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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!


83 replies on “Sweet Potato and Mushroom Biryani”

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?

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 !

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.

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!

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.

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?

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.

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

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!

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.

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.

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 😛

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 : )

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?

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.

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!

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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