Spiced Vegetable Biryani

BBC Food
Hi guys, Zoe here! This week I have a twist on a traditional spiced vegetable Biryani recipe for you guys which is suitable for both vegetarians and meat eaters. For most vegetarians, their diet includes lots of pulses (beans,lentils and peas) which is great as they are filled with fibre and protein. However, it is important to note that some pulses contain more iron than others; for instance, lentils and soybeans have a higher iron content comparedto chickpeas (boiled) and kidney beans (canned). Non-animal-based sources ofiron (non-haem) are not as easily absorbed as animal-based sources (haem) therefore, I would suggest that meat eaters include variations of haem and non-haem iron sources. This recipe also includes olive oil which is rich invitamin E and acts as an antioxidant! The spice is optional as can be adjusted to your own taste. Additionally, if you are a meat eater you can add grilled chicken on the side. I would recommend chicken breast as it is a whiter part of meat from the chicken and is lower in iron, compared to the darker parts such as thighs. Let me know if you try the recipe and if you can handle the spice? Please note that this is generic nutritional advice, and everyone has their own nutritional needs that is specific to them. For nutritional advice that is tailored to you, I would suggest seeing a registered dietician.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small cauliflower, broken into small florets
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 ltr hot vegetable stock
  • 3 tbsp hot curry paste
  • 1 red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 tsp mustard seed (black or white)
  • 500 g basmati rice
  • 140 g trimmed green bean, halved
  • 2 lemons juice only
  • Handful of fresh coriander leaves
  • Handful of cashew nuts


STEP 1: Preheat the oven to 220C/gas 7/fan 200C. Pour the oil into a large roasting tin or ovenproof dish and put in the oven for a couple of minutes to heat through. Add all the vegetables to the tin, except the beans, stirring to coat them in the hot oil. Season with salt and pepper and return to the oven for 15 minutes until beginning to brown.
 STEP 2: While the vegetables are roasting, stir together the stock, curry paste, chilli, saffron and mustard seeds.
STEP 3: Mix the rice and green beans with the vegetables in the tin, then pour over the stock mixture. Lower the oven to 190C/gas 5/fan 190C. Cover the dish tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed. Stir in the lemon juice and check the seasoning, then scatter over the coriander and cashew nuts. Serve with a pile of poppadums and a bowl of raita.