• Prep Time 15 minutes
  • Cook Time 50 minutes
  • Serving For 8 people
  • Difficulty Normal

Recipe Description

Welcome to the ‘#HealthyEating’ series! #HealhyEating is launched to encourage everyone to love themselves and live a healthier life. In this quarter, we are sharing vegetarian Rice recipes, BRIYANI. This one-pot rice dish, the origins of which are open to debate, always evokes a wonderful feeling in my heart.

Want more vegetarian or vegan recipes? Check out the ‘#HealthyEating’ recipe folder.


The recipe is first published on TheStar at https://www.thestar.com.my/food/food-news/2020/10/31/deepavali-spirit-gets-a-touch-of-halloween-through-this-spice-filled-briyani

Recipe Ingredient

  • 2 cups basmati rice, washed and drained
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 1 pandan leaf, knotted
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 star anise
  • 10 cardamom
  • 6 cloves
  • 10 shallots, sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 green chillies, deseeded and chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste (Note: Puree 2-inch ginger with a few cloves of garlic and a splash of water. This can be kept in the freezer)
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp briyani powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ cup water
  • 400g pumpkin, skinned and cubed
  • To temper/fry rice:
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 pandan leaf
  • 1 tsp briyani powder
  • 4 cups water
  • For garnish:
  • 1 sprig fresh coriander
  • ½ cup toasted almond flakes
  • 1 tsp lemon zest


  1. Wash rice thoroughly until the water runs clear. Leave to soak in clean water for about 30 minutes.
  2. In a pot or frying pan, heat the oil and ghee on medium flame. Add cinnamon, bay leaves, star anise, cardamom, cloves and pandan leaf, and saute until you hear crackling sounds.
  3. Then saute the shallots and garlic until fragrant and translucent.
  4. Next, add chillies, followed by tomatoes. Fry until tomatoes are caramelised.Add ginger-garlic paste and saute for about seven minutes until oil forms.
  5. Pour in all the spice powders, including salt and pepper. Add water and mix until everything is well incorporated.
  6. Add pumpkin cubes into the masala. Mix everything together and leave to cook for 10 minutes under a closed lid.
  7. Test with a fork if the pumpkin is cooked. It should be soft but not mushy. Set aside in a bowl.
  8. In a big pot, heat the oil and ghee. Add the pandan leaf, followed by all the aromatics. Add the briyani powder and saute until fragrant.
  9. Drain the soaked rice and pour it into the pot. Coat the rice evenly and fry for a few minutes with the aromatics.
  10. Pour four cups of water and stir. Cover the pot tightly and leave to cook for 10 minutes on medium low heat.
  11. There should be a little water left with the rice three quarters cooked through. Drain out the excess spiced water in a bowl through a colander. Reserve the water.
  12. In the same pot, assemble the rice and pumpkin masala layer by layer starting with the rice. You can add more of the spiced water for moisture.
  13. Leave to steam under the lid for about 10 minutes.
  14. Gently fluff the rice using a wooden spatula or fork to ensure grains are evenly coated with the masala. Garnish with coriander, almond flakes and lemon zest.

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