This is a treat for the vegetarians. Aromatic and flavorful one pot meal!
I usually do biryanis on weekends. I had half of the paneer left over from paneer burji. So wanted to do something with paneer for weekend. And i asked my friend for paneer recipe ideas 🙂 and she did say me few amazing ones but more of sweets :)! I did not want to make a lunch and also sweet. So, wanted to cook quickly but a heavy happy sunday lunch. And 🙂 I did this lovely paneer biryani. I have had paneer biryani only once in my life. But as I always say Paneer is my favorite. If you say “Paneer”, I am in! There are a lot of ways to do a biryani. You can do layering like this “vegetable Biryani“, or boil the meat and then do layering like this “lamb biryani” or just marinate overnight and cook the biryani like this “shrimp biryani“. For all the above recipes I cooked the rice separately. This time for the paneer briyani, I blended the masala and all ingredients and then cooked the rice and masala together. It was just lovely.
- Oil – 1tbsp
- Bay leaf – ½
- Cinnamon – 1 thin piece
- Cloves – 3
- Cardamom pods -2
- Yogurt – 2 tbsp
- Basmati Rice – 3 cups
- Biryani Masala – 1 tbsp
- Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
- Saffron – ½ tsp dissolved in ½ cup warm milk
- Ghee – 2 tbsp
- Mint – 2 tbsp finely chopped (to garnish)
For the paneer masala:
- Ginger garlic paste – 1 tsp
- Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
- Black pepper powder – ½ tsp
- Besan flour- 1 tbsp
- Salt – 2 tsp
- Paneer cubes – ½ cup
For fried onions:
- Onions – 2 small onions, ½ cup, sliced thinly
- Cashewnuts – 6
- Oil – to fry (3 - 4 tbsp)
For rice masala:
- Cashew nuts – 6
- Khus khus (white poppy seeds) – ½ tbsp.
- Cumin seeds/ jeera – ½ tbsp
- Fennel seeds – ½ tbsp.
- Coconut – 2 tbsp
- Garlic – 4 pods
- Ginger – 1 inch
- Green chilli – 4
- Mint – ½ cup, chopped finely
- Coriander leaves – ½ cup, chopped finely.
- Wash and soak rice for atleast 30 -40 minutes.
For Fried onions:
- Heat a pan with oil, add the sliced onions and cook in medium heat till turn golden brown. Add cashews in the end and fry too. Stir in the middle so that it does not stick to the bottom. Set aside.
- Mix all the ingredients under “paneer masala” and add the paneer cubes. Heat a pan with 1 tbsp of butter. Now add the marinated paneer and coat till the paneer gets golden brown.
- Grind the garlic, ginger, mint, coriander, cashews,coconut(optional), poppy seeds, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, chillis with two tbsp. of water into a smooth paste.
- Now take a big pan, add oil or ghee in medium heat, add the spices (cardamom, bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves), and then add the tomatoes and grinded paste and sauté them till the tomatoes are not raw and little mushy.
- Now add the yogurt, chilli powder, biryani powder and mix well. I always move the skillet away from the heat when adding yogurt which prevents it from curdling.
- Now after returning the skillet back to the stove, add the rice and salt and water. ( Quantity of water to be added is for one cup of rice , it is 1.5 cups of water). Mix well and close the lid tight and keep it in medium heat for 10 minutes. Now add the marinated paneer, fried onions and chopped mint for garnish and keep it in low for 5 minutes.
- Drizzle the saffron and milk over the rice and Switch off, and keep it closed for another 5 minutes.They will help the paneer get the masala flavors from rice and vice versa.
2. You can skip coconut while grinding and add coconut instead of water while boiling.