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5 from 5 votes

Vegan Chicken Biryani

A very authentic tasting vegan chicken biryani with seitan as a meat substitute.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Main
Cuisine: Indian
Diet: Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword: Chickfree biryani, Vegan chicken biryani
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 253kcal


For the rice

For the gravy

  • 18 oz seitan
  • 8 oz silken tofu
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 6 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1 inch ginger , minced
  • 1 cup cilantro (loosely packed)
  • 2 green chillies
  • 1 ¼ onions (thinly slice 1 onion and chop the remaining ¼th)
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala powder
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon red chilli powder (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Cilantro (for garnish)


  • Make the rice by placing the water in a pot along with the cardamom and bay leaves. Bring it to a boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer. Cover and let the rice cook 10 minutes. Turn off and let stand.
  • Place the tofu, lemon juice, ginger, garlic, green chili peppers, chopped onion and coriander leaves in a blender and grind to a fairly smooth paste.
  • Drain the seitan and place it in a bowl. Pour the tofu-ginger-garlic marinade over it and toss with a spoon till all the pieces are thoroughly coated. Set aside for at least an hour.
  • Heat the oil in a skillet. Add the sliced onions and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until they are golden-brown and caramelized, about 10 minutes.
  • Remove half the onions to a bowl and reserve. To the remaining onions, add the garam masala, turmeric and chilli powders and stir well for a few seconds. Add the tomato puree.
  • Saute until the tomato turns darker and begins to express oil.
  • Add the seitan along with the marinade, stir together well, bring to a boil. Then lower the heat to low and allow the mixture to simmer for about 15 minutes or until the flavors have merged well. Add salt to taste.
  • Take the cooked rice and gently spread it on top of the gravy in an even layer.
  • Close the skillet with a tight-fitting lid, ensure the heat is still turned to low, and allow the biryani to cook another 10 minutes. If you like some additional color in your biryani, mix 2 tablespoon of soymilk with a few strands of saffron or a generous pinch of turmeric and sprinkle on top of the rice before putting on the lid.
  • Turn off the heat and allow the biryani to stand at least 10 minutes before opening. Garnish with the fried onions you had reserved and the coriander leaves. I also love sauteing a few cashew nuts and raisins in a smidgen of oil until the raisins are plumped up and the nuts golden, and then sprinkling them on top of the biryani for a fabulous final touch.


Calories: 253kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Potassium: 285mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 302IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 2mg