Leftover Biryani : Sunday Fridge Manager

Leftover Biryani : Sunday Fridge Manager, Papyrofix
I like to make lists of things I want to buy before I go to a supermarket. I spend hours in the entire week wondering what I want and what I need (for those two dimensions are almost always mutually exclusive). The what I need part is boring and compulsory. But the what I want section is an endless parade of imagination running wild.

I shall henceforth term myself a food blogger. I was initially shy of the term, because I felt that it created too much pressure on me. I didn’t think I was that serious about it and I certainly am a novice at many levels. But, it is now my prerogative. I shall no longer shy from destiny.

Now, back to my supermarket rant! So, basically, no matter how many lists I make, I end up spending a good part of my measly stipend on all manners of groceries and kitchen tools that I often don’t end up using. This frequently results in my fridge being full of dying fruits and vegetables that need to be put in a pan or they are going straight into the bin (and what a waste that would be!).

Therefore, I came up with an easy solution- just make left overs biryani!

Yes, I do know that biryani making is an art form. But as they say, all invention was born out of laziness (not necessity). And let’s face it, you need a weekly biryani dose!

I know that the biryani orthodox aristocratic sect will hate me for this version, and some may even call it vegetable pulao (sighs in horror), but the heart wants what it wants, so let’s get into it!

I start off by chopping the holy trinity of indian cuisine- onion, ginger and garlic. Add to the mix some chopped green chilies and stir-fry in ghee (or clarified butter for you posh people). Once the onions are brown and almost crispy, add in some spices. I used dry coriander powder, dry fenugreek leaves, red chili powder, turmeric, garam masala and amchur powder (dry raw mango powder). Mix well and cook the spices for 3 to 5 minutes till they are toasted and fragrant. I often add water to the pan after so that the spices don’t burn and a sort of gravy is formed to coat all vegetables evenly. I strongly suggest against using vegetable stock here. It does no good and it really interferes with the taste of the spice blend (which is very basic and clean anyhow).

I had some old mushrooms (to the level that they would grow fungus on fungus any day, disgusting, but I saved their fate), frozen beans, broccoli, and carrots. I cut these up into chunks and placed them in the pot all together. Once the spice mix had covered my vegetables beautifully  (the water really helps here), I covered the pot with a lid and turned the heat to low. I let this simmer and cook for another 10 minutes.

In the meantime, I cooked a mixture of white basmati and wild rice. Once done, I ran a fork through the grains to fluff them up. For an added flavor, I steeped some saffron strands in a tablespoon of lukewarm milk and rippled it through the rice. While some of my rice still retained the pearly white colour, some was coloured a beautiful golden yellow.

In a baking dish (I used a mini cake tin here, but if you have a glass oven-proof dish, go for it), I layered up the rice and vegetables. I put this in the oven at 180°C for 15 minutes to broil so that the rice would get slightly crispy on top and the flavours would get some more time to amalgamate.

In the mean time, I roasted papad (straight from the Haldiram’s zipper pouch my mother sent as her love) and whipped together a fresh mint raita.

My Sunday heaven was ready! And the best part is- my fridge was all clean!

Now, before I move on to the methodological description of the recipe (which I’m not sure this classifies as because it really is a free for all dish), I want to give a shout out to the people at Papyrofix for offering to host my recipe blogs on their webpage. As always, do share pictures, you experiences and thoughts if you end up trying this recipe (or not)!

LEFTOVERS BIRYANI (servers 2 hungry people):


  • 1 cup white basmati rice
  • ½ cup wild rice
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 1 pinch fenugreek leaves
  • 2 cups chopped assorted vegetables
  • 1 heaped tsp dry coriander powder
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp amchur (dried mango) powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, minced
  • green chilies chopped, to taste
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1 pinch saffron strands


  1. Cook the rice by using a 1:2 rice to water ratio.
  2. Once cooked, fluff the rice with a fork and lightly stir in the saffron infused milk.
  3. Heat the ghee in a heavy bottom pot and cook the onion, ginger, garlic and chili in it till golden brown.
  4. Add all spices in an cook till they are fragrant. To avoid burning them, add ½ cup of warm water to the pot and create a spice gravy.
  5. Add the vegetables to the pot, mix and coat well with the spices. Simmer for 10 minutes or until they vegetables are cooked through.
  6. In an oven-safe dish, begin by layering the rice and then the vegetables. Make as many layers as your dish an ingredients permit, with the final one being of rice.
  7. Bake at 180°C for 15 minutes in a pre-heated oven.
  8. Remove and serve piping hot!
As a serving suggestion, do plate it up with the raita and papad.

This post is written by our friend Charu Gupta from  www.foodiecharu.blogspot.de  ,
You can also follow her at Instagram, she goes by @TheIndianFoodExplorer.