Vegetable Biryani Recipe (with optional chicken)

Biryanis are a staple classic rice and vegetable recipe from India. Although the biryani recipe is originally thought to have been created in Persia, it is now available throughout India with different versions to be found in different regions. This means that there are a variety of biryani recipes out there to be tried and tested, but this microwaveable recipe wins hands down for speed and ease.

It is very easy to adapt the recipe to what you have in your cupboard and freezer - you can change the frozen vegetables or the pulses to use whatever your favourite is. While you're at it, why not change the spice paste - this recipe uses a korma paste - but feel free to experiment and go hotter! There is coconut milk in it that will temper anything too spicy and add a delicious richness to the dish. Enjoy mixing it up and creating your own favourite biryani recipe!

Serves 4

Preparation time: 3 minutes

Cooking time: 16 minutes

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Ingredients for Vegetable Biryani Recipe:

  • 225g or 1 cup Basmati Rice
  • 400g  or 2  and 1/2 cups Frozen Vegetables - any variety will work, but if possible make sure that you have peas, carrots, peppers, broccoli, sweetcorn and beans.
  • Handful Raisins
  • 200g canned Kidney Beans or Butter Beans (half a 14oz can)
  • 1 Tablespoon Korma Curry Paste
  • 300 ml Vegetable Stock (made with a stock cube or stock powder is absolutely fine)
  • 400 ml Canned Coconut Milk
  • Handful Roasted and Salted Cashew Nuts (optional)
  • Cooked Chicken Pieces (optional)

Equipment needed:

  • Large, Microwaveable Glass Bowl
  • Measuring Jug
  • Sieve to drain canned pulses
  • Cling Film
  • Microwave (This recipe is assuming you have a microwave with power of at least 850 watts)


  1. Measure the rice and place in a large microwaveable bowl
  2. Add the frozen vegetables and the raisins on top of the rice.
  3. Prepare the vegetable stock with boiling water and pour into the bowl. Open the canned coconut milk and add to the bowl too. It might appear to have separated into a watery liquid and a solid coconut cream - don't worry if it has - add the entire contents into the bowl and give it a stir.
  4. Add the curry paste to the rice / vegetable / liquid mixture and stir well.
  5. Cover the bowl with cling film, but insert a small hole in the middle of the cling lid to allow the steam to escape. Pop the bowl in the microwave and cook on full power for 12 minutes.
  6. Open and drain the can of pulses.
  7. When the 12 minutes cooking time is up, remove the bowl from the microwave and stir through the rice with a fork. It will still be a bit "wet" at this point. Stir in the drained  beans and recover the cling film. Heat for a further 4 minutes in the microwave (still on full power).
  8. Carefully remove from the microwave and check on the rice (blow on it first before tasting as it will be hot!!) if it still tastes a bit firm / crunchy, give it one more minute in the microwave.
  9. Warm through the chicken pieces (if using)
  10. Serve into individual bowls and sprinkle the cashew nuts and chicken if desired over the top.

The dish is satisfying and delicious as it is, but even better served with poppadums and cold beer!