Pleasantly spicy and full of flavor, this biryani is a real crowd-pleaser. The flavors of cumin, turmeric, chili powder, and more delicately combined with rice and vegetables make an aromatic combination that is hard to resist. It pairs perfectly with the creamy, cooling tomato cucumber raita.

Cauliflower Biryani With Tomato Cucumber Raita [Vegan, Gluten-Free]



Cooking Time




For the Rice:

  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 1/4 teaspoon of saffron threads
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 2-inch cinnamon stick
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cloves
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • 14 cashews, split in half lengthways
  • 2 tablespoons golden raisins
  • 1 small onion, cut into fine rings
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Bunch of coriander, for garnish, chopped

For the Vegetables:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • 1 small onion, cut into fine rings
  • 2 teaspoons ginger, finely grated
  • 7 ounces cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 1 medium carrots, diced in small cubes
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 6.3 ounces frozen peas, defrosted
  • 2 small fresh hot green chilies, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

For the Tomato Cucumber Yogurt Raita:

  • Scant 2 cups vegan plain yogurt
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
  • 2 large tomatoes, deseeded and cut into small cubes
  • 2 medium cucumber, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
  • Salt, to taste


  1. Wash the rice thoroughly under tap water several times to remove some of the starch. Then place the rice in a bowl and cover with water and let it soak for 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a small cup, cover saffron threads with 2 tablespoons boiled water. Cover cup and set aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 320°F.
  4. Heat oil over medium heat in a heavy, oven-safe pan with a fitting lid. Add the cinnamon stick, bay leaves, cloves, cardamom pods, and cumin. Stir for a few minutes, then add cashews.
  5. As soon as the cashews are golden, which is in a matter of few seconds, add the golden raisins. The raisins should plump up in a few seconds. Add the onion and cook until it takes on color.
  6. Add scant 2 3/4 cups water along with rice and salt. Stir, bring to a boil, the cover with foil and the lid and place in the oven for 25 minutes.
  7. For the vegetables, heat oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat.
  8. Add the cumin seeds and sizzle for a few seconds. Add onion, ginger, turmeric, chili powder, cauliflower, and carrot. Stir-fry for abut 4 minutes or until the onion and cauliflower are lightly browned.
  9. Reduce the heat to medium-­low, add the peas, green chilis, salt, black pepper, garam masala, and lemon juice and cook for about 5 minutes or until the vegetable are just done.
  10. To make the raita, put the yogurt in a bowl wish with a fork until smooth and creamy. Add the chili powder, cumin, and garlic powder and mix well. Season with salt. Then add the tomatoes, shallots, and cucumber. Taste for salt and adjust as necessary.
  11. Take the rice out of the oven and let it sit for 10 minutes. Fluff the rice gently to break any lumps. Pour over the saffron water and then combine all the ingredients from the frying pan into the rice and mix gently to combine everything together.
  12. Sprinkle over with chopped coriander and serve hot with yogurt raita.