Dum Biryani (veg)

What is Dum ?

It is a technique of slow cooking food in tightly sealed pots thereby not allowing any steam to escape.

The layers of food is kept in a pan or pot which is then sealed tightly using wheat flour dough. Traditionally clay pots are used while making biryani.

Sealing together the edges of the lid and the pot tightly with wheat flour dough does not allow the steam to escape.

Ingredients For Soaking Rice 300 grams / 1.5 cups basmati rice

1 cup water for soaking rice

Veggies 150 grams cauliflower

1 cup chopped potatoes

½ cup chopped carrots

¼ cup chopped french beans

½ cup green peas - fresh or frozen

1 heaped cup thinly sliced onions

1.5 tablespoons finely chopped ginger or 1 tablespoon ginger paste

1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic or ½ tablespoon garlic paste

2 green chilies, slit or sliced

For Cooking Rice 3 green cardamoms

1 black cardamom

3 cloves

1 inch cinnamon

1 tej patta (indian bay leaf)

2 single mace strands

5 cups water

½ teaspoon salt or add as per taste

For Biryani Curry/Gravy 3 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)

1 tej patta (indian bay leaf)

3 green cardamoms

1 black cardamon

1 inch cinnamon

200 grams / 1 cup curd (yogurt), whisked

½ teaspoon turmeric powder

1 teaspoon red chilli powder

½ cup water for pressure cooking and ¾ cup water if cooking in a pot

2 tablespoons cashews

2 tablespoons almonds - raw or blanched, peeled and sliced

salt as required

For Assembling And Layering ⅓ cup chopped coriander leaves (cilantro)

⅓ cup chopped mint leaves

4 to 5 tablespoons milk

¼ teaspoon saffron strands

2 teaspoons kewra water or rose water


  • Pick and rinse basmati rice in running water till the water runs clear of starch. Soak the rice in 1 cup of water for 30 minutes.

  • After 30 minutes drain the rice and keep aside.

  • When the rice is soaking prep all the veggies and other ingredients. Keep aside.

Cooking Rice

  • Take a deep bottomed pan. Add water and heat the water on a high flame.

  • When the water becomes hot, add all the salt and following spices tej patta, green cardamoms, cloves, black cardamom, cinnamon, strands of mace.

  • Bring the water to a boil. Then add the rice.

  • Just gently stir with a spoon or fork, after you add the rice.

  • Do not reduce the flame and continue to cook the rice.

  • The rice has to be ¾ᵗʰ cooked. The grains should have a slight bite to them when cooked. The rice should not be fully cooked but almost cooked.

  • Drain the rice in a colander. Gently fluff and keep aside.

Making Vegetable Curry/Gravy

  • In a pan, heat ghee. Add the following spices - jeera, tej patta, green cardamoms, cloves, black cardamom and cinnamon. Sauté the whole spices till they crackle.

  • Now add the onions. Stir and sauté them on a low to medium flame.

  • Add a pinch of salt to quicken the cooking process.

  • When the onions are cooking, take 1 cup fresh curd (yogurt) in a bowl and whisk the curd with a spoon or wired whisk till it become smooth.

  • Sauté the onions till they become golden brown.

  • Sauté till the raw aroma of ginger-garlic goes away.

  • Add the turmeric and red chili powder. Stir and mix well.

  • Next add the chopped veggies. Sauté for a minute or two.

  • Lower the heat and add the whisked curd (yogurt). Stir and mix well as soon as you add the curd. Then add water.

  • Season with salt. Stir again.

  • If cooking in a pot, then cook till the vegetables are done. Don’t over cook the vegetables.

  • Warm 4 to 5 tablespoons milk in a microwave or in a small pan on the stove top. Add ¼ teaspoon of saffron strands. Stir and keep aside.

  • When the pressure settles down on its own, remove the lid and check the gravy. If the vegetables are not cooked well, then keep the cooker on the stove top and simmer the vegetable biryani gravy without the lid, till the vegetables are cooked. If there is too much of water or stock in the gravy, then simmer till some water dries up. The veg biryani gravy should have a medium or slightly thick consistency and should not be watery.

  • Now add cashews, raisins and almonds (blanched or raw) to the vegetable gravy. Mix and stir. Keep aside. Do check the salt. Add more if required.

Assembling & Layering

  • Now in a thick bottomed pan, layer half of the veg biryani gravy first.

  • Then layer half of the rice.

  • Sprinkle half of the chopped coriander leaves (cilantro), mint leaves and saffron milk.

  • Layer the remaining veg biryani gravy.

  • Layer the remainder of the rice. Sprinkle the remaining coriander leaves, mint leaves, saffron milk on the top. Sprinkle the rose water or kewra water. You can make 2 layers or 4 layers like I have done. But do note that rice should be the last layer.

Dum Cooking Biryani

  • Now seal and secure the pot with aluminium foil or wheat flour dough. Then cover with a lid. You can also seal the handi with a moist cotton cloth and then cover with the lid.

  • Take a tava/griddle/skillet and heat it on medium flame.

  • When the tawa become hot, then lower the flame. Keep the sealed veg biryani handi on the tava. Keep the flame to the lowest and cook for 25 to 30 minutes. You can also dum cook veg biryani for the first 15 minutes on direct low flame and then for the last 10 minutes, place the handi on the hot tawa/skillet and cook on a low flame.

  • Once done using a fork or spoon check the bottom layer of the biryani. There should be no liquids at the bottom. If there are liquids, then continue to dum cook for some more time. After dum cooking, give a standing time of 5 to 7 minutes and then serve the dum biryani. 

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