Malabar vegetable biryani

Malabar vegetable biryani

Garnished with caramelized onions and cashew nuts, enjoy every bite of this dum-cooked, Malabar vegetable biryani. This is a perfect mild-tasting biryani that is enjoyed for any occasion.

Rarely but surely they will have a small celebration at my mum’s workplace. If it is a lunch meeting surely there will be that parcel of biryani. Though a picky eater, I like digging into my mum’s pack of lunch and grabbing a few bites. I got the chance as I practically lived under her table at work all the little life that I was off school. Slowly, I developed a taste for this Malabar vegetable biryani where the kaima rice stays white and the gentle whole spices make it a delightful flavour.

Why is malabar biryani unique?

The cuisine of Malabar is well known for the blend of Arabic and Portuguese cuisine styles seamlessly with the local cuisine. This resulted in rich, fragrant dishes that are not spicy when compared to much of the popular Indian cuisine. Done in fragrant short-grain kaima (jeeragashala rice), the biryani is not spicy or loaded with a lot of masala. The use of whole spices keeps the rice white contrasting with the masala mix. The cooking technique is also where the rice is cooked separately and then layered with the biryani masala mix. Then this is sealed and cooked further in dum ( sealed and cooked in steam). This perfects the flavour and the texture of the rice.

How is Malabar biryani different from Hyderabadi biryani?

It is always a biryani connoisseur’s big dilemma how the biryani is cooked and served that determines which is better for their taste buds. The few key things that stand out about the Malabar biryani are these, which also set it apart from the Hyderabadi dum counterpart.
The mildest of biryanis is the Malabar biryani as it is a celebration of more flavourful spices than the heat.
It is made with short-grain kaima or jeeragashala rice.
Cooked on coal embers and mixed oy when ready to be served this is a layered rice recipe.
The spices used do not have saffron, kewra water or rose water. These are unique to Hyderabadi biryani
The biryani is served with condiments like biryani achar and coconut chammadi with papadam ( recipe links are given below) and not with dahi chutney or mirch ka salan.

How to serve malabar biryani?

Malabar biryani is perhaps one that is served with a lot of little condiments on the side. There is always a small bowl of onion raita (salad) just like any other biryani. Then on another corner of this pack are two things that make the combo perfect, a small ball of coconut chammandhi and a tablespoon of beetroot achar. Along with a papadam, the biryani treat is complete.

Malabar vegetable biryani

Garnished with caramelized onions and cashew nuts, enjoy every bite of this dum-cooked, Malabar vegetable biryani. This is a perfect mild-tasting biryani that is enjoyed for any occasion.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Main Dish, Traditional
Cuisine gluten free, Indian, South indian
Servings 6 people


For the biryani rice

  • 1.5 cups Raw rice jeerakashala or kaima
  • 1 large shallot
  • 2 bayleaves
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 1/2 stick cinnamon stick
  • 1 green cardamom
  • 2 cloves
  • salt to taste

for the fried onions

  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 1 large red onion

For the masala base

  • 1 bayleaves
  • 1/2 inch fresh ginger root
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 large carrot diced or as sticks
  • 1/4 cup peas cooked and drained
  • 1/4 cup cauliflower as florets
  • 1/4 cup french beans chopped in 1 inch pieces.
  • 1 handful mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup coriander leaves
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp ghee

The final touches

  • 1 tbsp raisins
  • 1 tbsp cashew nuts
  • 1 tbsp ghee


  • Wash and add the rice to the rice cooker with pounded shallots,salt, bayleaves, spices and ghee.
  • Mix well and let the rice cook.
  • To a thick bottomed pan, add the ghee and set it on low heat.
  • Peel and slice the onions thinly.
  • Saute the onions in the ghee till they caramelize.
  • When the onions are soft and caramelized, remove and set it aside.
  • To the same pot add the ghee again, add the whole spices and let them turn aromatic.
  • Now add all the vegetables and mix well.
  • Sprinkle the salt and mix in the yogurt.
  • Add powdered fennel and biryani masala powder.
  • Mix well and cover an cook tlll the vegetables are firm but cooked.
  • Once it is cooked, remove half of the masala.
  • Fluff the rice and layer the rice on top of the masala.
  • Spread some caramelized onions on top.
  • Spread the rest of the masala.
  • Follow it up with more rice, fried onions, raisins and cashews.
  • Cover and cook on a low heat till the flavours are taken up well.
  • The malabar biryani is now ready.
Keyword christmas recipes, Easter recipes, Indian vegetarian dinner, Lunch recipes, malabar cuisine
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Other biryani recipes from our blog

Jackfruit biryani
Chettinad mushroom biryani
Dum aloo biryani


This collection of Biryanis and Pulao at the Shh cooking is a collection I wanted to keep close to my culinary secrets. Thanks to all the lovely bloggers who agreed to participate and make it big, we have a good collection. I had Sasmita as my partner to choose my secret ingredient. Thankfully she chose whole spices making it possible to make this Malabar dum biryani easily. She has made another classic called Tehri. 

Stay connected

Once you are into Indian cuisine, you must try the Malabar cuisine at least once to feel the difference and the richness of this style of cuisine. We enjoy making malabar biryani over any other. Hope you will do too.
Do leave comments about your experience when you make this recipe.
Stay subscribe and see you at the next post.

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malabar vegetable biryani

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2 months ago
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Such a minimalistic yet flavour packed dish this Malabar biryani is! So nice to know a variant of the famed Kerala Biryani via this recipe. I can so visualise you, Seema under the table in Aunty’s office. reminds me of the days I spent in Amma’s school where she worked:)

Last edited 2 months ago by Kalyani
2 months ago
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Seema! I have made Malabar egg biryani in the past and the flavours I still remember. Hence I know this Malabar biryani will be very delicious. This will make a wonderful meal for us this Sunday.

1 month ago
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I never got chance to taste Malabar biryani, bookmarking to try this flavorful biryani to try soon. I am sure my family too enjoy this biryani..

1 month ago
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This biryani will surely make a wonderful meal…..  bookmarking to try this flavorful biryani to try soon.

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