Well, let me tell you about some ironies of life. Though this little space of mine is called MariasMenu, I’m terrible at deciding menus! Ohh yes… I’ve suggested many menus to you through posts, comments & emails. I’ve even helped a person decide a menu for his brother’s wedding! But if I happen to invite you for lunch or dinner at our place, then all the menu-deciding power of mine magically disappears. See that’s why I always say, I love preaching way more than practicing ;) Sometimes Jose goes to the extent of even saying that he is scared to invite guests home! Because, once that’s done, he knows I’ll be all over the place with appetizer, main course & dessert ideas. He can expect a thousand questions bombarding him like “should I make this…” or “should I make that…” or “do you think they will like this more than that…” and the list goes on…. You got the picture right??! Wait… you wanna say something. Ok…., ohh are you saying it sounds familiar?… you also do the same thing!? Good! I’m happy I’ve got company :)
Ok, now to all this confusion confistication (I dont know what that means, I simply say like that ;) ), it gets more exciting when the guests are vegetarian. From this blog, you already know that I’m more partial towards non-veg stuff. So when we invite vegetarians I’m kinda headless “chicken” running around. I always used to wish if I could make a veg equivalent of chicken biriyani, that would be great. So after a long wait, that boon was granted in the form of this paneer biriyani. When I first tried this recipe, I so badly wanted it to come out well. Because it seemed like a good panacea for my veggie one pot meal dilemma. I wasn’t disappointed, in fact I was a very happy person after the first spoonful.
I’m also happy about one more thing, I always get requests for vegetable biriyani recipe, so I hope this paneer biriyani will solve that problem too. Btw, a small note before going to the recipe. Please dont be scared of coming to our place after reading this. We are more than happy to host you :) I promise not to make a drama out of it ;)
Please find the picture of Paneer Biriyani made by Deepa Joshy, based on the above recipe. Thank you so much Deepa :)
Here goes the recipe:
- Paneer – 250 gms, cut into cubes (I used Amul frozen paneer)
- Coriander powder – 2½ tsp
- Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
- Chilli powder – 2 tsp
- Fennel seeds (perumjeerakam) – ½ tsp
- Cinnamon – 1 small piece
- Cloves – 3
- cardamom – 3
- Onion – 3, finely sliced
- Ginger & garlic paste – 1 tbsp each
- Tomato – 1, sliced
- Yogurt – ¼ cup
- Coriander leaves – 3-4 tbsp, chopped
- Cashew paste – 1-2 tbsp, optional (refer notes)
- Oil/ghee (I used sunflower oil)
- Basmati Rice – 1½ cups
- Water – (refer notes)
- Salt – to taste
- Onion – 1, finely sliced & fried
- Fried Cashews & raisins – a handful
- Coriander & Mint leaves
- Masala Preparation
- Grind together masala powders (coriander+turmeric+chilli powder) + fennel seeds with 1 tbsp water to a fine paste. Keep it aside. Crush the whole spices (cinnamon+cardamom+cloves). Heat ghee/oil in a deep bottom pan & add the crushed whole spices. Add finely sliced onions & salt to this. Cook till the onions become golden brown in colour. Add ginger & garlic paste. Cook for 3-4 mins. Add the ground masala paste to this & cook till the raw smell goes, it will take around 2-3 mins. Add sliced tomato & cook. When oil starts appearing add yogurt & chopped coriander leaves. Mix well. Add paneer cubes to this & cover & cook for 5-7 mins. If you are using cashew paste, add at this stage. Cook for a few more minutes & remove from fire.
- Rice Preparation
- I cooked the rice in the normal method & drained the excess water. That’s why I didnt mention the qty of water in the recipe. Make sure you dont over cook the rice, since you will be baking it later. I didnt add any garam/whole masala while cooking the rice. I just added salt. However if you want to cook rice in the traditional biriyani style, you can see it here.
- Layering the biriyani
- Preheat the oven to 180 degree, 10 minutes before baking the biriyani. Apply some ghee to a baking dish. Put one layer of rice in the dish. On top of that spread some masala and make another layer. Again spread another layer of rice on top of the masala. Repeat the process until the masala and rice is finished. The top layer should be of rice. You can drizzle ghee & sprinkle coriander & mint leaves in between the layers. Cover the dish with a wet cloth. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes.
- Alternative method:
- If you dont have an oven to bake the biriyani, do the following method.
- Layer the rice and masala in a greased heavy bottomed vessel/non stick pan & cover it with a tight lid.
- Heat a thava/dosa kallu, when it is really hot, place the biriyani vessel on top of that. Reduce the heat to the lowest flame & cook for 20-25 mins. Keep the heat at the lowest flame throughout, otherwise it might get burnt.
- Also place a pan of boiling water on top of the biriyani vessel at the same time.
- Garnish the biriyani with fried onions, cashews & raisins & coriander & mint leaves.