Diwali, Main Course, Rice
Comments 6

Awadhi Layered Biryani

Awadhi Layered Biryani

Awadhi Layered Biryani — with layers of flavorful mixed vegetables cooked in a rich yogurt gravy, rice, and aromatic saffron milk, this is a stunning centerpiece for any dinner spread! Inspired by Awadhi cuisine, this is a royal and decadent entree that is sure to be loved!


Awadhi Layered Biryani

Start by boiling your rice with whole spices, salt, and lemon.

Then for our mixed vegetable layer we’ll blend aromatics, mint cilantro, cashews, and poppy seeds into a paste. Heat some oil in a pan and add in your whole spices and onions and sauté a little. In goes our cashew and poppy seeds paste. Let this cool down and then add in some beaten yogurt and spices. Let this simmer until you see the ghee on top. Add in your veggies, paneer, and potatoes, along with a splash of milk for some creaminess to finish this off.

Now to assemble our biryani we’ll grease a cake tin and add a layer of our boiled rice. Make a saffron milk mixture with some ghee and rose and kewra essence and spoon this on top. Add a generous layer of our awadhi mixed vegetables. Top with mint and cilantro for some brightness and then some rice mixed with beetroot for that lovely pink color. Press this down and finish with a drizzle of that saffron milk.

Cover with foil to create a dum or seal that will help trap steam to cook the biryani. Once baked, carefully unmold onto a plate.

Garnish with gold varak and pomegranate and your Awadhi Layered Biryani is ready!

Serve with pistachio shrikhand like I have and enjoy!

If you like this, please try my other recipes:

5 from 2 votes
Awadhi Layered Biryani
Awadhi Layered Biryani
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
30 mins

Awadhi Layered Biryani — with layers of flavorful mixed vegetables cooked in a rich yogurt gravy, rice, and aromatic saffron milk, this is a stunning centerpiece for any dinner spread! Inspired by Awadhi cuisine, this is a royal and decadent entree that is sure to be loved!

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: festive
Custom Category: Diwali, Indian Main Course, Main Course, Rice
Servings: 8
Calories: 386 kcal
Author: Nidhi Bothra
  • 2 cups rice , soaked for 30 mins
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 inch cinnamon sticks
  • 2 green cardamoms
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 3 cloves
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 lemon juice and peel
  • 1 tbsp ghee , or use oil
  • 6 cups water
Cashew-Poppy Paste:
  • 1 1/2 inch ginger , roughly chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic , roughly chopped
  • 2 green chilies , roughly chopped
  • 8 mint leaves , roughly chopped
  • handful cilantro with tender stems , roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp cashews , soaked for 20 mins in warm water
  • 1 1/2 tbsp poppy seeds , soaked for 20 mins in warm water
  • 2 tbsp water , or as needed
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 bay leaves
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 2 cloves
  • 3 green cardamoms
  • 1 tsp shah jeera (cumin seeds)
  • 1 cup onions , finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cup beaten yogurt
  • 1 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp biryani masala
  • 1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp kasoori methi
  • 1/2 cup paneer , cubed
  • 1/2 cup carrots , chopped and boiled al dente
  • 1/2 cup green beans , chopped and boiled al dente
  • 1/2 cup cauliflower , florets boiled al dente
  • 1/2 cup potatoes , cut in circles and air-fried or fried
  • 1/4 cup milk , add more if needed
Saffron-Rose Milk:
  • 1/4 cup milk , warm
  • 1 1/2 tsp ghee
  • pinch saffron
  • 1/4 tsp rose water
  • 1/4 tsp kewra water
  • 8-10 mint leaves , torn
  • 2 tbsp cilantro , finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp beetroot , grated
  • pomegranate seeds
  • cilantro , finely chopped
  • almonds , finely chopped
  • pistachio , finely chopped
  • edible gold foil
Prepare Rice:
  1. Prepare rice by adding soaked rice (soak it for 30 mins) to boiling water with all the whole spices, lemon juice and peel (squeeze the lemon for the juice and also add the peel in water), and ghee. Let it cook. When rice is done, drain the water, discard all the whole spices and keep it aside. Make sure that the rice is just done and not too mushy.

Cashew-Poppy Paste:
  1. Grind your soaked poppy seeds and cashews with all the other ingredients and water to a smooth paste.

  1. In a pan on medium heat, add in your ghee, oil, bay leaves, black and green cardamoms, cloves, and shah jeera. Once the cumin starts crackling, add in your onions and saute until they turn translucent.

  2. Then, lower the flame and add in the cashew-poppy paste and saute for 2-3 minutes. Then, add 1/4 cup water and cook for at least 5-7 minutes until the oil separates.

  3. Mix red chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, biryani masala, kasoori methi, and 1/2 tsp all purpose flour (maida) to the beaten yogurt. Add this to the paste. Now cook it for 3-5 minutes while stirring continuously (this is important otherwise the yogurt will curdle) until it comes to a boil. Now, cover and cook on medium flame for 5-7 minute until the oil separates.

  4. Add in your paneer, boiled mixed vegetables, fried potatoes, salt, and milk. If you feel that the gravy is too thick, then add 2-3 tbsp water. Mix well and cook for 4-5 minutes until it all comes together, and switch off the gas. Don't overcook otherwise your vegetables will become mushy.

Saffron-Rose Milk:
  1. Mix saffron in warm milk with ghee, rose water, and kewra water. Set it aside.

  1. Divide the rice in two parts. We will keep one part plain. To the other part, mix in grated beetroot very gently to get a pink colored rice.

  2. Grease the serving dish with ghee. I used a bundt cake pan for my biryani.

    1st layer: Add a layer of white rice pressing gently. Sprinkle 2-3 tsp saffron-rose milk on it.

    2nd layer: Now spread the vegetables on top pressing gently so that it settles down nicely from all corners. Sprinkle mint and cilantro on top. Then, sprinkle 2-3 tsp saffron-rose milk on it.

    3rd layer: Add pink beetroot rice on top. Press gently from all sides so that it fits the mold nicely. Then spread the remaining saffron-rose milk on it.

  3. Now, apply dum to the biryani:

    Stovetop: Cover your serving dish with aluminum foil and press it tightly from all sides. Keep it on a heavy bottomed pan or tawa and cook at least 15-20 minutes on low to medium flame.


    Microwave: Microwave high for 3 minutes depending on the quantity of biryani.


    Oven: Cover your serving dish with aluminum foil and press it tightly from all sides. Bake it for around 15 minutes in an oven at 350℉/175℃. Make sure that you don't over bake otherwise the biryani will turn dry.

  4. When you’re ready to serve it, place a plate on top of the serving dish, flip it upside down and unmold the biryani on to the plate.

  5. Garnish with some pomegranate, cilantro, almonds, pistachios, and saffron. Your Awadhi Layered Biryani is ready! Enjoy it with some pistachio shrikhand.

Recipe Video

Nutrition Facts
Awadhi Layered Biryani
Amount Per Serving
Calories 386 Calories from Fat 144
% Daily Value*
Fat 16g25%
Saturated Fat 8g50%
Trans Fat 0.02g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 4g
Cholesterol 33mg11%
Sodium 685mg30%
Potassium 403mg12%
Carbohydrates 52g17%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 6g7%
Protein 10g20%
Vitamin A 1657IU33%
Vitamin C 14mg17%
Calcium 221mg22%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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  1. Nidhi
    Cannot put the Bundt cake pan in microwave so how long to bake it for? You didn’t mention. Also cannot but that pan on stove.
    Can you please share how to give dum to the biryani in the Bundt pan. Thanks
    The Biryani looks amazing and would love to try it!

    • Nidhi Bothra says

      Thanks! You can bake it in the oven at 350F/165C for around 15 mins. Just don’t over bake otherwise it will become dry. Also, you can easily put your Bundt cake pan on a heavy bottomed pan or tawa and then put that pan/tawa on gas.

  2. Ruchika says

    Thanks for the recipe but can we make it ahead of time and how to reheat at the time of serving?

    • Nidhi Bothra says

      Yes, you can make it in advance. Just apply the dum (step #3) at the time of serving.

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