Flavors of India: Egg Biryani (egg fried rice)

For more on the flavors of India series, check out: Dhal Aloo Kofta, Payasam Pudding, Aloo Palak, Gluten-free naan and Malai Kofta.

I love Indian food and have embraced it to the fullest.

Just last night, I was contemplating trying my hand at making a potporri using all the garam masala ingredients to infuse our home with the smell. Stay tuned on this, I think I’ve pretty much nailed it. I just can’t seem to get enough of it!

In the time I’ve had to experiment, I’ve learned that while the ingredients list may be lengthy and totally intimidating, it’s rare to find a complicated Indian dish. From start to finish, the meals take about 15-20 minutes to prepare and rely on simple, easy to find ingredients. And I have to say, I’m loving all of the spices, too!

We have 3 more dishes in the line of Indian meals I learned to make during my cooking class in India. Today is biryani and next week; if I can get the dough right, will be gluten-free vegetarian samosa.

So, biryani… what is it? Jody; the yogi I took the class with, made the mistake of mentioning to our instructor that biryani was like a stir-fry. I advise that you do not make this comparison for the preservation of your life and the lives of those around you. There was a moment there where I thought the veins in our instructors head were going to explode.

Not a good situation.

Biryani is a lot like fried rice, comes in vegetarian or meaty varieties, and is usually loaded with spice, sauce, veggies and oil.

The version we made in India was naturally gluten-free, dairy-free and vegetarian with a spicy sauce. The raisins were my favorite part. They became somewhat caramelized under the heat and added a perfect amount of sweetness to the spicy sauce.

When I wanted to make this dish at home, I was a bit hesitant to buy a whole bottle of rose water; what with the recipe only calling for 1 tablespoon, but I’m happy to report that there are plenty of other uses for rose water than just biryani. It’s fantastic in smoothies, oatmeal, muffins, cupcakes, vegan fudge balls, oh you name it!

Healthy Egg Biryani (Egg Fried Rice)

Vegan (option), Gluten free, Dairy free, Sugar free, Yeast free, Corn free

Biryani is a rice-based dish made with spices, rice (usually basmati) and meat, fish, eggs or vegetables. It is naturally gluten-free and in South India, it’s usually served with hard boiled eggs. In my version of healthy egg briyani, I cut down the oils, replaced the milk and toned down a bit of the spiciness.

Yield: 3 cups

Servings: 2

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  • 1 tablespoon ghee *see note
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1 teaspoon diced fresh ginger root
  • 1 teaspoon diced fresh garlic
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 teaspoon masala leaf *see note
  • 2 tablespoon raisins
  • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped cashew nuts
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon fresh cilantro


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon diced fresh ginger root
  • 1 teaspoon diced fresh garlic
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1 teaspoon masala leaf *see note
  • 6 curry leaves
  • 3 tablespoon diced red onion
  • 1 tablespoon diced tomato
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon Himalayan rock salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground chili
  • 1 tablespoon roughly ground cashews
  • 2 teaspoon fresh cilantro, diced
  • 2 tablespoon water
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, sliced or halved


  1. Saute ghee, fennel seed, ginger, garlic, onion and masala leaves in a pre-heated frying pan on medium-high heat. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.
  2. Add raisins, cashews, cinnamon, and cilantro and continue to cook for another 1 minute.
  3. Add pineapple, rice, salt, garam masala, and rose water. Cook for another 1 minute before removing from heat and setting aside.
  4. Add coconut oil, ginger, garlic, fennel, masala leaf, curry leaf, onion and tomato to a pre-heated frying pan. Saute on medium high heat for 2-3 minutes stirring constantly.
  5. Remove from heat and add turmeric, coriander, garam masala, salt, chili, ground cashews, cilantro and water.
  6. Place about 2/3 of the rice mixture at the bottom of a large bowl and pat down with a spoon. Add hard boiled eggs, top with sauce, then remaining rice mixture. Press down firmly.
  7. Top the bowl with a large plate and flip over in your hand. Remove the bowl, garnish with cilantro and dig in!

note: to make vegan, replace ghee with coconut oil and omit the egg.

note: I’ve had a really hard time finding masala leaves at home. I’ve replaced the masala leaf for 6 curry leaves and it’s still been really good.

note: ghee is made from dairy, but all lactose and casein is removed in the clarification process. Use your own personal judgement when opting for a dairy-free diet. If you’ve chosen to omit, use vegan suggestion above.

View nutrition info

After our cooking class, Jody and I ran into our friend Lina who was headed to the spa for the day. She invited us to come with her for some women bonding over facials, massages and henna.

When in India!

It was a perfect end to my last day in Varkala!

PS: don’t forget to check out the winner for my favorite things giveaway, and thanks to everyone for entering!

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  1. Hi,
    About the masala leaf, a bay leaf would be a good substitute versus curry leaves.
    Source: I’m a south Indian!

    • Awesome, thank you! I wasn’t sure and have been asked multiple times what to do as a replacement.

  2. The henna is so beautiful! I love Indian food too. All the flavors are amazing! This dish sounds like an amazing sweet and savory combination. Those usually turn out to be my most favorite!

  3. girl, i’ll pick you up some garam masala when i go. i mean, since it was you that inspired me to go….it’s the least i could do. oh, and with you being so amazing and answering my kazillion questions and all.
    one catch, you’ll have to wait till august for it :)

  4. The henna, the masque, the whole experience…the pics of you, the natural beauty around you, the food…once again, I am drooling for my “one day” trip to India!

  5. Oh wow! I like the sound of it….it has an interesting combo-almost sweet? But with savory spices at the same time…I have to try! P.S your henna looks gorgeous! is it still on you?

    • It’s totally sweet and savory. The flavors are out of this world amazing. Ya, sad about the henna. I’m definitely going to get it done with a couple of friends sometime soon. It was really fun just wish it would have stuck around longer!

  6. Wow, I see what you mean about Indian recipes looking intimidating! There are lots of ingredients, but when you actually read the ingredients list, you realize that a lot of them are spices, which makes it a lot less intimidating :) All 3 of you look beautiful with your henna, how long did they last?

    • That’s the part of the story I didn’t share… the henna washed off in a day. I was so disappointed! Oh well though, the experience of it all was super fun!

  7. Beautiful henna! Can’t wait for the samosa recipe tomorrow. Love all the possible uses for rose water.

  8. Ooh your henna is beautiful (and normally I don’t even like the look of henna!!) This sounds like such a delicious dish, and eggy rice is one of my favourite ways to jazz up the grain. I can’t wait to hear about these samosas – I swear girl, you are a kitchen genius!