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Indian Rice and Curry Casserole (Chana and Saag Biryani)
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5 from 10 votes

Cauliflower Biryani

This traditional Cauliflower Biryani is one of my favorite vegetable curry recipes! It's made with chickpeas, brown basmati rice, and quinoa for a well balanced and tasty vegetarian meal, full of Indian spices!
Prep Time45 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 282kcal
Author: Anjali Shah


  • 2 large tomatoes diced
  • 1 red onion 1/2 diced and 1/2 thinly sliced
  • 3-5 fresh green chiles (such as Thai or Serrano) stemmed and seeded
  • 1.5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp salt (more to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 cup brown basmati rice
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 8 oz baby spinach
  • 1 head cauliflower cut into florets
  • 1 15oz can chickpeas rinsed & drained
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp saffron


  • Bring two cups water to a boil. Once it's boiling, add in brown rice, quinoa, and 1/2 tsp saffron threads. Stir and lower heat (to lowest setting) and let the rice mixture cook.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Puree tomatoes, chopped onion and chiles to taste in a food processor, scraping down the sides as needed, to make a smooth sauce.
  • Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add raisins and cashews and cook, stirring, until the raisins are plump and the nuts are lightly brown, 1 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
  • After you take out the raisins/cashews, add about 2-3 tsp oil in the skillet. Add cumin seeds, cardamom pods, bay leaves and cinnamon sticks to the pan and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the sliced onion and cook, stirring, until light brown, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Pour in the pureed tomato mixture (it may spatter) and reduce heat to medium. Stir in garam masala, 3/4 teaspoon salt and turmeric. Simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid evaporates, about 15 minutes.
  • Stir spinach, cauliflower, chickpeas and up to 1 cup water into the tomato sauce. Cover and remove from the heat.
  • Lightly coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  • Spread half the chickpea curry evenly in the prepared baking dish. Spread the rice mixture on top of the curry. Spoon the remaining chickpea mixture over the rice. Scatter the reserved raisins and cashews over the top. Cover with foil. Bake until the rice is tender, ~35 min. Remove the bay leaves, cardamom pods and cinnamon sticks before serving.


Top Tips for Making Cauliflower Biryani
  • Check that your spices aren't stale so you get maximum flavor out of them.
  • Cut back on the oil - you really don't need more than the one and a half tablespoons in this recipe.
  • Try adding some bell peppers in if you have any in your fridge for extra veggies!
  • The leftovers taste amazing - just store them in the fridge and gently reheat them!
  • You can use any grain as the base of this dish. I used brown rice + quinoa, but you can use barley, millet, couscous, farro - or any whole grain you love!


Calories: 282kcal | Carbohydrates: 45.7g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 8.3g | Saturated Fat: 1.2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4.3g | Sodium: 684.7mg | Potassium: 981.6mg | Fiber: 9.4g | Sugar: 7g