Vegetable Breyani Recipe

With Diwali celebrations uppermost in the minds of many this month, here is a reliable recipe for you to use not only now, but time and time again, to impress family and friends. Lots of different ingredients, but such an easy method!


Prep Time

30 minutes plus 2.5 hrs soaking time

Cooking Time

1.5 hours



Recipe Ingredients

  • 500 ml    SPAR Basmati rice (400g)
  • 30 ml    mixed masala
  • 10ml    salt
  • 15ml    chopped fresh mint
  • 10ml    fresh garlic ginger mix
  • 250ml    SPAR low fat or fat free plain yoghurt
  • 2   fresh chillies, slivered (1 red and 1 green)
  • 2 stems   curry leaves
  • 2 sprigs   fresh thyme
  • pinch   saffron dissolved in a little hot water
  • 6  SPAR baby potatoes, halved, or 1 medium SPAR Freshline sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • salt to taste
  • 1ml   yellow food colouring
  • SPAR sunflower or canola oil for sautéing
  •  175g     SPAR Freshline green beans, trimmed and sliced   
  •  250g     SPAR frozen peas
  •  250g     sliced fresh mushrooms
  •  8  cocktail brinjals, unpeeled and quartered
  • 3 large  tomatoes, cubed
  • 1  SPAR Freshline cauliflower, trimmed and split into tiny florets
  • 125g SPAR ButterSpread
  • 3 medium onions, sliced in half-rings
  • 20ml  cumin seed (jeera)
  • 2   SPAR bay leaves
  • 10ml   fennel seed
  •  2  star anise, broken up
  • 4   Cinnamon Quills
  •  2   Cardamom, split open to use the black seeds within
  •  2 cans SPAR lentils, drained, and all liquid reserved
  • 3  hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped (optional)
  • ½ bunch  fresh dhania, roughly chopped
  • 250ml SPAR roasted salted cashew nuts (optional)

Recipe Method

  1. Pour 500ml boiling water onto the rice. Set aside for 2 hours.
  2. Combine the masala, salt, mint, garlic/ginger mix, yoghurt, chilli, curry leaves, thyme and soaked saffron and all the chopped vegetables Set aside for 1 hour for the flavours to infuse.
  3. Sprinkle salt and colouring over the prepared potatoes in a glass or steel bowl. Toss them in heated oil to crispen the outside only. Set aside back in their bowl.
  4. Add the ButterSpread to the same pot, and gently fry the onions until light brown. Add cumin, bay leaves, fennel seed, star anise, cinnamon quills and cardamom seeds, and roast together lightly.
  5. Assemble as follows:
  6. Sprinkle a can of the drained lentils into fairly deep pot suitable to go in an oven.
  7. Pile the vegetable mix over.
  8. Sprinkle over half the fried onion spice mix, then the remaining can of drained lentils and chopped egg.
  9. Arrange the potatoes over.
  10. Spoon on the drained, uncooked soaked rice.
  11. Cover the pot, and bring to the boil for 15 minutes.
  12. Meanwhile set the oven at 180°C.
  13. Pour over the reserved canned lentil liquid, and finish off the remaining onion spice mix.
  14. Cover with a well-fitting lid and cook in the oven for 35-40 minutes.
  15. Remove from the oven and fluff up with a fork to combine the ingredients a little.
  16. Garnish with dhania, and cashews if using  (and consider fresh rose petals for a special occasion)

Hints & Tips

  • Before beginning to work through the steps, collect and place all the ingredients on the counter in order of the recipe ingredient list.
  • Basmati rice is traditional, but SPAR white rice may be used of course for the sake of economy when preparing large party amounts.
  • Saffron may be swopped with 2ml turmeric powder
  • This recipe is very successful multiplied by up to 7 times. The oven time will double though once you pass the 30 portion mark, unless you use a steel bain-marie type oven-trays so the rice is spread out more than when cooked in a pot.
  • Additional vegetables such as cubed butternut and carrots may be added too.
  • Recommended accompaniment:  sambals such as a yoghurt mint dressing, a fresh diced tomato, chilli and onion mix , poppadums.