Cheaters quick ‘biryani’


A good Indian biryani is hard to beat. And hard to make. Here’s the cheater’s version.

When travelling through India years ago, we tried quite a few different biryanis. All of them delicious. But the challenge with making a good biryani is time. And that’s something I am generally short on when I just want to have a delicious meal after a long day.

That’s where this amazing recipe comes in. I’ve found the original recipe recently in a Sainsbury’s magazine and since then have made it on a weekly basis. I slightly adapted the recipe to make it suitable for 2-3 people rather than 1-2 people and also amended the steps to make it easier to follow.

While preparing this dish, the beauty is that you use just enough liquid to cook the rice in 15 minutes. The combination of fresh cauliflower and frozen peas also gives it a slightly sweeter taste, amplified by the coconut yoghurt, yet the spices bring it all back into a harmonious balance. Enough said.. let’s get cooking!

Cheaters quick ‘biryani’

7 minutes preparation + 23 minutes cooking — serves 2 to 3


  • 160 grams basmati rice
  • 1 cauliflower
  • 1 onion
  • 150 grams frozen petit pois
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 0.5 teaspoon hot chili powder
  • 0.5 teaspoon salt
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • Coconut yoghurt
  • Oil
  • Optional: flaked almonds and fresh coriander


  1. Peel and chop the onions into small pieces
  2. Wash the cauliflower and cut into florets.
  3. Bring 400 ml water to the boil in a kettle.
  4. Wash the rice.
  5. Prepare 385ml vegetable stock by mixing the vegetable stock cube with the boiled water.
  6. Wash the petit pois with some water so the peas no longer stick together in frozen clunks.

Preparing the ‘biryani’

  1. Heat up some oil in the pan and once hot, add the onion. Fry for c. 5 minutes until the onion has softened.
  2. Add the cauliflower, chili powder, curry powder and salt. Mix well and fry with the onion for another 2 minutes.
  3. Add in the rice and mix well with the cauliflower and onion.
  4. Add 4 tablespoons of the coconut yoghurt and mix in well.
  5. Pour in the vegetable stock and bring to a boil.
  6. Add the petit pois on top of the biryani but do not steer. Make sure the stock is boiling well – give it all a stir once it starts the boil and only if the stock is still bubbling, then you add the petit pois. If the stock is not heated up enough, the frozen petit pois will bring down the temperature too much and the rice will not cook in time.
  7. Cover the pan with a lid, bring the heat back to a simmer and let it cook for 15 minutes.

Bringing it all together

  1. Check that most liquid has been soaked up by the rice and that the rice is tender.
  2. Fluff up the biryani with a fork.
  3. Serve the biryani with some more coconut yoghurt as dressing, and optional flaked almonds and coriander.
Enjoy your meal!

Did you like this?

Leave a comment below if you made this recipe, and let me know what you think. Tips and feedback to improve the recipe are always welcome too!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *