Vegetable and Paneer Biryani

  • Yield 4 servings


2 to 3 tablespoons clarifed butter/ ghee
2 tablespoons olive oil/ canola oil
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
3 whole cloves
1 stick cinnamon
2 whole cardamom
1 leaf bayleaf
15 whole raisins
1 large yellow onion, julienned
1 medium green bell pepper, deseeded and cubed
2 large carrots, cubed
1/2 head cauliflower florets
10 whole green beans,julienned
1 to 2 tablespoon salt
1/4 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon cumin powder
1 tablespoon coriander powder
1 tablespoon turmeric powder
1 tablespoon cayenne powder
2 tablespoons garam masala
2-3 tablespoons biryani masala
1.5 cups plain lowfat yogurt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2.5 cups long grain basmati rice, soaked for 1 hr and drained
1 tablespoon clarified butter or ghee
1 leaf bayleaf
1 tablespoon salt
5 cups water
5 saffron saoked on 1/2 cup low fat milk
1/2 pound paneer/ cottage cheese, cubed
1/2 cup slivered, toasted almonds


  1.  Marinade: Heat a nonstick pan and The ghee and 1T oil. When heated through, add the cumin, fennel seeds and when they splutter, add the other spices along with the raisins. When the spices are toasted emanating a nice aroma, add the onions. Saute the onions till soft and brown then add the bell peppers, carrots, beans and cauliflower, in that order. The veggies need to just soften without cooking through. Add the salt, sugar and rest of the spice powders, Garam masala/ biryani masala and sauté till the veggies are coated. Then fold in the yogurt, turn off the heat and add lemon juice and 1T oil. Mix it through. Marinade in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours. Note: The longer the marination, tastier the biryani! Can marinate overnight as well.
  2. Rice: Sauté the soaked and drained rice in ghee, bay leaf and salt. cook in an electric cooker/ stovetop with the water. The rice can be kept in the refrigerator to cool and to separate the grains when cooked through. Pan fry the paneer cubes in a little ghee or oil till golden brown.
  3. Assembly: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Take an oven proof casserole and coat the bottom with a little butter or ghee. Place a ladleful of marinade at the bottom, top it with a layer of rice, then repeat the steps till the top layer has the marinade. Pour the saffron and milk mixture evenly on top. Layer the paneer cubes on top and place in the oven for 30-35 mins, covered with aluminium foil, till the veggies are done. Garnish with the slivered almonds and serve with boiled eggs/ plain yogurt.





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