The Daring Cooks – Vegetable Biryani and Tomato Curry


Grace, one of our talented non-blogging Daring Kitchen members, was our Daring Cooks’ August hostess who shared with us some of her family’s tried and true Bengali Biryani recipes – all of them delicious and all of them prepared fresh from our own kitchens!

It’s no news that Indian food is a favourite in my house and a cuisine I love to cook, eat and learn about. Thus, it is no surprise that I was thrilled at this months Indian themed Daring Cooks challenge.


I adore spices and appreciate how they each bring a unique presence to a dish. I love to sub a different spice here and there and see how different the results are, it really keeps your basic curry recipes interesting and adaptable when spices run out or you just want to mix things up.

What I love the most is the canvas to add anything to. Along with mixing your spice mix up a bit, your additions to your curry base can make for a totally different experience each time. To the same curry base, you can create varied meals by using different vegetables – sweet potato, squash and spinach; courgettes, aubergines and peppers; potatoes, peas and carrots; lentils and greens; beans and tomatoes; cauliflower and broccoli; pineapple and banana; even add tofu, seitan or tempeh for more protein packed versions. The possibilities are endless and the mighty curry makes even the back of the fridge lurkers, delicious and luxurious.


This wonderful, mildly spiced Biryani and light curry is such an authentic addition to your Indian cuisine repertoire and is not just a delectable meal but also a nutritional powerhouse full of good for you vegetables, tastes and textures that the whole family will love.

To make the servings go further or to add extra bulk to the meal serve with one of my easy naan recipes, use the Fig Peshwari Naan for extra indulgence and to make it just that extra bit special!

The ingredients list is long but it doesn’t mean it is hard or complicated and if you measure out all your spices before you start cooking, you will be well organised and under control. The method is divided in to three simple stages for ease and to make sure all components are ready at the same time.


This is my interpretation of the recipe we were given by Grace. I have made the recipe vegan and made it much lower in fat (the original called for a whopping 10 tablespoons of ghee!! I have used 1 tablespoon of oil!). I have made a few substitutions, reductions and additions. I added wonderful caramelised cabbage and crisp cauliflower to add texture, flavour and nutrition to the dish and scattered each plate with nutty sesame seeds. I used brown rice for fibre and long lasting energy release and apricots for a hint of sweetness.


The original recipe came in at 736 calories per serving, a scary 43.9g of total fat, 20.6g of which is saturated fat which is 103% of the ‘daily recommended value’ (DRV), 75mg cholesterol which is 25% of the DRV.

My version has just 265 calories per serving, 6.2g of total fat (10% DRV), of which just 1.6g is saturated (8% DRV, from the coconut) and 0mg cholesterol, 0% DRV. Not only is my version incredibly low in fat with zero cholesterol and still tastes amazing, it is high in dietary fiber, very high in manganese, very high in vitamin B6 and very high in vitamin C. (Source,

Ingredients: Serves 6


  • ½ head of pointed or white cabbage, thinly shredded
  • 1 medium cauliflower, cut into florets
  • ½ tsp saffron threads
  • 4 fresh apricots (or peaches etc)
  • ½ tbsp hemp or vegetable oil (divided into 1 tsp + ½ tsp)
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 4 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cardamom pod
  • 5 spring onions, sliced (white and green parts)
  • 200g/1 cup brown rice, soaked for 30 minutes and drained (or use white basmati)
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 10g sesame seeds
  • 500ml/2 cups water


  • ½ tbsp hemp or vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 inch ginger, peeled and finely chopped (1 tbsp minced)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp/10g desiccated coconut
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 400 g/14 oz can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped into 1 cm chunks
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice


Start with the rice:


  1. Start by cooking the cabbage and cauliflower. Add the saffron to a cup and add half a cup/125ml boiling water, set aside to infuse.
  2. Add the ½ tsp of oil in a cast iron or large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the cabbage and saute until the edges are caramelised and golden. Set aside and keep warm.
  3. Add the cauliflower and saffron water to the pan and bring to a boil, cook until al dente, cooked with a little crunch remaining and the water absorbed. Set aside and keep warm.
  4. Add the chopped apricots and heat until golden. Set aside.
  5. Heat the remaining tsp of oil and fry the whole spices (cloves to cardamom) until fragrant then add the spring onions and fry until golden brown.
  6. Mix in the rice and fry for 2 minutes, stirring constantly then stir in the ground spices, salt and water and bring to a boil.
  7. Cover and cook over low heat for 20-30 minutes or until the rice is dry and cooked through.

Meanwhile make the curry:

  1. Heat the oil and add the garlic, ginger, and onion and fry over a medium heat until golden brown.
  2. Stir in the coconut and fry for 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in the ground spices, salt, tomatoes and celery and cook for about 20 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed.
  4. Stir in the coriander and lemon juice. Remove from the heat.

Assemble the dish:

  1. Add the cabbage, cauliflower and apricot back to the rice and stir to combine and heat through.
  2. Divide the rice between plates then add the curry.
  3. Scatter with sesame seeds to serve.

Calorie Count :: New Recipe

This entry was posted in Daring Cooks, Egg-free, Gluten-free, Indian, Mains, vegan, Vegetarian and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to The Daring Cooks – Vegetable Biryani and Tomato Curry

  1. Oh MY! That looks delicious!

  2. Cabbage in biryani is a very interesting take…..

  3. myninjanaan says:

    unfortunately authentic Indian/Pakistani food has a LOT of oil! I love that you were able to reduce the fat by such a huge amount!
    I’m excited to see how you interpret this month’s daring bakers challenge 😉 I would love to see how you’re able to veganize it!

    • Poppy says:

      Yes it does but I don’t think it necessary, there are so many flavours that it doesn’t need fat for flavour! I use just a little for the onion, garlic and spices.
      I simply veganized it by swapping hemp oil for the ghee, missing out the paneer and adding more veg for more nutrients! 😀

  4. Poppy, this biryani is marvelous! 😛

  5. Carolyn says:

    This looks HEAVENLY. I cannot wait to try!

  6. Violet says:

    This looks simply mouth-watering and I love how you made it lower in fat!! Thank you for another great recipe that I wanna try, Poppy! 🙂

  7. Looks amazing! I’m going to try this for sure.

  8. Janet Rörschåch says:

    I love that you did a vegetarian biriyani. One of my fav Indian dishes.

  9. sophiazerg says:

    Wow, Poppy, looks amazing. I love Indian cuisine, it’s my favourite, as well as my husband’s. We love it in restaurants, but don’t like the thick layer of oil! You made such a healthy version, I love that!
    Sophia 🙂

  10. Fit Radiance says:

    This looks delicious! So healthy too. Yum! 🙂

  11. Shelley C says:

    Cabbage? Apricots? YUM. Great job.

  12. That looks fantastic! The only biryani I’ve ever had was the one in Appetite for Reduction, it was good but it appears I really need to experiment more.

  13. I love that you just loaded up the sesame seeds, I could put them on everything!

  14. Yum! This looks very good!

  15. Looks great. Biryani makes wonderful picnic food too.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s