Masoor Biryani

Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
40 mins

Lentils are a great substitute for kheema and are a filling addition to any meal. Rich with fibre and protein, this recipe is sure to please.


  • 2 cups masoor
  • 3 cups long grain rice
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 4 cloves
  • 3 green cardamoms
  • 8-10 peppercorns
  • 2 black cardamoms
  • 2 star anise
  • 4 medium onions finely chopped
  • 4 tomatoes grated
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
  • 2 tbsp coriander and mint paste
  • 2 tbsp any readymade biryani masala
  • 1 ½ tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 6 small potatoes, par boiled and cut into two
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • Salt to taste

For the layering:

  • 1 cup raisins soaked in water for 2 hours
  • 1 cup chopped fresh coriander
  • 1 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
    2 tbsp oil


Making the Masoor Gravy

  1. Start making this dish two days earlier if you want to make it more nutritious. For this, soak the masoor overnight and drain it in the morning. Keep this covered in a steel pot for it to sprout. Rinse it once in the evening if it hasn’t sprouted yet. It will be ready by evening or the next morning. If you don’t want to sprout the masoor, soak it for around 2 hours.
  2. Soak the raisins for 2 hours.
  3. Wash the rice and soak it for about an hour
  4. Wash the masoor and add 2 cups of water and ½ tsp salt, cover the pot and bring it to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and cook it for around 10 minutes till it is half done. Do not pressure cook masoor as it cooks fast and will get mashed.
  5. Heat the oil in a kadhai and add 2 bay leaves, the cloves, green cardamoms, pepper corns and onions. Sauté till the onion turns a golden brown and the spices have released their aromas.
  6. Add the ginger-garlic paste and sauté for a minute.
  7. Add the chilli powder and the turmeric powder and sauté for thirty seconds more.
  8. Add the tomatoes and mix everything well. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or till the tomatoes are cooked well and become very soft.
  9. Add the garam masala and mix it all well.
  10. Add the masoor, potatoes and one teaspoon of salt and cook for about 10 minutes. The masoor should be a thick consistency and not dry. If it is dry, you may need to add half a cup of water to it.

Preparing the rice

  1. Pour 2 cups of water in a thick-bottomed steel pot. Add the remaining bay leaves, star anise, black cardamom and 1 tsp of salt and boil. Add the washed rice and cook till all the water is absorbed and the grains are half-cooked.
  2. Pour a tablespoon of oil in a circular motion and loosen the grains gently with a fork so they do not stick to one another.

Layering the biryani

  1. Keep aside two tablespoons of the soaked raisins for garnishing while serving.
  2. In a wide thick bottomed steel pot put the gravy, sprinkle it with half the coriander and mint, and half of the raisins along with all the soaking liquid.
  3. Add three fourths of the rice on top of the gravy gently separating any lumps.
  4. Sprinkle the rest of the coriander, mint and raisins and cover it with the rest of the rice.
  5. Make three deep but narrow holes with a long spoon handle or a chopstick. The holes should almost touch the bottom of the pan. This is to allow the steam to rise to the top to allow all the rice to cook evenly.
  6. Cover the vessel and cook for 15-20 min on low heat. Check at around 10 minutes to ensure that it isn’t catching at the bottom of the pan. If it is, and the rice isn’t cooked, add half a cup of boiling water.
  7. Dish out the rice in a serving dish and spread the masoor gravy that is at the bottom of the pot on top of the rice.
  8. Garnish with the rest of the soaked raisins.
  9. Enjoy this with any Indian salad of your choice. Our choice is one with tomatoes, onions, coriander, green chilli, and lime juice.

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