cauli rice biryani recipe


The bland taste of cauliflower makes it the ideal canvas for creating different flavour sensations. My personal favourite being Amma‘s cauliflower and pea curry. I have to admit I was much less accepting of cauliflower as a substitute for pasta during childhood. My older sister once made cauliflower in white sauce, let’s just say that the taste of that dish left a lasting impression! Since then cauliflower has become my favoured substitute as a guilt-free alternative to high carb foods like pasta and rice. Cauli rice is even perfect for making a Durban style biryani! I have made several attempts at making cauli rice biryani, using ‚traditional‘ biryani cooking methods. The result was unsatisfactory often soggy cauli rice. This is my lastest recipe, which I am pleased enough to share. I opted for a cauliflower cauli biryani, it can be adapted to make meat biryani or use a combination of vegetables to make different flavoured biryani. No Durban biryani is complete without black lentils I also added peas to this dish.

cauli rice biryani recipe

For this cauli rice biryani, I microwaved the cauli rice then added to
the sauce component of the biryani. Alternatively, you could steam the
cauli rice on the stove. For the sauce I used my homemade biryani spice mix the recipe can be found in my chicken biryani post.

cauli rice biryani recipe

How to Make Cauli Rice

The first step to making this Biryani is to prepare the cauliflower. I used a large cauliflower head, using ¾ for the cauli rice and the rest cut into large florets.

how to make cauli rice

To make the cauli rice  I cut the cauliflower into large pieces then placed in a food processor for a minute or two to achieve the desired grain texture. Don‘t make the cauliflower too fine otherwise it will end up too mushy,

To steam, the cauli rice simply microwave for 10 minutes at 900w. This cauli rice can be used to make biryani or served as a side dish with curry.

cauli rice

How to Make Cauli Rice Biryani

To prepare cauli rice for biryani, follow the instructions above. Remove the cauli rice from the microwave. Add a teaspoon of turmeric for the yellow colour. Mix to combine then set aside while you prepare the sauce for the Biryani.

cauli rice biryani

To prepare the sauce component. Fry onions, ginger garlic and chillies until soft then add biryani spice and masala of choice. I used my blend of  Durban masala. Add grated tomatoes and black lentils. Simmer then add large chunks of cauliflower. Cook until the cauliflower is soft then add peas. Cover with the cauli rice, allow simmering on low heat for 5 minutes until the liquid bubbles through the cauli rice. Remove from stove, gently fold to combine the cauli rice and sauce.

Cauli Rice Biryani Recipe

Cauli Rice Biryani Recipe

Cauli Rice Biryani Recipe



Prep time

15 Min

Cook time

40 Min

Total time

55 Min

This easy cauli rice biryani is a guilt-free biryani perfect for meatless Monday.


  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • 2 tablespoons biryani spice
  • 1 tablespoon Durban masala
  • 1 cup yoghurt
  • 1 whole onion
  • 2 shallots
  • 2 green chillies
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger and garlic
  • 4 tablespoons ghee or (oil of choice)
  • 2 ripe tomatoes (to be peeled and grated)
  • half a cup of coriander
  • 1 cup of pre-cooked black lentils
  • half a cup of peas or vegetable of choice
  • 1/2  cup of water


  1. Prepare the biryani spice by combining ingredients in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Set aside
  2. Prepare the cauliflower. Use ¾ to make the cauli rice and the rest for the sauce.
  3. Set aside the cauliflower for making cauli rice. Cut the remaining cauliflower into large or medium pieces. Place in a bowl with the yoghurt. Sprinkle with half a teaspoon of biryani spice and a teaspoon of masala. Combine then cover and set aside.
  4. Make the cauli rice by placing cauliflower in the food processor. Pat dry and make sure not to remove any excess water. Pulse until the desired texture is achieved. Alternatively prepackaged cauli rice.
  5. Steam in the microwave for 10 minutes on 900 W or steam on the stove for 10-12 minutes.
  6. Remove from microwave or stove. Add a teaspoon of turmeric powder. Mix to combine, set aside and prepare the sauce component.
  7. Heat a pan or heavy-based pot on medium heat. Add ghee or oil.
  8. Fry the onions. Add ginger and garlic and green chillies. Fry until soft. Add powdered spices. Fry for a minute or two.
  9. Add grated tomato. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add lentils and large cauliflower pieces in yoghurt. Add half a cup of water and allow to simmer for 15 -20 minutes until most of the water has evaporated leaving a thick sauce. At this stage add peas.
  10. Cover the sauce with cauli rice and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
  11. Remove from heat then gently fold until combined.
  12. Serve warm, ideally with a carrot salad and dhal. Enjoy!



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