a natural.

Biryani | simply fresh dinners

Cooking this dish has made me realize that I’m not exploring enough in my kitchen and I’m going to be doing some research and devising some new recipes using unique ingredients.  It should prove interesting and I’ll be expecting some wins and some fails, lol.  That’s ok, though, what’s the worst that can happen?  I order pizza that night?  I can live with that.

 I’d love to hear about your experience with foods outside of your comfort zone.  Are you in a rut?  Is there any dish that you’d like me to experiment with?  I’m all about jumping right in so throw whatever you like at me.

PS.  The slivered almonds on top were meant to be toasted but I almost started a fire in my kitchen when I was toasting them on the stovetop with my new pan – I had washed it but forgot to take off the paper label on the bottom and it caught fire!  After that, I decided to step away from the stove for the day. Ha!


Author: Robyn @
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, canola oil or safflower oil
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced thinly
  • large handful of baby carrots (I sliced mine in half)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2.5 cups cauliflower florets, chopped
  • 2 cups low sodium, organic vegetable broth
  • 1 cup quick cooking brown rice
  • 1/2 cup sultana or golden raisins
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 cup BPA-free canned lentils, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup slivered, unsalted almonds, toasted
  • 4 tablespoons chopped parsley or cilantro
  • yogurt and cucumbers on the side or make traditional Indian raita recipe.
  • 1/2 cup no fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup cucumber, chopped and seeded
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Mix all ingredients together well.
  1. In large, shallow saucepan heat oil on medium high. Add onion, carrot, garlic, garam masala, coriander, mint and turmeric; cook until onion softens, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Stir in cauliflower, broth, rice, and raisins; cover and simmer for 7 minutes. Stir in peas and lentils; cover and simmer until liquid is absorbed, about 4 minutes. Stir in almonds and cilantro.
  3. Serve with raita if desired.
Serving size: 1 3/4 cup Calories: 397 Saturated fat: 1 g



  • Reply
    March 13, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    Hi Robyn, this is new to me, but I am open to trying different foods, unless it has bugs in it or something icky.
    We love Thai food an my husband like Indian food. Something different, Eh? Love and hugs, Linda

    • Reply
      March 13, 2014 at 4:26 pm

      Linda, you’ve been spending too much time with Canucks! lol.
      I really loved this dish and I think your hubby would too if he’s a fan of Indian food. I love the blend of spices.

  • Reply
    Anita Rivera
    March 13, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    Good afternoon Robyn! I came earlier but there was a problem with the page, but how DELICIOUS is this! I love any rice dish that has a mish-mash of vegetables and nuts. You caught me here during dinner and I am starving at this moment so this looks fantastic! I will try it with Basmati rice! Happy day! Anita

    • Reply
      March 13, 2014 at 5:53 pm

      Hi there, Anita,
      Basmati rice would be perfect and that is what is used in the traditional biryani. I was just trying to be speedy, lol.
      Thanks for your visit, sweet lady oxxo

  • Reply
    March 13, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    I make so many types of Biryani but I have to tell you… your’s looks delicious! Will surely try it soon.

    • Reply
      March 13, 2014 at 5:58 pm

      You just made my day, Aysh! Thanks so much. What type do you recommend when I cook it next? And do you have a recipe to share? 🙂 Thanks so much for visiting.

  • Reply
    Gaye @CalmHealthySexy
    March 13, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    Hi Robyn – Thanks so much for sharing this with the Let’s Get Real party.

    • Reply
      March 14, 2014 at 3:25 pm

      Most welcome, Gaye, and thanks for popping by.

  • Reply
    Joanne T Ferguson (@mickeydownunder)
    March 14, 2014 at 1:47 am

    G’day Robyn! Your dish looks so healthy and yum, true!
    Shared the love today for you!
    Cheers! Joanne

    • Reply
      March 14, 2014 at 3:32 pm

      Thanks so much, Joanne! And thanks for visiting. Hope you’re having a fabulous weekend!

  • Reply
    March 14, 2014 at 10:50 am

    Hi Robyn, I love everything about this dish, not sure if I’ve ever had anything like it before, but all the ingredients look wonderful. After looking over your comments it appears there are many different kinds of Biryani, will have to check this out. Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      March 14, 2014 at 3:26 pm

      If you like the ingredients, Cheri, you’ll love the dish. It comes together very easily and it’s such a nice surprise of flavours. Thanks for visiting! Always nice to see you.

  • Reply
    March 14, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    Hi Robyn. I love chicken biryani. I have never made it at home. I’ve always gone out to a local Middle Eastern deli that has it. It looks simple enough and I’m ready to try my hand at making it at home. Thanks so much for sharing it with us at the Let’s Get Real Friday Link Party. I’ve pinned and shared on my facebook page. I hope you’ll join us again.

    • Reply
      March 14, 2014 at 3:27 pm

      Hi Nicky. I don’t have experience with this dish but I was really happy with the outcome. If you try it, could you let me know if it’s comparable? ll. Thanks so much for the pinnage and share!

  • Reply
    March 14, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    This looks delicious. I might add chicken to it. What do you think? I had a hard time commenting the last time
    I visited. Are you posting something wonderful for St. Patrick’s Day?

    • Reply
      March 14, 2014 at 3:23 pm

      I have to confess, I didn’t plan anything for St. Patrick’s Day, Susan – and my ancestry is Irish! lol. Cathy over at Lemon Tree Dwelling included my Spring Vegetable Pasta in her post about recipes for the day – does that count? lol. You can see it here I was thrilled to be included among those beautiful creations.
      I’m glad the comment thing is working now. If you have a problem again, just shoot me a quick email if you wouldn’t mind. 🙂 Have a great weekend!

    • Reply
      March 14, 2014 at 3:24 pm

      Yes, chicken, shrimp, beef, and lamb would all go great with this.!

  • Reply
    GiGi Eats Celebrities
    March 14, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    OMG that is not your average 3-ingredient recipe, LMFAO!!!

    • Reply
      March 15, 2014 at 5:49 am

      Hahaha! Definitely not, GiGi. Most of the work in this recipe is just measuring them out!

  • Reply
    March 15, 2014 at 11:15 am

    My husband works with a Thai man who brings him wonderful dishes to try (and sometimes he even brings some home to me!) but I have never tried any on my own. It looks so good…maybe I will get brave : ) You are so creative and the photo is just lovely.

    • Reply
      March 16, 2014 at 10:00 pm

      Be brave, Mindy! LOL, This recipe is SO easy and you’ll love the flavours. Thanks so much for your sweet comments, friend. xo

  • Reply
    March 15, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    Thanks for sharing this great recipe with such healthy ingredients on Real Food Fridays! Have a wonderful healthy day. Hope to see you next week.

  • Reply
    March 15, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    Dear Robyn, I love any rice dish and this one is really different. Thank you for sharing.
    Have a nice and sunny weekend.

    • Reply
      March 16, 2014 at 10:01 pm

      I know you love to experiment, Nina, so I know you will love this dish! I hope you’re having a fabulous time on your getaway. The pics are so beautiful!

  • Reply
    Bam's Kitchen
    March 17, 2014 at 3:50 am

    Beautiful comfort dish. I think it is really important for cooks to step out of their comfort zone and try something new. I am glad you tried this version so that I could give it a try too. I love all the warming spices in this dish with the sweet raisins as a nice contrast. I don’t think I have ever so much rice in my whole life but now that we live in Asia, it is has been our staple. Take Care, BAM

    • Reply
      March 17, 2014 at 7:07 am

      I definitely think basmati rice would be better with this dish, BAM, but I wanted to make it a quick recipe. I loved all the flavours and have made it twice again since the first one., lol.

  • Reply
    Diane (@SimpleLivingEat)
    March 17, 2014 at 8:47 am

    So many wonderful ingredients in this dish. My family loves paellas so I think this will be a hit. Thanks for bring it to foodie friday.

  • Reply
    March 18, 2014 at 9:38 am

    This looks so rich and healthy! And beautiful pics. 🙂 Thanks for sharing at the hop, Robyn!

  • Reply
    Amy | Club Narwhal
    March 19, 2014 at 11:08 am

    Robyn, your version of biryani looks so good (and beautiful)! I agree that cooking outside of your comfort zone is important. I find myself making the same quick veggie/egg scramble for dinner and then I see something lovely like this and it gets my creative juices flowing. Can’t wait to try this!

    • Reply
      March 19, 2014 at 2:44 pm

      After seeing that amazing Thai Chicken Satay Noodle Salad you made, Amy, I think you are chock full of creativity, lol. I know I’ve been gushing over it but it’s the best looking dish I’ve seen in a long time! Thanks for your visit – always nice to see you.

  • Reply
    March 19, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    This looks and sounds really yummy. Pinned to try!

    • Reply
      March 19, 2014 at 2:45 pm

      Thanks, Jill, and thanks for popping by. I’m off to visit your blog 🙂

  • Reply
    March 19, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    I love that you tried cooking biryani with quick brown rice and it looks very delicious. But if you want to have the true taste, try once with basmati rice and cooking with dum method.

    • Reply
      March 20, 2014 at 9:58 am

      Hi Balvinder,
      I’ll definitely be making it with basmati next time. What is the dum method? Love to hear about it! Thanks so much for your kind comments and visit.

  • Reply
    March 20, 2014 at 9:52 am

    HI Robyn, I liked your recipe so much that I used it as one of my favorite features this week. Thanks so much for sharing.

    • Reply
      March 20, 2014 at 10:01 am

      Thanks so much, Marla! You just made my day. So kind of you.

  • Reply
    Joyce Wheeler
    March 20, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    I never heard of this, but love trying new dishes, and from other countries is a plus. I don’t know about you, but I get tired of cooking the same things, no rut here. Thanks for sharing on Real Food Fridays, join tonight again at 7 central.

  • Reply
    Real Food Friday #30 :: Lydia's Flexitarian Kitchen
    March 20, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    […] Robyn at Simply Fresh Dinners shares her version of Biryani. I love Indian food and this colorful dish is a favorite. It’s an involved process to get the separate grains of rice you may have experienced in your favorite restaurant. Fortunately, it’s possible to get great results with this easier method of preparation. She used a quick cooking brown rice, but don’t be afraid to use basmati or jasmine rice if you prefer. […]

  • Reply
    Real Food Fridays Blog Hop Party For Your Health #30
    March 20, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    […] Gluten Free Travels – Paleo Brownies With Walnuts Robyn from Simply Fresh Dinners – Biryani Lauren from dchealthbites – Enjoy Eating The Taste Of Eating Right Carol from […]

  • Reply
    March 22, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    This looks amazing, Robyn. I LOVE biryani! Can’t wait to try this. x

  • Reply
    April 28, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    I finally tried this recipe tonight and it was a huge hit with my family. Roasted shrimp rounded it out. The seasoning was balanced and relatively mild. Next time I plan on increasing the spice amounts a wee bit, and perhaps more raisins to balance the spice with sweet. Thanks for a great dinner!

    • Reply
      April 28, 2014 at 9:09 pm

      I’m so thrilled you tried the recipe, Kimin! I definitely kept the spice level mild so that it would appeal to most people. I’m so glad to hear that you thought it was well balanced though. I have increased the heat on it, too, and I think this is a dish that I will experiment more and more with each time I cook it. Love that you included roasted shrimp.
      Thanks so much for letting me know you tried it. Your kind of comments are so special!
      Robyn recently posted…Nutty, Cheesy LinguineMy Profile

  • Reply
    Happy Thanksgiving - simply fresh dinners
    November 25, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    […] Biryani […]

  • Reply
    October 2, 2018 at 11:10 am

    I love the biryani recipe. Thank you for sharing this awesome recipe.

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