While rice pilaf makes the perfect accompaniment for curries, stews and grilled meats or fish, this biryani recipe is also great comfort food eaten on its own. You can use chicken or fish stock for the rice or make a quick vegetable stock for a vegetarian version.






Skill level

Average: 3.8 (31 votes)


  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups basmati rice, soaked several times and rinsed well
  • 2 saffron strands
  • 1 litre (4 cups) chicken or vegetable stock
  • vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • 1 cup vermicelli pasta
  • parsley and cooked peas, to garnish

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Fry half the onion in oil in the bottom of a rice pan. When transparent, add the soaked and rinsed rice, saffron strands (or turmeric to substitute) and enough chicken stock - or vegetable stock if to be served with fish - to cook the rice as you normally would.

Cover and simmer until the rice is ready.

Meanwhile, deep-fry the remaining onion and vermicelli pasta till golden. Add a little water and simmer till cooked.

Serve the rice topped with onion and vermicelli, add parsley and cooked peas to garnish.