Bombay Biryani | Mumbai Biryani

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Bombay biryani aka Mumbai biryani is an aromatic, spiced and tasty Mumbai style dum cooked biryani made with mixed vegetables, basmati rice, curd, onions, tomatoes, herbs and spices. You can make this flavor packed delicious biryani for weekend lunch or dinner or for special occasions.

Bombay biryani served on a bowl with a side of raita

As the name suggests Bombay biryani has originated from Mumbai aka Bombay. The non-vegetarian version of Bombay biryani is popular. Here I am sharing a vegetarian version of this biryani. The biryani is fragrant and spiced and really good.

Good amount of tomatoes and potatoes along with spices are added in this biryani. Potatoes are fried and added, but I just cooked them together with the veggies. Birista or fried onions are also added in the biryani. Dried plums are also added. If you have dried plums then you can add them.

This Mumbai biryani also does not have dry fruits in it. For the color, I used natural orange color extract. If you want, you can use some saffron dissolved in milk to give some color. As always with any mixed veggie recipe, you can add your choice of veggies to the biryani.

Like all biryanis, this is a dum cooked biryani. You can tightly seal and cook the Bombay biryani on stovetop or in the oven. I do both on occasions. When it is a small amount I cook on the stovetop. And when its a lot of biryani, I cook in the oven. You can choose the option which suits you.

Biryani is a favorite dish at home. I do go extra lengths in preparing biryanis as firstly we love biryani and secondly, I just need to make simple raita with biryani.

I have already posted many Biryani varieties like:

  1. Veg biryani
  2. Mushroom biryani
  3. Paneer biryani
  4. Lucknowi biryani

I cook biryanis often at home, especially when we have guests or for get-togethers. I can proudly say that after cooking biryanis for so many years now, I have become good at making them. I will be sharing more biryani varieties in the near future.

Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Bombay biryani

 1. Rinse 1.5 cups basmati rice (or 300 grams) very well in water. Soak the rice in enough water for 30 minutes. You can use any good quality of basmati rice. I used organic basmati rice.

soaked basmati rice in bowl

2. When the rice is soaking, chop all the veggies and keep them aside. Take all the spices and keep them aside. Below is a pic of spices that we will add to the rice – green cardamoms, black cardamom, black pepper, one strand of mace, tej patta, star anise and cloves.

spices on a white plate

3. After 30 minutes drain the water from the rice.

soaked rice after draining water

Cooking rice

4. Heat 5 cups of water in a pan and bring to a boil on medium to high heat.

heating water in a pan

5. Add the whole spices or garam masala listed below:

  • 4 to 5 whole black pepper
  • 1 star anise (chakriphool)
  • 1 inch cinnamon
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 green cardamoms
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 1 large tej patta or 2 small to medium tej patta (indian bay leaf)
  • 2 single strands of mace
various spices added to water

6. Add rice.

rice added

7. Season with ¾ to 1 teaspoon salt or add as required.

salt added to water

8. Add ½ tablespoon lemon juice.

lemon juice added

9. On the same heat, simmer the rice till the grains are ¾th cooked.

cooking rice till 3/4th cooked

10. Drain the cooked rice in a colander and keep it aside. You can also check this detailed post on How to cook basmati rice for biryani.

drain the cooked rice in a colander

Preparing birista

11. Heat 7 tablespoon oil in a pan. Add 2 cups of thinly sliced onions.

onions added to pan

12. Stir.

stir onions

13. Saute the onions stirring often till they turn golden. Add a pinch of salt to hasten the cooking process.

sauteing onions

14. Stir often and saute till the onions become golden.

sauteed onions

15. Remove the crisp fried onions or birista with a slotted spoon and place them on kitchen paper towels. From 2 cups of sliced onions, you will get about 1 cup of birista. We will use ½ of the birista in the gravy and the remaining ½ in the layering.

birista removed on a tissue paper

Preparing vegetable gravy

16. In the same pan, add the following whole spices for the gravy:

  • 1 teaspoon shahjeera (caraway seeds)
  • 1 inch cinnamon
  • 4 green cardamoms
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 single strands of mace
  • 2 all spice (kabab chini) – optional
  • 1 large tej patta or 2 small to medium tej patta (indian bay leaf)
spices for gravy added to pan

17. Here’s a closeup pic of the spices. In clockwise order – tej patta (Indian bay leaf). Strands of mace, allspice (optional), green cardamoms, cinnamon and cloves. Caraway seeds or shah jeera is not shown in this below photo.

various spices on a white plate

18. Stir and saute till the spices become fragrant.

sauteing spices

19. Now add diced or chopped potatoes (about 1.5 cups diced potatoes) and carrots (about 1 cup chopped carrots).

carrots and potatoes added

20. Stir and mix well.

mixing veggies with spices

21. Saute the potatoes and carrots for 5 to 6 minutes.

sauteing potatoes and carrots

22. With a spoon, bring them to the sides and add 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste. Saute the ginger-garlic paste in the same place for some seconds or till their raw aroma goes away.

ginger garlic paste added

23. Now add 1.25 cups chopped tomatoes.

tomatoes added

24. Stir and mix very well.

stir and mix well

25. Add the following spice powders:

  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala powder.
  • Also, add prunes or dried plums if you have them. About 4 to 5 dried plums.
spices added

26. Add 1 chopped green chili. Stir and mix well. Saute for a minute.

green chili added

27. Add ⅓ cup tightly packed fresh or frozen green peas. Stir again.

peas added

28. Now add ½ of the birista or fried onions.

birista added to veggie mixture

29. Season with 1 teaspoon salt or add as required. Stir again.

salt added

30. Add 1 cup of water.

water added

31. Stir very well. Cover with the lid and cook on medium heat till the veggies are cooked. You can also use a stovetop pressure cooker for the cooking of the veggies.

Just add less water, about ⅔ to ¾ cup if cooking veggies in a stovetop pressure cooker and cook for 1 whistle.

cover the pan with a lid

32. The veggies have to be cooked well but should retain their shape. The gravy should also thicken and should not be of watery consistency.

cooked veggies

33. Whisk ½ cup fresh curd in a bowl till smooth and keep aside.

whisking curd in a bowl

34. Once the veggies are done, place the pan down and add the beaten or whisked curd (yogurt).

added whisked curd to veggies

35. Stir and mix very well. Check the taste and add more salt if required. Keep this vegetable gravy aside.

check the taste in the vegetable gravy

Cooking Mumbai Biryani

1. I have dum cooked the Mumbai biryani in the oven. You can also cook in a thick bottomed pan or pot or even in a dutch oven. Pour half of the vegetable gravy into the pan or pot.

layering veg gravy in the pan

2. Layer evenly with the cooked rice.

added rice layer

3. Sprinkle ¼ tablespoon of chopped mint leaves and ½ tablespoon chopped coriander leaves.

mint layer and coriander leaves on rice layer

4. Now sprinkle ¼ portion of the fried onions evenly.

birista layer added

5. Again make a second layer of the vegetable gravy evenly.

vegetable gravy second layer added

6. Spread a third layer of the rice.

rice layer added

7. Top up with the remaining chopped mint leaves, coriander leaves and fried onions. Also, add 1 to 2 teaspoons of kewra water.

mint leaves coriander leaves and fried onions added

8. Dot with ½ tablespoon ghee. You can also sprinkle some natural color if you want.

ghee added

9. Cover tightly with a foil. Bake the Bombay biryani at 180 degrees celsius for 30 to 35 minutes.

If dum cooking Bombay biryani on a stovetop, then also you can cover it with a foil or with a moist kitchen towel. Place the pan on a hot tava or griddle. On a low to medium heat dum cook the Mumbai biryani for 30 to 35 minutes.

baking Mumbai biryani

10. Allow the biryani to stand for some minutes.

cooked Mumbai biryani

11. Then serve this aromatic spiced Bombay biryani with your favorite raita.

Bombay biryani served on a bowl with a side of raita


Few more tasty biryani varieties:

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bombay biryani recipe

Bombay Biryani | Mumbai Biryani

Bombay biryani is an aromatic, spiced and tasty Mumbai style dum cooked biryani made with mixed vegetables, basmati rice, curd, onions, tomatoes, herbs and spices.
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 30 mins
Cuisine Indian
Course Main Course
Diet Vegetarian
Difficulty Level Moderate
Servings 5
Units

Ingredients

For the rice

  • 1.5 cups basmati rice or 300 grams basmati rice
  • 4 to 5 whole black pepper
  • 1 star anise (chakriphool)
  • 1 inch cinnamon
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 green cardamoms
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 1 large tej patta or 2 small to medium tej patta (Indian bay leaf)
  • 2 single strands of mace
  • 5 cups water
  • ¾ to 1 teaspoon salt or add as required

For birista

  • 250 grams onions or 2 large onions or 2 cups thinly sliced onions
  • 7 tablespoon oil

For vegetable gravy

  • 1 teaspoon shahjeera (caraway seeds)
  • 1 inch cinnamon
  • 4 green cardamoms
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 single strands of mace
  • 2 all spice (kabab chini) – optional
  • 1 large tej patta or 2 small to medium tej patta (indian bay leaf)
  • 1 tablespoon Ginger Garlic Paste or 1 inch ginger and 9 to 10 medium sized garlic crushed to a paste in mortar-pestle
  • 1 green chili – chopped
  • 250 grams tomatoes or 3 medium to large tomatoes or 1.25 cups tomatoes
  • 300 grams potatoes or 4 medium potatoes or 1.5 cups diced potatoes
  • 2 to 3 medium or small to medium carrots or 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/3 cup fresh or frozen peas – tightly packed
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon Coriander Powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon Garam Masala
  • 4 to 5 prunes (dried plums) – optional
  • ½ cup Curd (yogurt)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt or add as required

For layering bombay biryani

  • ½ tablespoon chopped mint leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves
  • ½ tablespoon Ghee
  • 1 to 2 teaspoon kewra water (pandanus extract) – optional
  • a few drops of natural orange or yellow color – (optional)
  • ½ cup birista or fried onions

Instructions
 

Preparing rice

  • Rinse basmati rice very well in water. Soak the rice in enough water for 30 minutes.
  • When the rice is soaking, chop all the veggies and keep aside. Take all the spices and keep aside.
  • After 30 minutes drain the water from the rice.
  • Heat 5 cups of water in a pan and bring to a boil on medium to high heat.
  • Add the whole spices or garam masala mentioned under 'For the rice' list.
  • Then add the rice. Season with salt.
  • Add lemon juice.
  • On the same flame intensity, simmer the rice till the grains ¾th cooked.
  • Drain the cooked rice in a colander and keep aside.

Making birista

  • Heat oil in a pan. Add thinly sliced onions.
  • Stir and stirring often saute the onions till they turn golden. Add a pinch of salt to hasten the cooking process.
  • Stir often and saute till the onions become golden.
  • Remove the crisp fried onions or birista with a slotted spoon and place on kitchen paper towels. From 2 cups of sliced onions, you will get about 1 cup of birista. We will use ½ of the birista in the gravy and the remaining half in the layering.

Making vegetable gravy

  • In the same pan, add the whole spices for the gravy.
  • Stir and saute till the spices become fragrant.
  • Now add diced or chopped potatoes and carrots. Stir well.
  • Saute the potatoes and carrots for 5 to 6 minutes.
  • With a spoon, bring them to the sides and add 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste. Saute the ginger-garlic paste in the same place till the their raw aroma goes away.
  • Now add 1.25 cups chopped tomatoes.
  • Stir and mix very well.
  • Add the spice powders – turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, cumin powder and garam masala powder. Also add prunes or dried plums if you have them. About 4 to 5 dried plums. Stir and saute for a minute.
  • Add ⅓ cup tightly packed fresh or frozen green peas. Stir.
  • Now add ½ of the birista or fried onions.
  • Season with salt and stir again.
  • Add 1 cup water.
  • Stir very well. Cover and cook on a medium heat till the veggies are cooked. You can also use a stovetop pressure cooker for the cooking of the veggies. Just add less water, about ⅔ to ¾ cup if cooking veggies in a stovetop pressure cooker.
  • The veggies have to be cooked well but should retain their shape. The gravy should also thicken and should not be of watery consistency.
  • Whisk ½ cup fresh curd (yogurt) in a bowl till smooth and keep aside.
  • Once the veggies are done, place the pan down and add ½ cup beaten or whisked curd (yogurt).
  • Stir and mix very well. Check the taste and add more salt if required. Keep this vegetable gravy aside.

Layering and cooking bombay biryani

  • I cooked the biryani in the oven. You can also cook in a thick bottomed pan or pot or even in a dutch oven. Pour half of the vegetable gravy in the pan or pot.
  • Layer evenly with the cooked rice.
  • Sprinkle ¼ tablespoon of chopped mint leaves and ½ tablespoon of chopped coriander leaves.
  • Now sprinkle ¼th portion of the fried onions evenly.
  • Again make a second layer of the vegetable gravy evenly.
  • Spread a third layer of the rice.
  • Top up with the remaining chopped mint, coriander leaves and fried onions. Also add kewra water.
  • Dot with ghee. You can also sprinkle some natural color if you want.
  • Cover tightly with a foil. Bake the biryani at 180 degrees celsius for 30 to 35 minutes. 
  • If dum cooking on a stove top, then also you can cover with a foil or with a moist kitchen towel. Place the pan on a hot tava/griddle. On a low to medium flame dum cook the veg biryani for 30 to 35 minutes.
  • Allow the bombay biryani to stand for some minutes. Then serve this aromatic and spiced bombay biryani with your favorite raita or plain yogurt.
  • It makes for a filling and satisfying lunch or dinner.

Notes

  • You can add your choice of veggies.

Nutrition Info (Approximate values)

Nutrition Facts
Bombay Biryani | Mumbai Biryani
Amount Per Serving
Calories 547 Calories from Fat 207
% Daily Value*
Fat 23g35%
Saturated Fat 4g25%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 17g
Cholesterol 7mg2%
Sodium 881mg38%
Potassium 807mg23%
Carbohydrates 77g26%
Fiber 7g29%
Sugar 11g12%
Protein 9g18%
Vitamin A 5021IU100%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 1mg67%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 1mg59%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 3mg15%
Vitamin B6 1mg50%
Vitamin B12 1µg17%
Vitamin C 30mg36%
Vitamin D 1µg7%
Vitamin E 9mg60%
Vitamin K 19µg18%
Calcium 126mg13%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 49µg12%
Iron 3mg17%
Magnesium 68mg17%
Phosphorus 191mg19%
Zinc 2mg13%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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This Mumbai Biryani post from the archives (May 2015) has been republished and updated on 29 September 2021.

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Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

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36 Comments

  1. Can I powder the spices and add to the boiling water while cooking rice? Whole spices in the mouth is always a spoiler for me 🙁

    1. pavithra, don’t powder the spices. you can make a potli/bouquet garni, where you tie the spices in a small muslin cloth and then cook.

  2. Hi dassana ji!
    Thank you so much fr the wonderful recipe.I m a huge fan of u.i m learning cooking and ur site s really vry useful and helpful fr me.I tried many of ur recipes and It went superb!Thank you once again fr giving useful site.
    and I have a doubt what is kewra water?I didn’t hear about this can u pls tell me the details about it?

    1. thanks nisha. kewra is a fragrant plant. kewra water is made from the flowers of kewra. kewra leaves as whole are also added in kheers or in biryanis.

  3. hi Dear Dassana & Amit
    me kaal biryani banawleli, ti khup tasty n masta zaleli,
    aamchya ghari maze pappa ch nehmi biryani banawtat, bt first time me banawli aani saglyanna aawadali,
    thank u.
    tumcha blog mazi hobby zalay, jewha pn me net on karte first tumcha blog baghte n new recipe search karte,,
    thanks a lotttttttt……… 🙂5 stars

    1. thanks again rupesha. changla watla tuhja comment pahun. thanks again.

  4. hello dassana,
    the recipe was huge hit…my kids loved it..but they demanded the side gravy served in the restaurant along with biryani..
    pls share the shorba((as we say it))) recipe pls5 stars

    1. thanks a lot shreeda. i do plan to add the side gravy soon. i make it often with pulaos or jeera rice 🙂

  5. Hi d,loved this recipe of yours.can you tell me what wrack to keep this biryani to baking.i assume it is the centre rack.i will soon try this recipe.