My Favorite American Holiday

Twenty years ago, when I moved to the US, I embraced a new tradition: Thanksgiving. It has undoubtedly become my favorite American holiday, and I eagerly anticipate its celebration each year. What I cherish most about it is that it’s not a religious holiday but rather a thoughtful one, centered around gratitude and spending time with loved ones. Thanksgiving is a day to pause and reflect, to count our blessings, and, of course, to indulge in my favorite topic: food! This Thanksgiving, the food menu I’ve designed will be showcasing the bounty of the season through my gorgeous and delicious Roasted Root Vegetables Biryani!

Roasted Root Vegetables Biryani

My Thanksgiving Table 

Every year, even before Halloween comes to an end, I find myself already contemplating the menu for the grand holiday dinner. As you may know, my Thanksgiving table doesn’t feature a turkey as its centerpiece. Instead, it offers a delightful fusion of Indian-American cuisine, blending flavors from both traditions. At the heart of it all is the Indian-style whole roast tandoori chicken. Alongside this, you’ll find the quintessential American classic: pecan pie (whether homemade or from our favorite store). The table also boasts an array of appetizers and side dishes that celebrate the season’s abundance, featuring ingredients like butternut squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, apples, and more.

Roasted Root Vegetables Biryani

Highlighting Root Vegetables

When I began contemplating this year’s menu, I had a vision of highlighting my favorite root vegetables – carrots, potatoes, beets, parsnips, and more. These veggies are in their prime during this season and are quintessentially Thanksgiving. While I usually incorporate them into the meal, often placing them beneath the tandoori-marinated chicken on the roasting rack, this time I wanted to bring them to the forefront. Thus, the idea of creating a Roasted Root Vegetables Biryani was born! I was aiming for a hearty and comforting vegetarian dish to complement the tandoori chicken, and what better choice than this flavorful layered rice dish?

Roasted Root Vegetables Biryani

Roasted Root Vegetables Biryani 

I had a vision for my showstopper side dish and decided to plan and test the recipe ahead of the big holiday dinner. My approach was straightforward: I used my deconstructed biryani recipe to prepare the individual components, including the rice, roasted veggies, and the base masala sauce, before bringing them all together in one pot.

I conducted a dry run of my execution plan by developing and testing the recipe in advance to ensure a smooth execution on the main day. First, I cooked the basmati rice in the Instant Pot. While the rice was cooking, I prepared a colorful array of root vegetables by cutting them into 2” x 0.5” sticks. These included mini carrots in orange, purple, and yellow, sweet potatoes, parsnips, beets, and Yukon gold potatoes. I tossed them in a mixture of oil and Greek yogurt, seasoned with biryani masala, and roasted them to perfection in the oven. Simultaneously, I created the base sauce by caramelizing sliced onions and combining them with tomatoes and biryani masala. This sauce would serve as the flavorful foundation for the dish.

Roasted Root Vegetables Biryani

Once all the individual components were ready, it was a simple matter of combining them. I brought them all together by tossing the roasted veggies with the base masala sauce and layering the rice on top. It might sound like a lot, but the process flowed smoothly, and the result was worth the effort. Let’s take a closer look, shall we? I have outlined step-by-step details below that you can follow and easily whip up this signature concoction in your own kitchen. 

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon

Roasted Root Vegetables Biryani


  • Author: Vasanti
  • Yield: 68 Servings 1x

Ingredients

Scale

For the Rice Layer

  • 2 cups (400 g) uncooked extra long grain basmati rice (see Notes)
  • 34 black peppercorns
  • 12 cinnamon barks
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 12 cloves
  • 1 green cardamom
  • 1 tsp neutral oil
  • salt, to taste
  • 4 cups (960 ml) of water, divided

For the Roasted Root Vegetables Layer (see Notes and Variations)

  • 3 mini carrots, preferably different colors about 44.5 inches long, peeled and cut into 2 x 0.5 inch long sticks
  • 1 sweet potato, about 2 inch diameter and 4-4.5 inches long, peeled and cut into 2 x 0.5 inch long sticks
  • 1 parsnip, about 2 inch diameter and 4-4.5 inches long, peeled and cut into 2 x 0.5 inch long sticks
  • 2 small Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 2 inch long wedges
  • 1 small red beet, cut into 2 inch long wedges

For the Marinade

  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) of Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) neutral oil
  • 2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 2 tsp Flavz Spices biryani masala or any other brand of your choice (see Notes)
  • salt, as needed

For the Base Masala Sauce

  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp neutral oil
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 medium tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 2 tsp Flavz Spices biryani masala or any other brand of your choice (see Notes)
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) of water
  • 1012 springs of cilantro/ coriander, chopped

Instructions

Cooking the Rice

  • Start by cooking the rice first. Extra long grain basmati rice is recommended for biryani.
  • Rinse the rice in a fine mesh sieve under cold tap water until the water runs clear.
  • Transfer to a stainless steel pot-in-pot container, if you have one. If not, you can directly cook it in the inner pot of the Instant Pot.
  • Add 2 cups of water, the whole spices, salt and oil to the rice. It is not necessary to stir.
  • Add the remaining 2 cups of water to the inner pot of the Instant Pot and place the trivet. Place the container with the rice and water over the trivet.
  • Close the lid with the vent in the sealing position. Cook on “Rice” mode for the default 12 minutes.
  • When the cooking is complete, allow the pressure to release naturally—which will take 10 to 12 minutes—and then open the lid. Let the rice cool naturally while the other components get ready.
  • Alternatively, you can also cook the rice along with the whole spices, salt and oil mixed with 4 cups of water in a pot over the stove by bringing it to a boil and then simmering covered for 15-20 mins till the rice is cooked completely.

Roasting the Root Vegetables

  • While the rice cooks, roast the root vegetables. Preheat the oven to 400 °F (200 °C)
  • In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the Marinade well.
  • Toss the prepared root vegetable sticks, making sure they are all evenly coated.
  • Transfer the prepared vegetables to a nonstick aluminum foil lined baking sheet.
  • Roast in the oven for 25-30 mins, tossing them half way through.

Making the Base Masala Sauce

  • While the vegetables roast in the oven, make the base masala sauce.
  • Heat 2 tbsp (30 ml) of oil in a heavy bottomed, oven friendly pot or a Dutch oven.
  • Transfer the sliced yellow onions to the hot oil. Sprinkle some salt to help the onions soften quickly.
  • Sauté the onion for 10-12 mins, stirring frequently, until it is golden brown.
  • Reserve about 1/3 cup of the fried onions for garnishing
  • Add the sliced tomatoes to the pot with the remaining fried onions along with the ginger-garlic paste.
  • Stir the ingredients to combine well. Deglaze the bottom of the pot by scraping it with the wooden spoon and continue sautéing for 4-5 mins.
  • Sprinkle the biryani masala, season with salt and add 1/4 cup (60 ml) of water.
  • Mix well and simmer covered for 8-10 mins.

Assembling the Biryani

  • While the sauce simmers, take the roasted veggies out of the oven.
  • Turn the oven temperature down to 250 °F (120 °C).
  • Turn the heat under the pot with the base masala sauce off.
  • Transfer the roasted veggies along with 1/2 of the chopped cilantro.
  • Toss to combine well with the base masala sauce.
  • Pick the whole spices that have risen to the top of the cooked rice.
  • You can either reserve them for garnishing over the layered dish or discard them.
  • Gently fluff the rice and layer it in the pot over the roasted vegetables tossed in the base masala sauce.
  • Garnish with the reserved fried onions and whole spices, if reserved.
  • Cover the pot with the lid and transfer it to the oven with temperature reduced to 250 °F (120 °C).
  • Bake in the oven for 1 hour or until ready to serve.
  • To serve, transfer the rice layer onto one side of a serving platter and the vegetables layer onto the other side of the platter. Garnish with the remaining chopped cilantro/coriander. Serve warm along with a raita.

Step-by-Step Details

Step: 1

Start by cooking the rice first. Extra long grain basmati rice is recommended for biryani. Rinse the rice in a fine mesh sieve under cold tap water until the water runs clear.

Step: 2

Transfer to a stainless steel pot-in-pot container, if you have one. If not, you can directly cook it in the inner pot of the Instant Pot. Add 2 cups of water, the whole spices, salt and oil to the rice. It is not necessary to stir.

Step: 3

Add the remaining 2 cups of water to the inner pot of the Instant Pot and place the trivet. Place the container with the rice and water over the trivet. Close the lid with the vent in the sealing position. Cook on “Rice” mode for the default 12 minutes.

Step: 4

When the cooking is complete, allow the pressure to release naturally—which will take 10 to 12 minutes—and then open the lid. Let the rice cool naturally while the other components get ready. Alternatively, you can also cook the rice along with the whole spices, salt and oil mixed with 4 cups of water in a pot over the stove by bringing it to a boil and then simmering covered for 15-20 mins till the rice is cooked completely.

Step: 5

While the rice cooks, roast the root vegetables. Preheat the oven to 400 °F (200 °C)

Step: 6

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the Marinade well.

Step: 7

Toss the prepared root vegetable sticks, making sure they are all evenly coated.

Step: 8

Transfer the prepared vegetables to a nonstick aluminum foil lined baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 25-30 mins, tossing them half way through.

Step: 9

While the vegetables roast in the oven, make the base masala sauce. Heat 2 tbsp (30 ml) of oil in a heavy bottomed, oven friendly pot or a Dutch oven. Transfer the sliced yellow onions to the hot oil. Sprinkle some salt to help the onions soften quickly.

Step: 10

Sauté the onion for 10-12 mins, stirring frequently, until it is golden brown. Reserve about 1/3 cup of the fried onions for garnishing

Step: 11

Add the sliced tomatoes to the pot with the remaining fried onions along with the ginger-garlic paste.

Step: 12

Stir the ingredients to combine well. Deglaze the bottom of the pot by scraping it with the wooden spoon and continue sautéing for 4-5 mins.

Step: 13

Sprinkle the biryani masala, season with salt and add 1/4 cup (60 ml) of water.

Step: 14

Mix well and simmer covered for 8-10 mins.

Step: 15

In the meantime, take the roasted veggies out of the oven. Turn the oven temperature down to 250 °F (120 °C).

Step: 16

Turn the heat under the pot with the base masala sauce off.

Step: 17

Transfer the roasted veggies along with 1/2 of the chopped cilantro.

Step: 18

Toss to combine well with the base masala sauce.

Step: 19

Pick the whole spices that have risen to the top of the cooked rice. You can either reserve them for garnishing over the layered dish or discard them.

Step: 20

Gently fluff the rice and layer it in the pot over the roasted vegetables tossed in the base masala sauce.

Step: 21

Garnish with the reserved fried onions and whole spices, if reserved.

Step: 22

Cover the pot with the lid and transfer it to the oven with temperature reduced to 250 °F (120 °C). Bake in the oven for 1 hour or until ready to serve.

Step: 23

To serve, transfer the rice layer onto one side of a serving platter and the vegetables layer onto the other side of the platter. Garnish with the remaining chopped cilantro/coriander. Serve warm along with a raita.

Recipe FAQ’s and Notes

Which Brand of Rice should We use?

I highly recommend using extra long grain basmati rice from Royal, Dawat or India Gate brands that can be found in Indian grocery stores worldwide.

Biryani Masala?

Biryani masala is readily available in Indian stores or on Amazon or other online retailers. If you cannot find it, you can substitute it with the same amount of Garam Masala with 1 dried bay leaf, 3 to 4 petals of star anise, 1 pod of black cardamom and 4 to 5 black peppercorns added.

Recipe Variations

Not a fan of root vegetables?! Substitute with cauliflower florets and baby potatoes or cubed paneer along with large diced red onions and colorful bell peppers and follow the biryani recipe as is.

Happy cooking
Vasanti

What did you think?

Rate + Review

Leave a Message

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

Hi I’m Vasanti
…and I ❤️cooking ‘n clicking!!
I share a modern take on Indian cuisine made using nontraditional techniques and ingredients, while staying true to its authenticity. You’ll also find classic recipes from my beloved Maharashtrian culture and heritage.



Cookbook

Classic and Innovative Recipes for the Homecook

It's a Signature Concoction!


Roasted Root Vegetables Biryani

Ingredients

Instructions

FOLLOW ALONG ON INSTAGRAM @signatureconcoctions