How To Make Paneer Biryani
- Rinse basmati rice very well in water till the starch clears from the water. The water should be clear and not cloudy or opaque. Then soak the rice in water for 30 minutes.
- When the rice is soaking, prep the ingredients for the biryani. Thinly slice 2 medium onions. Heat 4 tbsp oil or ghee in a small frying pan and add the sliced onions.
- Stir and begin to fry the onions till they turn golden. Add one or two pinches of salt for quick browning of the onions. Stir often for uniform browning and fry on a low flame.
- Here the onions have begun to get golden.
Once the onions become golden, then remove them with a slotted spoon and place them on kitchen paper towels. Keep the fried onions aside. These crisp golden fried onions are also known as Birista. keep the oil or ghee in which we fried the onions aside. We will be using this oil or ghee while layering the biryani.
- Warm 4 tbsp milk on stovetop or in the microwave. Add 16 to 18 saffron strands to the milk. Stir and keep aside.
- Whisk 8 tbsp fresh full fat curd/yogurt in a mixing bowl till smooth.
- Add 1 tsp ginger paste, 1 tsp garlic paste, 1 tsp chopped green chilies, 1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves and ½ tbsp chopped mint leaves. Mix well.
- Now add the spices – ¼ tsp turmeric powder, ¼ tsp red chili powder, ¼ tsp garam masala powder, ½ tsp coriander powder, ¼ tsp shahjeera/caraway seeds, 1 tsp lime juice and salt as required. Mix again.
- Then add the ½ of the fried onions and paneer cubes.
- Mix gently. Cover and keep the marinated paneer aside for 30 minutes at room temperature. If marinating the paneer for a longer time, then keep in the fridge.
Cooking Rice For Paneer Biryani
- Meanwhile here our rice is soaked after 30 minutes. Drain the rice well and keep aside.
- Bring 4 cups water to a rolling boil in a pot.
- Add whole spices – 1 inch cinnamon, 1 medium bay leaf or 2 small bay leaves, 2 to 3 cloves , 2 to 3 green cardamoms & ¼ tsp shahjeera/caraway seeds.
- Add 1 tsp salt.
- Now add the soaked rice.
- Do not stir and you will see the temperature drops a bit after adding rice. Also do not cover the pan.
- Keep the flame to high and cook the rice without lowering the temperature.
- The rice grains have to be cooked till they 75% or ¾th done. They should have a bite to them when eaten.
- Drain the rice in a colander. You can also rinse the rice grains gently to remove starch if any and to stop the grains from cooking. Cover with a lid and keep the rice aside.
- This is the marinated paneer after 30 minutes.
Layering Paneer Biryani
- Add the same oil in which we fried the onions to a thick bottomed pan or pot. If cooking the biryani in an oven, then add the oil to an oven safe glass bowl or pan.
- Add the marinated paneer and layer neatly.
- Make a rice layer now. Add all the rice. I have just made two layers. If you want you can make 4 layers.
- Add the remaining fried onions.
- Now add 1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves and ½ tbsp mint leaves.
- Sprinkle the saffron flavored and colored milk all over.
- Dot with 1 tbsp ghee. You can also add 1 tsp of rose water or kewra water.
Dum Cooking Paneer Biryani
- Cover with a foil or with a moist cloth.
- Place the lid tightly on the pan and place it on a tava or griddle.
- For the first 5 minutes Dum cook the Paneer Biryani on a medium flame. Then lower the flame and cook the Paneer Biryani on Dum for 12 to 15 minutes. You can also cook the Biryani in a preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius/350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Here’s the Paneer Biryani after being Dum cooked for 20 minutes.
Serve the paneer biryani hot or warm with raita like onion tomato raita or boondi raita or cucumber raita.