Smooth and spicy Instant Pot mushroom biryani, vegan coconut brown basmati rice accentuated with cilantro, mint, and cashews, is an easy, quick, and tasty Indian-inspired side dish or light one-pot meal. Like all our Instant Pot recipes, the pressure cooker method is the quickest, but we'll supply you with stovetop directions too.
A good vegan mushroom biryani layers a variety of whole and ground Indian spices to transform a simple combination of mushrooms, rice, and coconut milk into a feast fit for a dinner party. But this tasty, plant-based dish is easy enough that you can make it for a weeknight to accompany a curry, lentil dahl, flatbread, or liven-up leftovers.
Whole spices – 3 main whole spices – cloves, cardamom seeds, and star anise, plus a bay leaf start the first flavorful layer of biryani. See the FAQs for information on substitutions using ground spices or spice powders if desired.
Green chilies – I used 4 small green finger chilies, but you can use any green or red chili you like, including jalapeno. This recipe also uses chili powder, so be mindful of the spiciness.
Chili powder – Resist the urge to use a Mexican-style red chili powder. This is an Indian-flavored recipe. If you can't find Kashmiri chili powder, use ground chilies or a teaspoon of cayenne.
Sliced mushrooms – The best mushrooms for biryani are white button mushrooms, chestnut mushrooms, or baby Bella.
Garlic and ginger – Save steps by using prepared grated ginger and minced garlic or a ginger garlic paste.
Brown Basmati rice – Brown basmati rice is our go-to Instant Pot rice. It's a whole food, more nutritious than white rice, and takes minutes to cook. Although this recipe hasn't been tested with white basmati, if you use it, adjust the water to ¼ of a cup.
Coconut milk – This recipe is made using lite coconut milk. Whole coconut milk may be too dense to properly cook the rice. If you don't use coconut milk, consider using 2 cups of plant milk with a few drops of coconut extract.
Tomatoes – Use a large or 2 medium tomatoes diced. I've not tried this recipe with canned tomatoes, but you could use them, although you would want to limit it to 1 cup.
- Prep and measure all the ingredients beforehand. This includes measuring out the water. If the onions start to stick as you sauté them, add a little water if needed.
- Start with a dry roast of the whole spices. If you make substitutions of the whole spices for ground, add those in step 3.
- Clean mushrooms using a dry paper towel or cloth. Rinsing mushrooms can cause them to retain moisture and dilute their flavor. .
- This is meant to be a spicy mushroom biryani. That said, be mindful of the balance of the green chilies and chili powder. You know your tolerance for spicy food. The exact quantities of spices are really a personal choice.
- Avoid the Instant Pot burn notice. Stir the ingredients frequently, deglaze the bottom of the pot using the water after adding the tomatoes, and turn off the Instant Pot before adding the coconut milk. Before you set the Instant Pot lid, do a thorough stir of the pot bottom to ensure that there are no bits of spices or ingredients stuck to the bottom of the pot.
- To make this recipe on the stovetop. Use a heavy Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot. Follow the recipe steps as written. Once you add the rice, bring the pot to boiling, and then turn down to medium heat to simmer. Cover the pot, being careful to control the heat so that the contents don't boil over. Cook the rice for 30 minutes or until it is tender. You may need to adjust the quantity of water if the rice needs to be cooked longer.
For 1 whole star anise, substitute ½ a teaspoon of anise seeds or ¼ teaspoon of fennel seeds. If you don't like the flavor of anise, consider using a cinnamon stick as a substitute. For 1 bay leaf, use ¼ a teaspoon of dried thyme. For 4 cardamom pods (green cardamoms), substitute ¼ a teaspoon of cardamom seeds or ½ a teaspoon of ground cardamom.
The best way to reheat mushroom biryani is to steam it using a basket steamer. This will heat the rice at a high enough temperature to keep it food safe. You can also microwave it. If you use a saucepan, add water or broth, and stir the rice often to heat it through and prevent it from sticking.
If you don't have fresh mint leaves, you can leave them out entirely or use ½ a teaspoon of dry mint if you have it. You can also use additional fresh cilantro or ¼ a cup of fresh parsley if you want more fresh herbs for your biryani.
Serve mushroom biryani with these favorites
Instant Pot Mushroom Biryani
Smooth and spicy Instant Pot mushroom biryani, vegan coconut brown basmati rice accentuated with cilantro, mint, and cashews, is an easy, quick, and tasty Indian-inspired side dish or light one-pot meal.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 35 minutes
- Total Time: 55 minutes
- Yield: 6 1x
- Category: Instant Pot
- Method: Instant Pot
- Cuisine: Indian
- Diet: Vegan
- 4 cardamom pods - ¼ teaspoon cardamom seeds
- 2 - 4 small green chilies (or 1 jalapeno) sliced or chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 whole star anise
- 4 whole cloves
- 1 medium onion diced (1 cup)
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic (4 cloves)
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric (turmeric powder)
- 1 -2 teaspoons red chili powder or ground red chilies
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 cup diced tomatoes
- ¾ cup water
- 1 can of coconut milk (15 ounces/400 grams)
- 10 ounces (300 grams) sliced mushrooms
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro (coriander)
- ¼ cup chopped fresh mint
- 2 cups brown basmati rice
- ¼ cup of raw or roasted cashews
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Dry roast the spices. Set the Instant Pot to Sauté. When it beeps to indicate it has heated, add the bay leaf, star anise, cloves, cardamom, and chilies. Stir the spices for about 30 seconds.
- Onions. Add the onions and continue stirring for another 3 minutes until they soften and start to get translucent. If the onions threaten to stick, add water a tablespoon at a time.
- Garlic, ginger, and spices. Add in the garlic and ginger. Then add the turmeric, chili powder, and garam masala. Stir to mix.
- Tomatoes and water. Add the tomatoes and ¾ cup of water. Stir for another minute. Use a wooden spoon to clear the bottom of the Instant Pot. Turn off the Instant Pot.
- Coconut milk, mushrooms, fresh herbs, and rice. Mix in the coconut milk. Check again that the bottom of the Instant Pot is clean. Add the mushrooms and chopped cilantro and mint. Add the rice and stir all the ingredients.
- Cook the biryani. Secure the lid of the Instant Pot. Set the steam handle to Sealing. Cook the biryani on High Pressure for 5 minutes. Turn off the warming function. When the pressure-cooking cycle is completed, leave the pot alone for 5 minutes (natural pressure release).
- Finish. After the natural release, open the steam handle to release the pressure. When the silver pressure valve sinks down, carefully remove the lid from the Instant Pot.
- Serve. Transfer the rice to a medium serving bowl. Mix in the cashews (if using). If you run across the star anise or bay leaf, remove them. Add salt and/or black pepper to taste. Top with extra chopped cilantro and mint if desired.
- The cook time includes 15 minutes for the Instant Pot to heat to High Pressure.
- Use the following adjustments for whole spices to ground: 1 whole star anise = ½ teaspoon of anise seeds or ¼ teaspoon fennel seeds. If you don't like the flavor of anise, consider using a cinnamon stick as a substitute. 1 bay leaf = ¼ a teaspoon of dried thyme. 4 cardamom pods (green cardamoms) = ¼ a teaspoon of cardamom seeds or ½ a teaspoon of ground cardamom.
- Use white button mushrooms, chestnut mushrooms, baby Bella, or a mushroom mix.
- Follow the instructions to make this on the stovetop (although you can keep the heat on throughout). Use a heavy-bottomed pot. After adding the rice, bring the pot to a boil, then lower the heat to a slow simmer. Cover the pot and cook the rice for 30-35 minutes until it is tender.
Keywords: Instant Pot mushroom biryani, Instapot, vegan coconut rice, plant-based biryani, stovetop biryani, brown basmati rice
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