Beetroot Biryani

A while ago the chef Vivek Singh ran a great recipe for a vegetable pilau rice in the guardian which has become a bit of a favourite in my family. The other night I was feeling the need for a little Indian spicing in my food and the fragrantly spiced,  mixed vegetable dish popped out at me. It also stuck me as being a good opportunity to use the Rose Masala mix and Black Rice I had bought the day before. Like so many of my dishes the original intention unraveled in a completely atypical fashion and I ended up with a wonderfully colourful, mixed textured biryani made up of a nutty black rice, a soft white basmati, delicious roasted red Beetroot, leafy green Chard and an assortment of herbs and spices. Although this recipe calls for two different type of rice, don’t worry if you can’t get hold of Black Rice, you could use Brown basmati or Wild Rice instead.

For my dinner I ate the biryani with simple Lemon and Cumin roasted Chicken Thighs.  – I cooked the two Chicken Thighs coated in a couple of tablespoons of Olive Oil with 2 teaspoons of Cumin Seeds and half a Lemon, cut in wedges cooked in the oven at 180 degrees celsius for 35-40 minutes.  I made the quantity for the full recipes, even though it was just for two, with the intention of having leftovers for lunch. My leftovers I made into egg-fried biryani by re-frying the Rice in a hot frying pan, adding a tablespoon on olive oil and whisking in an Egg. The dish worked fantastically with the juicy Chicken but it could be served with a simple Green Salad or my Spice Roasted Pheasant.

It is definitely a little bit more special than your average rice dish.It works particularly well with a fried or poached Egg perched on top.

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Serves 4-6

  • 2 bulbs raw, peeled, Beetroot
  • 1 cup Black Rice
  • 1 cup White Basmati Rice
  • 1 small Onion
  • 2 cloves of Garlic
  • 4 tablespoons chopped Coriander, plus extra for garnish
  • 2 tbs chopped Mint Leaves
  • 1 tbs Rose Masala
  • 80g Swiss Chard
  • 2 heaped tablespoons Raisins
  • juice of 1/2 Lemon
  • 3 tbs Ghee (or Rapeseed/Sunflower Oil)



Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius. For non-fan pre-heat at 220 degrees

Chop the beetroot into chunks, about an inch think and add them to a baking tray. Add 1 tbs ghee (or oil ) and season generously with salt and pepper.  Put the beetroot in the oven to cook for 25-30 mins. Toss in  the tray halfway through cooking

Add the black rice to a saucepan with 1 1/4 cups of water. Bring to the boil then reduce to low with the lid on the pan. Cook for 20-25 minutes.

Put the basmati in a sieve and wash well under the cold tap. Add the basmati to a large saucepan with 1 cup of water and a big pinch of salt. Get the pan on the hob, over a medium heat. Bring to the boil then reduce heat to lowest setting and put the saucepan lid on. Cook for 10-12 minutes.

Peel and dice the onion, chop the garlic and slice the chard horizontally in 1 inch thick strips.

In a frying pan, sweat the onion on a low heat in 2 tbs ghee (or Oil) for 5 minutes, you want them soft and translucent. Increase the heat a little and add the garlic and the rose masala. Continue cooking for a couple of minutes, until the garlic and spices begin to smell toasted and fragrant.


Add the chard and a splash of water to the pan, give them a shake and cover with a lid. cook for 3-4 minutes. Make sure the stems are cooked and soft, taste and season. Once the beetroot and both rices are cooked, add the chard, beetroot, raisins, mint, half the coriander and lemon juice to the saucepan with the basmati.

Toss gently so not to break up the rice, taste and season generously with salt and pepper.

Make sure all the water has evaporated from the black rice before finally adding it to the pan with the basmati. Toss through gently for a moment but not too much because the black rice will dull the colour of the Basmati rice.

Scatter over the remaining coriander and serve.


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