Vegetable Kofta Biryani with Spinach Gravy

spinach kofta biryani
I don’t remember when was the last time I made any elaborate dish at home. For last few months, it was just – cook for the sake of filling the stomach. Even the attraction of posting the recipe on the blog could not get me cooking anything special (Does 4 and 1/2 years of continuous non-stop blogging takes away the fun?).

Anyway, today I decided to make something elaborate. The first thing that came to mind was biryani. I am always a big biryani fan and somewhere during last couple of years, V caught up with me. A quick peek into the fridge and I decided to make this forgotten kofta biryani. Not sure why it was so neglected, it was one of our favorites. I thought of making it more healthy and more flavorful by adding some extra ingredients. Though it took about an hour to prepare and made a mess of my kitchen (the gravy splatters everywhere when cooking), it was totally worth. We had this, which in itself is a complete meal and a spicy buttermilk for lunch.
I am writing down the exact steps that I followed. So it is easier to make it fast and with minimum utensils.

Ingredients: For Rice:
1 cup basmati rice
2 cloves
1 cardamom
1 bay leaf

For Gravy:
1 cup spinach
1 big tomato
1 tea spn chopped ginger
1 tea spn chopped garlic
1 tea spn biryani masala (homemade or store bought)
4 green chillies
1/2 tea spn cumin seeds
1/2 cup onion

For Koftas:
1 cup boiled and mashed potatoes (about 2 potatoes)
1/4 cup grated carrot
1/4 cup finely chopped capsicum
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 tea spn red chilli powder
1/2 tea spn amchoor powder
1 tea spn coriander-cumin powder
1 tbl spn rice flour(helps in binding, optional)
2 tbl spn chopped coriander leaves

For Extra flavor:
1 tbl spn milk
6-7 strands saffron

In a shallow pan(same pan will be used for layering the biryani, so use some flat bottomed pan) heat about 3 cups of water. When it starts boiling, add salt, spinach and tomato. Close the lid. Switch off the stove in 30seconds. Let it rest for few seconds. With a spoon, take out all the spinach and tomato into blender or mixer. Save the water. Add green chillies, ginger, garlic and grind to a smooth paste.
In the same pan, heat ghee/oil and add cloves, cardamom, bayleaf. Add the rice and fry for few minutes. Transfer the rice directly to cooker or a cooker vessel. Add about 1 and 3/4 cup of water that was used to cook spinach and tomato. Cook in pressure cooker till rice is done. (the rice can be cooked on stove top too, but I cook in cooker to save some time). If using cooker vessel, keep the potatoes in a separate vessel in the cooker. So rice and potatoes get cooked at the same time.
While rice is getting cooked, heat oil in the pan and add cumin seeds, chopped onions. Fry for few minutes and add biryani masala. Pour in the spinach-tomato paste. Add salt if required and let it cook till the gravy thickens. (the gravy splatters everywhere, so be careful).
spinach kofta biryani1
spinach kofta biryani2
spinach kofta biryani3
Grate carrots, chop capsicum, onion and coriander leaves. Peel the boiled potatoes. Add rice flour, coriander-cumin powder, amchoor powder, chilli powder, salt. Mix everything well and make small balls from the mixture. Deep fry or shallow fry them. I used my appe pan for frying.
spinach kofta biryani4
spinach kofta biryani5
spinach kofta biryani6
Take out the thickened gravy in a separate bowl(or use the blender/mixer vessel that was used to grind spinach, to save sometime in washing vessels). Heat the milk till it is warm. Soak the saffron strands in it.
spinach kofta biryani7
Just before serving, Spread a layer of rice in the pan. Top it with a layer of gravy and then few koftas. Repeat with a rice layer, gravy layer, koftas. Spread remaining rice on top, followed by the saffron milk.
spinach kofta biryani8
spinach kofta biryani10
Serve immediately.

Serves : 2-3
Preparation time : 1hr

PS: If you plan ahead and cook potatoes in advance, it gives you some more time to finish frying koftas while rice and gravy are getting done.
Be very careful while serving. The koftas break very easily. If you do not want to mix everything, serve rice and gravy with koftas separately.

28 thoughts on “Vegetable Kofta Biryani with Spinach Gravy”

  1. What a tempting affair!
    Towards the end, where you write: “Serve Immediately.”

    It should say: “Eat Immediately!” Ha hA!

    Yes, you need to take a nap after that meal!
    Best Best

  2. hats off shilpa,
    One for making an elaborate lunch recipe and the next for making it less oily, very nice way of using the appe pan instead of deep frying. give me 2 more options, for making a kofta without potato and a gravy without spinach( My hubby is not supposed to take these two for some health reason)

    1. Nirupama, Please check the kofta biryani link given in the post. You can replace palak puree with coriander leaves paste and potato with chickpeas.

  3. Shilpa..the efforts are pretty visible! The end product surely is drool-worthy! With yearsss of ‘Food” blogging, u pretty well get ‘Global chef’ title in your own little family! 😀

  4. Wonderful receipe Shilpa. I have a question. For dish like a biryani, do you use a cast iron pan? ‘Cause i have heard that they are very sturdy and dishes will taste defenitely better. What do u think?


  5. Hi Shilpa,
    Another nice one , what else can we usefor the koftas instead of the potatoes. The
    idea of frying the koftas in the appam pan is really a nice idea.Keep your work going, I am sure there are many around who don’t like to miss your posts including me.

  6. Keep going girl….love to read your posts…sometimes can’t do it regularly but whenever gets time go thru all your previous post…..I too made chicken biryani yesterday…..but after all that work I just wanted to eat, no picture time…..yours looks beautiful…..

  7. The idea of using Appe Kayli for making the kofta is great… you must patent that… This looks soo good. will try it this weekend…

    Thanks for the amazing recipes..


  8. Wow, those koftas in the Kaayli are making my mouth water. I am going to try this when I have guests and also ample notice. Sure looks very delicious!

  9. Wow, it looks so yummy and the cooking method of this
    Vegetable Kofta Biryani with Spinach Gravy recipe is great, I’ll try it later and I hope it tastes the way it looks. Just one question: how to add your blog into my RSS Reader, Thanks very much.

  10. I loved the idea of making koftas in the appey pan. I made lauki koftas in the appey pan and they came out excellent… and they looked and tasted just like they were deep fried.. I am going to try making pakoras (for pakora kadhi) in the same way… I am sure they will come out just fine.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.