Sweet Potato and Mushroom Biryani

Curry has been a mainstay of my diet for longer than I can recall. Indeed, the desire to know how to prepare a curry of my own is one of a number of things that helped nurture my love for cooking. In truth, making a good quality curry isn’t all that difficult. Though, there are a few golden rules one must adhere to if one’s curry is to impress. For instance, when making one’s own curry it is best to first toast the requisite spices, thus releasing their flavour. One must also remember to maintain a little patience, Rome was not built in a day and though your curry may be edible after 15 minutes, even one’s own mother would experience a growing sense of shame and disappointment if such a dish were to venture near her delicate taste buds. The longer a curry is cooked, the more time the flavour has to develop.

Unlike other varieties of curry a biryani requires very little effort on the part of the chef. Once the pot has entered the oven one is free to go about one’s day. This can be handy, particularly if one is in a rush; is there really much of a difference between a biryani and sticking a bag of chips in the oven? This recipe is truly delicious and if you have never attempted a biryani I urge you to do so. The way the flavours get absorbed into the rice is simply exquisite. Not only this, but since steam is an integral part of the cooking process flavours like cardamom work particularly well and give the dish a delicate fragrance.

What makes this dish particularly significant is the fact that it is the first dish I have cooked in the new kitchen. Not being able to cook for the past two or three weeks has been truly difficult, especially since it played such a major part in my life before the renovation. You have my sincerest apologies for depriving you of a number of delights which would otherwise have found their way onto the blog. Strictly speaking the kitchen is nowhere near finished yet; the cupboard doors are still being screwed on. However, the hob and oven are functioning and my photography table has been de-cluttered, so I’m more than happy.

Sweet Potato and Mushroom Biryani

Serves 4


• 400g basmati rice

• 2 medium sized carrots, roughly diced

• 1 fairly large sweet potato, cubed

• 125g button mushrooms, quartered

• 1 large onion, diced

• 750ml vegetable stock

• 1 tsp ground coriander

• 1 tsp ground cumin

• ½ tsp ground turmeric

• ½ tsp ground ginger

• ½ tsp cayenne pepper

• 1 tsp caraway seeds

• 5-6 cardamom pods

• A few good slugs of oil

• 1 lemon

• A handful of fresh coriander

• Salt and pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 220C. Put the sweet potato chunks into an oven dish, sprinkle them with a little cumin and ground coriander, followed by a little seasoning and oil. Cook them in the oven for around 15 minutes or until they begin to brown.

2. While the sweet potato is roasting start toasting the spices in a little oil, omit the cardamom for now. Add the onions and cook for 10 minutes. In a separate pan, fry the mushrooms until they have browned and lost some of their moisture.

3. When the sweet potato is ready tip it, followed by the onions and mushrooms, into a large oven pot. Add the rice, carrots, stock and cardamom pods at this point. Reduce the temperature of the oven to 200C and bake for 30 minutes. By this time the rice should have absorbed all of the stock, but if it isn’t quite tender enough add a little more stock and pop it back in the oven. Serve with a wedge of lemon and a sprinkling of fresh coriander.

Cost: One-pot dishes such as this tend to be extremely heart-warming and filling but also cheap, this biryani is no exception. You’ll find that this pot of food will go very far, yet it will only set you back £2.40. You never know, it may even stretch to five servings if accompanied by naan bread. Enjoy!


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83 comments on “Sweet Potato and Mushroom Biryani

  1. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial
    November 17, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    Oh that looks divine! A perfect dish to be cooking in an almost finished kitchen! I’ve never seen a vegetarian biryani before, so this is quite a treat, thank you!

    • frugalfeeding
      November 20, 2011 at 12:51 pm

      Absolutely, that’s why I chose it :D. Haven’t you?! Oh, you must try it.

  2. chabesquen
    November 17, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    This looks delicious!

  3. countrywoodsmoke
    November 17, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    This kind of dish was a mainstay from my vegetarian days, Indian vegetarian food is just wonderful. Glad to hear you’re back cooking in your kitchen. Looks like you have some new crockery too?

    • frugalfeeding
      November 20, 2011 at 12:51 pm

      It is, simply because all of spices work wonderfully with vegetables. None of this is new, but I try to take things out rarely so my readers don’t get bored 😀

  4. Arturo Féliz-Camilo
    November 17, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    Looks so yummy!

  5. spree
    November 17, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    Three cheers for the kitchen, and four for your curry!

    • frugalfeeding
      November 20, 2011 at 12:50 pm

      Is that four extra ones? Or just one more?

  6. Beth Moore
    November 17, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    That looks just fabulous! I understand your frustrations during your renovation, because I’m the office manager for a kitchen & bath remodeler across the pond. Congratulations on your almost-finished kitchen! : )

    I have a pouch of cardamom pods from my last venture into cooking Indian food (first & only time ever actually) when I made Murg Makhani. I’m going to try your recipe with just a few tweaks. I don’t care for mushrooms or caraway, and don’t have cayanne because I can’t handle heat in my food. I know. I’m whimpy, right? I wonder if cubed butternut squash might be a tasty substitute for the mushrooms?

    • frugalfeeding
      November 20, 2011 at 1:10 pm

      Thanks, I can’t wait for it to be properly finished. You may substitute anything for anything you like! But don’t hold back on the spices and make sure to follow the method 😀

  7. luxeonless
    November 17, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    Yum!! This looks healthier than any biryani I’ve ever met…I’ll try it for sure!

    • frugalfeeding
      November 20, 2011 at 1:09 pm

      Please do and be sure to let me know it turned out.

  8. ashkitty
    November 17, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    I am definately trying this over the weekend…I planed to make chicken biryani for my hubby…and this would be the perfect veggie healthy option for me ! Thanks for the post…adding you to my blogroll as well…quicker results when looking for new recipes !

    • frugalfeeding
      November 20, 2011 at 1:09 pm

      Awesome! I really hope you enjoy it. Thanks, so much.

  9. Brianne
    November 17, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    Dang. We have a biryani recipe on regular rotation in our house, but it cooks on the stove. Your version sounds splendid! I’ve been meaning to cook with sweet potatoes more often.

    • frugalfeeding
      November 20, 2011 at 1:08 pm

      Thanks! Stove, or ove, it doesn’t really matter. Oven just works a bit better for me and it keeps all the aromas in the same place.

  10. EmmaMT
    November 17, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    That’s so funny! I too have a half finished kitchen but mine is due to kitchen fitting nightmares- I’ve had handles customed out of masking tape for three months now!!!

    Anyway, I love curry and am definitely going to give this a go. It looks really deelish!

    • frugalfeeding
      November 20, 2011 at 12:50 pm

      Oh no :(. We have no handles yet, though they should be going on very soon. Let me know how it goes, it was so yummy.

  11. Flip's Foodie Files
    November 17, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    Great blog! Love your writing

  12. Bam's Kitchen
    November 17, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    Congratulations on your kitchen renovations as painful as it is, will be very nice when completed. I love the fact this is just a one pan dish and so many aromatic flavors. Take Care

  13. ceciliag
    November 17, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    I love it when i can put a dish in the oven to cook while i get on with other things!! c

    • frugalfeeding
      November 20, 2011 at 12:49 pm

      Me too, they also tend to taste the best this way 🙂

  14. Grace@ FoodFitnessFreshair
    November 17, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    Mm, mushrooms and sweet potatoes, definitely two of my favorite ingredients. And curry too. I bet this is absolutely delish!

  15. Juls
    November 17, 2011 at 11:37 pm

    I really love biriyanis and I like this vegetable option! Funnily, after going to India, I ate so much curry that for a decade my heart would sink at the sight or mention of a curry because I was so curried out! It was only this past year I’ve got back into curries after finding Madhur Jaffrey’s books! I’m glad the new kitchen is working out, not cooking for so long must have been so frustrating.

    • frugalfeeding
      November 20, 2011 at 12:48 pm

      I could never get enough of curry, I’m sure.

  16. trixfred30
    November 17, 2011 at 11:37 pm

    That looks a lot healthier than the creation i came up with for sweet potato

  17. sonnyspade
    November 18, 2011 at 12:50 am

    Nice pics and a beauty of a recipe, FF. Question, though: you call this a curry but I see no curry paste, powder or leaves in the ingredients.

    Am I lacking in my understanding of the strict definition of curry?

    Also, I am thinking of subbing Yukon Gold because I am not a huge fan of sweet potatoes. Will you look the other way or is that culinary homicide?

    • frugalfeeding
      November 20, 2011 at 1:08 pm

      Thanks! 😀 Well, the cumin etc forms the “curry powder”. All a curry powder is, is a mixture of ingredients like those. any potatoes are fine, don’t worry! I make a fine potato curry – it’s somewhere on this blog actually.

  18. movita beaucoup
    November 18, 2011 at 2:40 am

    Um, I hope you’re going to post pictures of the kitchen when it’s all done. Because I’m dying to see it!

    • frugalfeeding
      November 20, 2011 at 12:48 pm

      I don’t know… perhaps I shall 😀 It’s not going to be that spectacular, but it will be A LOT better than before.

  19. Just A Smidgen
    November 18, 2011 at 6:43 am

    I really would like to try this dish. I attempted a vaguely similar one that didn’t get blogged because it lacked depth of flavor. Now I know that I forgot to toast the spices!!! Thank you!

    • frugalfeeding
      November 20, 2011 at 12:46 pm

      Give it a go! Glad I could be of service 😀

  20. thecompletecookbook
    November 18, 2011 at 6:51 am

    Yay for a new kitchen – hope you will share more of it when it is finished.
    What an interesting and fabulous briyani – great combination of flavours.
    🙂 Mandy

    • frugalfeeding
      November 20, 2011 at 1:00 pm

      Thanks! I shall, when it is entirely finished, which won’t be yet.

  21. candicepeak
    November 18, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    Anything with sweet potato is a definite in my opinion. yummy!

  22. K. Ryan Henisey
    November 18, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    Yum! I can’t wait to try this. Growing up in rural California, it’s hard to find good curry.

    • frugalfeeding
      November 20, 2011 at 12:59 pm

      I bet it is, but you could change that, I’m sure.

  23. Megan
    November 18, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    You know, I honestly wouldn’t know the difference between a good curry and a bad one. The extent of my curry experience is local Indian restaurants and Spice Island’s rendition thrown into a rice dish. This biryani is going to find a place on our family meal plan over the course of the next 3 weeks…so look for a pingback and check back to see how it goes! Thanks for the great recipe

    • frugalfeeding
      November 20, 2011 at 1:06 pm

      You should learn, there is, in my opinion, a vast difference. I hope you enjoy it! Don’t hold back on the spices when you make it, my measures are rough – I just chuck them in.

  24. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide
    November 18, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    Very cool way to use sweet potatoes.

  25. promenadeplantings
    November 18, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    Yum Biryani, and a loevly choice of veggies too.
    But as you said, Rome wasn’t built in a day, or in the case of Biryani’s the Moghul Empire wasn’t built in a day 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      November 20, 2011 at 12:59 pm

      Oh yes. Well, I’m sure it wasn’t – no 😀

  26. baconbiscuit212
    November 18, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    This looks beautiful. I don’t think that I have ever made a biryani, and never thought it was so easy to do. The sweet potatoes look like a nice complement for the mushrooms too. Congrats on the new kitchen. It must feel good to be cooking again!

    • frugalfeeding
      November 20, 2011 at 12:57 pm

      Thanks! you should give it a go, they are SO simple. It does feel good, very good.

  27. Kristina
    November 18, 2011 at 11:49 pm

    This looks so appetizing! Love sweet potatoes, will have to try this! Will be a perfect hearty dish for cold and dark winter evenings! Thank you for sharing! 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      November 20, 2011 at 12:57 pm

      Thanks! I love them too, though I think they are an acquired taste.

  28. cityhippyfarmgirl
    November 19, 2011 at 4:53 am

    Happy cooking in the new kitchen!
    I love a biryani- lots of taste sensations going on.

    • frugalfeeding
      November 20, 2011 at 12:56 pm

      The flavour penetrate the rice so effectively. I can’t wait to get some more cooking done.

  29. Kay aka Babygirl
    November 19, 2011 at 6:46 am

    This Sweet Potato and Mushroom Biryani dish is new for me.. but I have to say it looks absolutely delicious. Amazing

    • frugalfeeding
      November 20, 2011 at 12:56 pm

      It was very yummy – why not try it 😀

  30. Amrita
    November 19, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    I love biriyani and great to see a vegetable biriyani recipe. I make mine in a pressure cooker. 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      November 20, 2011 at 1:03 pm

      Thank you! That’s a great idea, though I don’t have one and am not really that interested in getting one.

  31. Corina
    November 20, 2011 at 8:00 am

    Believe it or not I’ve never actually made a biryani but making curries was also one of the things that started me off on wanting to cook more and better. Definitely something for me to try soon.

    • frugalfeeding
      November 20, 2011 at 12:54 pm

      I believe it! Not that many people have. Let me know how it goes, if it goes 😀

  32. Chilli Ninja
    November 20, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    I love a good simple curry! This looks great and my mouth was watering reading your post. Have you ever tried a curry with brown rice? Not everybody’s taste but worth trying. Good luck with the kitchen re-furb.

    • frugalfeeding
      November 20, 2011 at 11:41 pm

      There is almost nothing quite as fine :D. I haven’t, but I do really like brown rice, so perhaps I shall. I don’t usually say what rice to put with a curry, if any… so people are generally free to choose 😛

  33. susiemaeday
    November 21, 2011 at 4:28 am

    Oh my stars! This looks and sounds heavenly!

  34. jacqueline
    November 21, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    Sweet potatos, mushrooms, curry, it sounds like a wonderful marriage of flavors. I’ve never heard of biryani so I can’t wait to try this myself!

    • frugalfeeding
      November 21, 2011 at 8:52 pm

      Oh it is, it was a very enjoyable curry. give it a go, not many people cook biryani.

  35. The Barefoot Indian
    November 21, 2011 at 10:47 pm

    This looks soo good! Who knew I’d have all of the ingredients I’d need to make a biryani right in my own kitchen! I would have never thought to combine them like this. Yum!

    • frugalfeeding
      November 21, 2011 at 11:43 pm

      Thanks! It was very yummy. Why not give it a go 🙂

  36. Simran S. & Stacie D.
    November 22, 2011 at 5:52 am

    Love the idea of a vegetarian biryani. Thanks for the inspiration…we always make chicken or lamb biryani

    • frugalfeeding
      November 22, 2011 at 8:07 pm

      No problem. I shall be trying a lamb one soon I hope.

  37. Nancy
    December 2, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    This looks delicious! I will have to give it a try. We love curry dishes, my husband is always asking me to make indian food, but I have yet to make it. You may have inspired me : )

    • frugalfeeding
      December 10, 2011 at 3:33 pm

      You should, it was lovely! I love it when people tell me that I have inspired them.

  38. Julie
    January 30, 2012 at 4:04 am

    Yum! This looks so delicious. I don’t use much curry in my cooking, but I should. I love all of the autumn recipes, just lovely!!

    • frugalfeeding
      February 5, 2012 at 5:31 pm

      Oh you should – curry is simply incredible.

  39. Dave
    July 9, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    Hi, can I ask a question? Actually 2… 1) Lid on or off the pot when cooking? 2) How would you adjust this for brown rice?

    • frugalfeeding
      July 9, 2012 at 9:27 pm

      Hi! I don’t think it really matters as long as a) the rice doesn’t stick and b) you keep an eye on it. You’ll have to add more water with it off, but it’s safer. Just cook for a little longer with brown rice.

  40. applebum00
    September 9, 2017 at 8:31 pm

    This dish is delicious!! It’s so easy and has a sweetness to it with lovely bright yellow rice it’s my go-to dish that I can take to work for a few days in a row and you could add a protein and some greens and you will NEVER tire of this dish!

  41. applebum00
    September 9, 2017 at 8:36 pm

    The thing I did differently is i added the roasted sweet potato chunks in the finished dish at the very end as i didn’t want them to be sloppy & mushy after being cooked in the water after roasting. You HAVE to try this dish its the best rice and is so easy !

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