side gravy for biryani pulao

shorba recipe for biryani and pulao with step by step pics – spiced tomato-onion based side gravy served with biryani and pulao.

i had got a few requests for sharing the side gravy that is served with biryani. usually when i make biryanis, i often make raita. but when i make pulao, i make this side gravy at times. as i feel its goes better with a pulao than a biryani. just a personal preference.

shorba is the indian term for soups. the consistency of this vegetarian shorba is thin, but not soupy. this gravy tastes very good, if you have vegetable stock. i had some vegetable stock in the fridge after making yakhni pulao. if you have homemade veg stock, then i would suggest to add it in the shorba. if not, then add water. i have made this recipe both with stock and water. however, with water the taste and flavors change somewhat but still tastes good.

this shorba recipe is a slightly spicy version as i was serving with veg pulao which is kind of bland in taste. for a less spicy gravy, just reduce the amount of green chilies and red chili powder. this is a thin gravy and hence accompanies a pulao or biryani very well. you can also serve with a simple peas pulao or potato pulao. you can also have it with jeera rice or even plain steamed rice.

side gravy for biryani or shorba recipe below:

shorba recipe for biryani
4.72 from 7 votes
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shorba recipe for biryani - side gravy recipe for biryani and pulao

shorba or sherva recipe - side onion-tomato gravy for veg biryani or pulao.
course side dish
cuisine hyderabadi
prep time 15 minutes
cook time 15 minutes
total time 30 minutes
servings 3 to 4
author dassana

ingredients (1 cup = 250 ml)

for ground paste:

  • 150 grams tomatoes or 3 medium tomatoes or 1 cup roughly chopped tomatoes
  • 50 grams onion or 1 medium onion or 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1 green chili or 1 teaspoon chopped green chili (hari mirch)
  • ½ inch ginger or 1 teaspoon roughly chopped ginger
  • 3 to 4 medium garlic cloves (lahsun) or 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoon grated fresh coconut or 2 tablespoon desiccated coconut
  • 1 tablespoon chopped mint leaves or chopped coriander leaves or half-half of both
  • 1 to 1.5 tablespoon water for grinding optional

other ingredients for shorba recipe:

  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • 1 tejpatta (indian bay Leaf)
  • 1 black cardamom (badi elaichi) - optional
  • 2 to 3 green cardamoms (hari elaichi or choti elaichi)
  • 1 inch cinnamon (dal chini)
  • 3 to 4 cloves (lavang)
  • 2 to 3 all spice (kababchini) - optional
  • 1 or 2 single mace strands (javitri)
  • 4 to 5 black pepper (sabut kali mirch)
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder (haldi)
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder (lal mirch powder) - reduce to ¼ teaspoon for a less spiced gravy
  • ½ teaspoon cumin powder (jeera powder)
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder (dhania powder)
  • 1 to 1.25 cups veg stock, preferred or substitute with 1 cup water
  • salt as required
  • a few chopped coriander leaves or mint leaves for garnish

how to make recipe?

making paste:

  1. in a grinder or blender, take the following ingredients - 1 cup roughly chopped tomatoes, 1/3 cup chopped onion, 1 tsp chopped green chili, 1 tsp roughly chopped ginger, 1 tsp chopped garlic, 2 tbsp grated fresh or desiccated coconut and 1 tbsp chopped mint or chopped coriander or half-half of both.

  2. grind without adding any water to a smooth paste. if unable to grind to a smooth paste, then add 1 to 1.5 tbsp water.

making shorba recipe:

  1. heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan. add the whole spices - 1 tejpatta, 1 black cardamom, 2 to 3 green cardamoms, 1 inch cinnamon, 3 to 4 cloves, 2 to 3 all spice/kababchini (optional), 1 or 2 single mace strands & 4 to 5 black pepper. 

  2. if you want you can even skip the black cardamom. though adding black cardamom does give its flavor to the curry.

  3. saute till the spices become aromatic.
  4. now add the ground tomato-onion paste. be careful as the mixture splutters. stir very well.
  5. then add 1/4 tsp turmeric powder, 1/2 tsp red chili powder (reduce to 1/4 tsp for a less spiced gravy), 1/2 tsp cumin powder, 1/2 tsp garam masala powder and 1 tsp coriander powder.
  6. stir the spice powders with the rest of the masala paste.
  7. stir and saute the masala till you see oil releasing from the sides of the paste. the mixture will also gather together and leave the sides of the pan.
  8. then add 1 to 1.25 cups vegetable stock. its preferable to add veg stock. if you do not have veg stock, then add water. if making for veg biryani, you can also parboil/boil the veggies that will be added to the biryani and then add this vegetable stock to the gravy.
  9. stir very well and season with salt.
  10. again stir and bring the curry to a simmer on a low to medium flame for 5 to 6 minutes or till you see specks of oil on top.
  11. garnish with chopped coriander or mint leaves. serve shorba with vegetable biryani or vegetable pulao.


how to make shorba or sherva gravy for biryani/pulao:

1. in a grinder or blender, take the following ingredients – 1 cup roughly chopped tomatoes, ⅓ cup chopped onion, 1 tsp chopped green chili, 1 tsp roughly chopped ginger, 1 tsp chopped garlic, 2 tbsp grated fresh or desiccated coconut and 1 tbsp chopped mint or chopped coriander or half-half of both.

ingredients for shorba or sherva recipe

2. grind without adding any water to a smooth paste. if unable to grind to a smooth paste, then add 1 to 1.5 tbsp water.

paste for shorba recipe or sherva gravy recipe

3. heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan. add the whole spices – 1 tejpatta, 1 black cardamom, 2 to 3 green cardamoms, 1 inch cinnamon, 3 to 4 cloves, 2 to 3 all spice/kababchini (optional), 1 or 2 single mace strands & 4 to 5 black pepper. if you want you can even skip the black cardamom if you do not like its aroma. though adding black cardamom does give its smoky flavor & aroma to the curry. this particular spice goes well with some folks and not so well with some.

making sherva recipe

4. saute till the spices become aromatic.

spices for shorba or sherva gravy

5. now add the ground paste. be careful as the mixture splutters.

making shorba recipe

6. stir very well.

making shorba recipe

7. then add ¼ tsp turmeric powder, ½ tsp red chili powder (reduce to ¼ tsp for a less spiced gravy), ½ tsp cumin powder, ½ tsp garam masala powder and 1 tsp coriander powder.

masala for shorba or sherva recipe

8. stir the spice powders with the rest of the masala paste.

making shorba or sherva gravy recipe

9. stir and saute the masala till you see oil releasing from the sides of the paste. the mixture will also gather together and leave the sides of the pan.

making shorba or sherva recipe

10. then add 1 to 1.25 cups vegetable stock. its preferable to add veg stock. if you do not have veg stock, then add water. if making for vegetable biryani, you can also parboil/boil the veggies that will be added to the biryani and then add this vegetable stock to the gravy.

water for shorba or sherva gravy

11. here we have added the entire vegetable stock.

making shorba or sherva gravy

12. stir very well.

making shorba or sherva gravy recipe

13. season with salt.

salt for shorba or sherva gravy recipe

14. stir and bring the curry to a simmer on a low to medium flame for 5 to 6 minutes or till you see specks of oil on top. switch off the flame.

making shorba or sherva gravy recipe

15. garnish with chopped coriander or mint leaves. serve shorba with vegetable biryani or vegetable pulao.

shorba recipe for biryani pulao




42 thoughts on “shorba recipe for veg biryani | side gravy recipe for veg biryani and pulao”

  1. Hi amit

    This is a really yummy one. Paired it with briyani for potluck. Can u plz post the one which is made up of peanuts
    Thank u

      1. I forgot to say this.. My 3 yr old daughter when she came out of her room said this “wow it smells so good .come on let’s eat daddy” .

  2. What is the dish called that you show in the pictures here, with the rice , peas, potatoes and looks like green beans? Is there a recipe for it on your site?

  3. Tried this recipe, was a super hit! Thnx Dassana. Btw, I dont know if I am looking at the wrong page, as the layout of your website has changed, I dont see anymore new recipes after the shorba recipe. Keep up the good work..

  4. Yumm. While browsing through the pics, I felt as if the aroma from shorba entered my room even 😛 ..

    I am definitely trying this for my non veg biriyani too. I am sure it will be awesome!

  5. Hi Dassana, I’m very bad at cooking. And I’m trying to work on it. In many of the recipes I’ve noticed them mentioning about grinding without adding any water to a smooth paste.

    Can I know what exactly is the reason behind not adding water while grinding?

    1. when you grind ingredients like onions or tomatoes, you need to add water. the juices in them is enough to grind them. there is no reason as such. only when you grind coconut, peanuts, sesame seeds, spices, then you need to add water.

  6. Hi Dassana, I m big fan of u, for each new recipe I look for ur method of doing, its really amazing. I tried thisShorbha recipe with lil variation, I have put all the spices in grinder with onion n tomatoes, I got lil bitter taste at the end, why is tat?

    1. oh no. you should have not ground the spices. the bitterness is due to one spice. it could be black cardamom or mace. just sauteing them in the oil is right in this recipe.

  7. Hello Dassana, just made a couple of your recipes, kaju katli, tava paneer and tondli bhat. They all turned to be excellent . I was specially nervous about kaju katli but it turned out to be fantastic. Very professional, the only thing missing was the wark which I don’t get here and as my daughter says looks like aluminum foil so did not miss that . Your attention to detail in the recipes is what makes then a winner and the fact that you assume zero knowledge on part of the reader which is good thing so all the steps are explained.

    Would appreciate if you could post some salad recipes, salads which make a meal so maybe include cous cous, quinoa .

    Thanks so much for your amazing website. You are doing great work
    Sorry I posting this comment here instead of the relevant recipes .

  8. Hi Dassana,

    Will try this shorba recipe soon. I’m sure it’ll be great. Want to request you to post the recipe of multigrain bread. Have you tried it?

    1. thanks neeti. i did make multi grain breads a couple of times, but some how i did not like the texture. thats why not added the recipe. i need to try a few more times till i get the soft texture and then i will add the recipe.

      1. Okay, thanks a lot! Will wait for the multigrain bread recipe as I know that once you post it, I can follow it with closed eyes (literally!)
        By the way, just finished a yummy meal of foccacia with cream of celery soup. Do I even need to add that both were your recipes? ? You’re the best, Dassana!

        1. thank you girl. but you know in a baking things can go wrong. still thank you again 🙂 a creamy vegetarian soup and any bread for that matter is my favorite combo.

  9. hello mam,
    thanx a ton for adding this recipe..i saw it yesterday only and without wasting time fixed menu biryani with this shorba as sunday dinner and obviously as always ur recipe was huge hit earning me lot of applause and most imp reward neatly finished plate of my kid…thank u

  10. Hi Dassana,

    I wanted to comment on black-forest cake,but there was no option to add comment to black-forest post. I made whipped cream twice but yesterday, while applying cream on cake cream started to melt. can you please suggest me what to do.

    1. no issues sruthi. was the cake warm when you spread the cream icing. the cake has to be at room temperature or cold (meaning refrigerated for a few hours). did the cream melt as if turning into butter or was it so smooth that is was flowing down the sides of the cake. if it was flowing, then the reason would be that the cream did not whip well. when you turn the bowl or hold the spatula with the whipped cream, it should not fall. there is nothing that can be done, if you have spread the cream on the cake. just refrigerate the cake and the cream will set a bit.

      1. Cake was hot, it was not at room temperature. I will wait till the cake comes to room temperature.

  11. Hello Mam

    Plz do tell how to make anjeer barfi from fruit not from dried fig as i have tree at my home but no one eat that fruit as it is….so i want to make barfi from that…..plz guide…..i am waiting eagrly…….

    1. i have never made anjeer barfi with fresh figs. but since i make barfi often. i can roughly give you the guidelines. rinse and then chop the fresh figs. heat ghee in a pan, add the chopped fresh figs and saute for 4 to 5 minutes on a low flame. then add grated khoya/mawa and sugar. add cardamom powder. stir and saute till the mixture begins to leave sides of the pan. don’t over cook as then the barfi hardens. collect the barfi mixture in a greased tray or plate. smoothen the top. sprinkle some sliced or chopped dry fruits (almonds, pistachios, cashews) from top. press them lightly on the barfi, so that the stick to the barfi. when the barfi cools, slice them. i cannot tell the exact measurements or quantities, as you will have to do it by andaaz. but roughly for 1 cup of chopped figs, you can consider taking 1.5 to 2 cups of grated khoya.

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