Aloo Biryani Recipe - Vegetarian Food from India and Pakistan

Aloo Biryani

Aloo Biryani Recipe - Vegetarian Food from India and Pakistan
Region / culture: India, Pakistan | Preparation time: 45 minutes | Cooking time: 40 minutes | Servings: 4 | Vegetarian diet


Aloo Biryani
Aloo Biryani

Aloo Biryani is a delightful vegetarian twist on the traditional biryani, a dish that has roots deep in the culinary traditions of the Indian subcontinent. This recipe swaps the usual meat for hearty potatoes, making it a satisfying option for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. The combination of fragrant spices, fluffy rice, and tender potatoes creates a symphony of flavors and textures that is both comforting and exotic.


The concept of biryani originated in Persia and was brought to the Indian subcontinent by the Mughals. Over time, it evolved into various regional versions, incorporating local ingredients and cooking techniques. Aloo Biryani, in particular, is a modern adaptation that caters to the vegetarian population, showcasing the versatility of biryani as a dish that can be enjoyed in numerous forms.


How to prepare

  1. Soak the saffron in a small bowl with 1 tbsp of the boiling water for at least 10 minutes.
  2. Wash the rice under cold running water until the water runs clear.
  3. Drain the rice and place it in a medium-sized bowl. Cover it with water and let it soak for 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil.
  5. Add the rice to the boiling water, stir well, and boil rapidly for 5 minutes.
  6. Drain the rice.
  7. While the rice is cooking, heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole dish over medium heat.
  8. Add the cloves and cinnamon to the dish and stir for 30 seconds.
  9. Add the potatoes and cook, stirring frequently, until they turn golden, about 5 minutes.
  10. Remove the casserole dish from the heat.
  11. Sprinkle the mint and half of the ginger over the potato mixture.
  12. Spread half of the rice over the potato mixture.
  13. In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, salt, saffron, and saffron liquid. Mix well.
  14. Pour half of the yogurt mixture over the rice in the casserole dish.
  15. Sprinkle the remaining ginger, cilantro, and onion on top. Cover with the remaining rice.
  16. Pour the remaining yogurt mixture over the rice.
  17. Pour the remaining boiling water down the side of the casserole dish.
  18. Cover the dish and bake in the oven until the rice is tender and all of the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes.
  19. Loosen the edges of the rice from the casserole dish.
  20. Warm the serving plate.
  21. Place a platter on top of the casserole dish and carefully turn the rice onto the plate.


  • 1. Add vegetables like peas, carrots, or bell peppers for additional nutrition and color.
  • 2. Swap yogurt for coconut milk for a dairy-free version.
  • 3. Incorporate paneer or tofu for an extra protein boost.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

1. Soaking the rice before cooking ensures it cooks evenly and becomes fluffy.

2. Sautéing the spices in oil at the beginning helps release their flavors, creating a more aromatic dish.

3. Layering the ingredients allows each layer to absorb the flavors and spices, resulting in a more cohesive dish.

4. Baking the biryani in the oven helps to cook it evenly, allowing the flavors to meld together beautifully.

Serving Suggestions

Aloo Biryani can be served with a side of cucumber raita or a simple salad to add freshness and balance the flavors. A squeeze of lemon juice on top can also enhance the taste.

Cooking Techniques

The key techniques in this recipe include boiling, sautéing, layering, and baking, each contributing to the texture and flavor of the final dish.

Ingredient Substitutions

1. Basmati rice can be substituted with any long-grain rice.

2. Any neutral oil can be used in place of vegetable oil.

3. Fresh herbs can be replaced with dried ones, adjusting the quantity as needed.

Make Ahead Tips

Prepare the rice and potato mixture ahead of time and refrigerate. Before serving, layer the ingredients and bake, saving time and effort.

Presentation Ideas

Serve the biryani in a clay pot for a traditional look, garnished with fried onions, chopped cilantro, and mint leaves for added color and flavor.

Pairing Recommendations

Aloo Biryani pairs well with a tangy mint chutney or a spicy pickle to complement the flavors of the dish.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in a microwave or oven until thoroughly warmed.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

A single serving of Aloo Biryani contains approximately 300-350 calories, making it a relatively light but satisfying meal option.


A serving of Aloo Biryani contains approximately 45-55 grams of carbohydrates, primarily from the rice and potatoes. These complex carbohydrates are a good source of energy.


This recipe contains about 10-15 grams of fat per serving, mainly from the vegetable oil used in cooking. Using a healthier oil or reducing the amount can lower the fat content.


Aloo Biryani provides about 4-6 grams of protein per serving, coming from the yogurt and small amounts present in the rice and potatoes.

Vitamins and minerals

The dish is rich in several vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin C from potatoes, calcium and Vitamin D from yogurt, and various B vitamins from the rice. The spices also contribute antioxidants and micronutrients.


This recipe may contain dairy (yogurt) and gluten (depending on the type of rice used). Those with allergies should adjust the recipe accordingly.


Aloo Biryani is a balanced dish, providing carbohydrates for energy, proteins for muscle repair, and fats for nutrient absorption. It is also rich in vitamins and minerals, making it a nutritious meal option.


Aloo Biryani is a versatile, flavorful, and nutritious dish that pays homage to the rich culinary heritage of the Indian subcontinent. With its blend of spices, tender potatoes, and fluffy rice, it's a satisfying meal that's perfect for any occasion. Whether you're a long-time fan of biryani or new to this dish, Aloo Biryani is sure to delight your taste buds and become a favorite in your recipe collection.

How did I get this recipe?

I remember the sense of anticipation I felt when I first discovered this recipe for Aloo Biryani. It was many years ago, when I was just a young girl living in a small village in India. My grandmother, who was known for her culinary skills, had invited me into the kitchen to teach me how to make this traditional dish.

I watched as she gathered the ingredients – fragrant spices like cumin, coriander, and turmeric, along with potatoes, rice, and yogurt. The kitchen filled with the warm, comforting aroma of roasted cumin and onions as she sautéed them in ghee. I could hardly contain my excitement as she explained each step of the recipe to me, her voice filled with love and pride.

As we layered the rice and potatoes in a large pot, alternating with spoonfuls of yogurt and sprinklings of spices, I felt a deep connection to my grandmother and the generations of women who had passed down this recipe. I listened intently as she shared stories of her own childhood, of learning to cook from her mother and grandmother, and of the joy that came from sharing food with loved ones.

After what seemed like hours of simmering and stirring, the Aloo Biryani was finally ready. The kitchen was filled with the mouth-watering aroma of spices and potatoes, and my stomach growled in anticipation. My grandmother carefully plated the dish, garnishing it with fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lemon juice.

We sat down at the table together, the steam rising from our plates as we dug in. The flavors were rich and complex, each bite a symphony of spices and textures. I savored every mouthful, feeling grateful for the opportunity to learn this recipe from my grandmother.

Over the years, I have made Aloo Biryani many times, each batch a tribute to the women who came before me. I have shared the recipe with friends and family, passing on not just the ingredients and techniques, but the stories and memories that make this dish so special.

As I sit here now, an old woman with greying hair and a lifetime of cooking experience, I am filled with gratitude for the gift of this recipe. It is more than just a dish – it is a connection to my past, a reminder of the love and dedication that goes into creating a meal.

I hope that one day, my own grandchildren will sit at my table, their mouths watering as they watch me prepare Aloo Biryani. I will teach them the recipe, just as my grandmother taught me, and pass on the tradition of cooking with love and care.

For me, Aloo Biryani will always be more than just a recipe – it is a link to my heritage, a taste of the past, and a reminder of the enduring power of food to bring people together. And for that, I am eternally grateful.


| Basmati Rice Recipes | Indian Recipes | Long-grain Rice Recipes | Mint Recipes | Pakistani Recipes | Pakistani Vegetarian | Potato Recipes | Rice Recipes | Saffron Recipes |

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