Vegetarian Jackfruit Biryani


This may look like a complicated recipe that takes a long time but if you follow the steps methodically, it is not that difficult to make and the result is indeed delicious. It may not be the kind of dish that you would want to make for your family on a weekly basis but it sure is great to serve this at parties or special occasions and prove yourself as an accomplished cook!


  1. In a medium sized pot, pour the cooking oil and start heating it up on medium heat.
  2. Using a mandolin thinly slice half of a large red onion.
  3. When the oil is hot and starting to dimple, put in the sliced onion and deep fry until the onions turn brown and crispy (see accompanying picture).
  4. Place the fried onions on a dry paper towel to let all the oil drip out of them and place them aside.  Turn off the heat and keep the hot oil aside.
  5. Open the cans of jackfruit and drain the liquid out of them by placing them in a colander.
  6. Once the water is drained, squeeze the pieces of jackfruit with your hand and continue the process of removing all the water from the canned jackfruit.  You could also use some dry paper towels to soak up the moisture from the jackfruit pieces.
  7. Finely dice the remaining onions (the smaller the size of the onion, the faster they will cook) and in a second pot place half a cup of oil and start heating over medium heat.
  8. Also peel and chop the 5 cloves of garlic.
  9. When the oil in the pot is heated, place the diced onions in it and start cooking them slowly.
  10. When the onions are translucent, add the chopped garlic and cook over medium heat till the onions looks caramelized.
  11. Dice the tomatoes and add them to the onions and garlic mixture cooking in the pot.
  12. Stir this mixture frequently so avoid anything sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  13.  While this mixture is cooking slowly on one burner, in a third pot (large sized) start heating 12 cups of water on another burner.
  14. When this water starts to boil, pour in the Basmati rice and cook them till they are about half-way through the cooking process.  You can take out a grain of rice and check the level of done-ness.
  15. While the rice is still al-dente pour them in a colander and drain all the water out of them and wash them under a stream of cold water to stop the cooking process. Then set the rice aside.
  16. Continue to keep an eye on the onion, tomato and garlic mixture cooking on the first burner and stir them frequently. If it looks like they are getting stuck to the bottom of the pan, add a little bit more oil and lower the heat from the burner.
  17. When the mixture looks like the onions and tomatoes have cooked to the extent that they make a blended paste, add half a packet of the Shaan Memoni or Sindhi Biryani spice mix and stir.
  18. After 1-2 minutes of cooking the spices and releasing their flavors into the pot, add the jackfruit, cauliflower florets and half a cup of plain yogurt and stir the contents of the pot thoroughly (see accompanying picture) and continue cooking over low heat.
  19. To the pot, add grated ginger and continue cooking the mixture till the vegetables look almost done.
  20. In a large heavy- bottomed pot, place the twigs of mint at the bottom and then start layering the half-cooked rice and the vegetable mixture.  You could mix the two gently so that some of the rice gets coated with the vegetable mixture and some stay white.  The quantity of rice and vegetable mixture is enough to make two to three layers of each (somewhat like layering lasagna).
  21. Break a nutmeg into 2-3 chunks by gently hammering it with a pestle and tuck the pieces into the rice mixture in at some distance from each other (the flavor should be able to spread evenly into the rice).
  22. When the layering is complete, add a pinch of saffron to half a cup of milk and warm it in the microwave for 35 seconds.
  23. Spread the saffron flavored milk over the rice gently and cover the pot of rice and vegetable.
  24. Cook the rice over very low heat on a stove top. If the heat is too much, the rice at the bottom could get burnt. One way of avoiding such charring at the bottom is to place an iron griddle between the burner and the pot of rice.  The indirect heat cooks the rice evenly and helps to prevent any rice from getting burnt at the bottom of the pot.
  25. Cook the rice for an addition 15 minutes or till it is done completely.
  26. Garnish the biryani with the deep fried onions that you had set aside earlier.
  27. Serve the biryani with a cucumber- yogurt Raita or with freshly made homemade plain yogurt.


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  1. Permalink Submitted by Surbhi Lal on Mon, 20/02/2012 - 19:31

    Hey Shabnam Just discovered your blog! Its Awesome. Just the kind of stuff I could make with my pantry without having to go get unfamiliar fancy stuff.

    So just wondering if you have an awesome chiken biryani recipe you wouldn’t mind sharing. 😉

  2. Permalink Submitted by Shabnam on Mon, 20/02/2012 - 20:17

    Thank you, Surbhi!!!! That is very kind of you indeed 🙂 I had been thinking of doing this blog for almost 3-4 yrs and finally got around to doing it. About the chicken biryani, you could follow the exact same process as the one above and just replace the jackfruit with chicken or baby goat meat and cook the chicken for a bit longer (till it is fully cooked) and then layer it in the rice. If you want it spicier, add more Shaan Masala – that is what I do! Let me know how it turns out. I will also ask some friends of mine in Delhi (the Dagars are known for their traditional music and their traditional food) when I meet them for their recipes and send them to you when I get them. I hope all is well with you and your family! XOXO

  3. Permalink Submitted by Surbhi Lal on Mon, 20/02/2012 - 20:27

    Thanks Shabnam will definately try this weekend. My family loves biryani but I’m not sure Kathal will fly. I am constantly looking for the most authentic Biryani recipes, but I still have to find one that comes close to the realy awesome ones I’ve had at places like Bombay’s Mohammad Ali Road or Jaipur’s Musafir Khaana.

  4. Permalink Submitted by Shabnam on Mon, 20/02/2012 - 20:32

    Surbhi, my recipe in quite genuine – my husband is a Bihari Muslim and it passed the test of his family (and you know how difficult it is to please Indian in-laws!) 😉 I haven’t eaten at the two places you mentioned but I have eaten it in old Delhi (Jama Masjid area) and good Hyderabadi biryani and also at various in-laws’ houses – this recipe does work well 😀 I plan to be in Delhi in March – will try and get other ones for you then!

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