Lauki Kofta Biryani Recipe | How to make kofta biryani [Video]

Lauki Kofta Biryani is a spiced vegan rice dish made with fried dumplings of bottle gourd (lauki), spices, mixed vegetables and fragrant long basmati rice.  Perfect for Sunday lunch!

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vegetable biryani

Wanna know a secret?

We NEVER eat biryani in restaurants!

At least, I may once in a blue moon, but Raj absolutely detests biryani from restaurants. But whip it up at home and he'll enjoy it. We are yet to find a restaurant biryani that hits all the right buttons for us. We usually find that restaurant biryanis are high on spice and low on flavor, either have no vegetables or have undercooked vegetables and like all takeout, extremely greasy. No wonder he abhors it, which is quite surprising for a lot of friends. Bangalore is almost Biryani Town, with at least 2-3 biryani outlets on every main road and here, there are people who won't even look at one.

So, once in a while, just to treat ourselves, I put on my chef's hat and cook up a biryani that suits our tastebuds and our sensitive tummies. I add spices for flavor but reduce the chilli powder, so we still taste flavor, but not get burned by the heat. I always add a lot of vegetables, because I simply love the different textures. And a Biryani isn't a Biryani for me if it is not made with fragrant Basmati rice. 

The story of this Vegan Lauki Kofta Biryani, goes back a few months, when I was irritated with Raj for being fussy during vegetable shopping. He kept rejecting all my choices of vegetables for the week, that I lost it and made him shop what he wanted for the whole week. In came the lauki or bottle gourd, one of my least favorite of the veggies. I'm not sure even he likes it. But there it was staring at me from my fridge for a week. And finally on a Sunday, when I was in a good mood, I decided this lauki deserved to be finally eaten and this Lauki Kofta Biryani was born. And since, I've made it multiple times and we've all had a hearty sunday lunch.

vegetable biryani

Lauki Kofta Biryani, as the name suggests, contains koftas or fried dumplings made from grated lauki. The water from the grated lauki is squeezed out and a few spice mixes are added for flavor. I added chickpea flour or besan and corn flour as the binding agent to make the koftas. You can add potatoes or breadcrumbs or even grated paneer. I've tried with Paneer and it gave me these amazing rich and chewy koftas. You can either shallow fry the koftas, pan fry the koftas or even deep fry them. If your kofta feels crumbly after cooking, add it to the biryani only while serving, instead of cooking it in the masala.

I added a lot of boiled vegetables to the Biryani, but you can skip it and let only the kofta shine. If you want to add vegetables, you can add cauliflower, beans, carrots, green peas, potato, or broccoli. Cut them chunky and cook them to your liking. I like my beans completely cooked, while my cauliflower still crunchy. 

Use aged Basmati rice to get the best results. I always cook my biryani rice with spices for added flavor, but if you don't have whole spices, you can give them a miss. Or if you want a change, you can also cook the rice with saffron for a richer feel. 

The masala made with onions and tomatoes is what imparts flavor to the biryani. A Biryani does take more oil than a pulao, don't skimp on it too much, it will impact the flavor. The oil is what ensures that the rice takes on the flavor of the masala. I used store bough biryani masala, you can grind whole spices to make your own too. 

Lauki Kofta Biryani can be prepped in advance too. The rice can be cooked a few days before and so can the masala. Vegetables too can be boiled in advance. I would only suggest making the koftas fresh.

Biryani tastes best when served with raita or salan. You can try this Boondi Raita to go with the Biryani,

vegetable biryani

If you made this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment here or on Facebook tag your tweet with @oneteaspoonlife on Twitter and don't forget to tag your photo @oneteaspoonoflife on Instagram. You can also email me at I'd love to see what you are up to.

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Video Recipe


Lauki Kofta Biryani

vegetable biryaniLauki Kofta Biryani is a spiced vegan rice dish made with fried dumplings of bottle gourd (lauki), spices, mixed vegetables and fragrant long basmati rice.

Recipe Type:  Main
Cuisine:            Indian
Prep Time:     30 minutes
Cook time:     60 minutes
Total time:     90 minutes
Yield:                Serves 3-4


For the Lauki Kodta

1 Bottlegourd
3-4 Tbsp Besan (chickpea flour)
1 Tbsp Cornflour
0.5 tsp Garam Masala
0.5 tsp Turmeric Powder
0.5 tsp Red Chilli Powder
Salt to taste
Oil to fry

For the Biryani

1 cup Basmati Rice
2 medium Onions, sliced
1 cup Tomato Puree
2 cups mixed boiled Vegetables (cauliflower, carrots, beans)
0.5 cup Coriander leaves, chopped
0.5 cup Mint leaves, chopped
1 Tbsp Ginger Garlic Paste
2 Tbsp Biryani Masala
0.5 tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tsp Shah Jeera (Caraway seeds)
1 Tbsp Dagad Phool (black stone flower)
2 Cloves
1 Green Cardamom
1 Black Cardamom
1 Bay leaf
0.5" Cinnamon
4 Tbsp Oil
Salt to taste
Water as required


1. Wash the basmati rice 4 to 5 times until the water runs clear. Soak in 2 cups water and keep aside for 30 minutes.
2. After 30 minutes, boil 1.5 cups water in a pan and add 0.25 tsp salt, cloves, green cardamom, black cardamom, bayleaf and cinnamon to the water. Allow the water to come to a rolling boil.
3. Drain the rice and add to the water. Cover and cook on low to medium heat until the rice is cooked and all the water is absorbed.
4. Allow to cool uncovered.
5. To make the kofta, peel, cut and deseed the bottle gourd. Grate or shred the bottle gourd.
6. Add a little salt and keep aside for 10 minutes.
7. After 10 minutes, squeeze out the water from the bottle gourd.
8. Take the squeezed bottle gourd in a bowl. Add in the salt, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, garam masala, corn flour and besan. Mix well until combined. If the batter feels wet, add more besan.
9. Heat oil for frying the koftas, you can either deep fry or shallow fry the koftas.
10. Shape the koftas and fry until browned and crisp. Remove from heat and keep aside.
11. Heat 4 Tbsp oil and add in shah jeera and dagad phool. Saute for 30 minutes.
12. Add in sliced onions and fry until the onions are golden brown.
13. Add in the ginger garlic paste and saute until fragrant.
14. Add the tomato puree and cook on low-meidum heat for 6-8 minutes or until oil separates.
15. Add in the biryani masala and turmeric powder, mix well. Cook on low heat for 3-4 minutes.
16. Add in chopped coriander and mint leaves.
17. Add in the boiled vegetables and the kofta. Mix well until combined.
18. Add in the basmati rice and mix until completely combined.
19. Serve hot with raita.

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