Vegetarian Biryani with a twist

Created by Iraqi chef Dhuha from Eat Offbeat, the New York catering company that employs refugees who have resettled in the city, this Middle Eastern version of the Indian classic is made with cinnamon-scented rice, vermicelli noodles, potatoes and raisins.

Read more: Can eating vegetarian increase life expectancy?

Vegetarian Biryani

Serves: 4-6


  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 150g wheat vermicelli noodles
  • 150g fresh or frozen peas
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 1 medium russet potato, peeled and diced
  • 50g black or golden raisins (or a combination)
  • 200g basmati rice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon seven spices or biryani spices
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Heat one tablespoon of the oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the vermicelli and toast until the noodles are golden, about two minutes. Carefully add half a cup (around 120ml) of water to the pot, cover it, and bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the noodles are tender and the water is absorbed, about 10 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and set it aside.

Read more: 15-minute Spicy Indian Salad for Two

Heat the remaining one tablespoon of oil in a large non-stick skillet over high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the peas, carrot, and potato and pan-fry until they are tender and starting to brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in the raisins and cook until they plump and begin to brown, about two minutes more. Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside.

Bring one-and-a-half cups (around 355ml) of water and the rice, cinnamon stick, turmeric, and salt to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Once the water is boiling, cover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the rice is cooked, 10 to 15 minutes.

Whisk together the seven spices, cardamom, and ground cinnamon in a small bowl.

Read more: Budget-friendly Vegetarian Chickpea Curry

Add the vermicelli to the rice, then gently stir in the spices, making sure to evenly incorporate them and coat the grains. Stir in the vegetables and raisins. Serve immediately.

The Kitchen Without Borders: Recipes And Stories From Refugee And Immigrant Chefs by The Eat Offbeat Chefs, photography by Penny De Los Santos, is published by Workman, available now.

How often do you eat vegetarian dinners? What’s your favourite cuisine? Do you enjoy fusion cooking?

– With PA

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Written by YourLifeChoices Writers

YourLifeChoices' team of writers specialise in content that helps Australian over-50s make better decisions about wealth, health, travel and life. It's all in the name. For 22 years, we've been helping older Australians live their best lives.

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