My 223rd recipe, “Paneer Biryani”, a super delicious Indian rice entree. Perfect to make for lunch any day of the week, but more so on the holidays and weekends.
Needless to say, Biryani is a favorite for both myself and RK. That is the reason why I try to make biryani frequently at my home. Chicken biryani from Hotel Samco in Chennai was my childhood favorite. From the time I stopped eating non-veg, I was stuck with an option of only veg biryani at most times.
Though I do not hold any personal grudges against Veg Biryani, to me it always missed the exotic flavor of a non-veg biryani. For this very reason, ever since I started cooking at home, I try to make different kinds of vegetarian biryani like Veg Dum Biryani, Soya Chunk Biryani, etc. While I had tasted paneer biryani once or twice earlier, my true love for Paneer Biryani started after I tasted it at the Saravana Bhavan restaurant here.
Unlike other vegetarian biryani this one had a lot of spice and truly matched the charisma of a non-veg biryani. Nicely grilled cubes of paneer cooked in a aromatic masala along with the fragrant basmati rice. There is nothing in this which I don’t love 😉
I had wanted to recreate the same paneer biryani recipe in my kitchen for a long time. And when folks at Mahatma Rice approached me to make a recipe using their basmati rice, I immediately knew that there could not be a better choice than this paneer biryani.
This biryani needs just a short time to prepare and needs just one pan, making the cleaning process as easy as the cooking. Also, in addition to that, it has a ton of flavor making it my choice for any celebration during the upcoming holidays. No holiday meal of mine would be complete without a rice dish and especially this paneer biryani would be a more than welcome addition.
Being a South Indian, rice has been my staple ever since I have known. That is the reason why I get excited when making recipes using rice. There are many varieties of rice grown world wide; right from Ponni, Sona Masoori to arborio, jasmine, brown rice, black rice, etc. However, basmati rice has been my all time favorite.
Basmati rice is a variety of long, slender grain aromatic rice which is traditionally grown in areas part of India and Pakistan. The word “Basmati” is derived from the Sanskrit word vasmati, which means “fragrant”. Basmati rice is known world wide as a fragrant/aromatic rice due to the wonderful aroma it emits while cooking and its delicious flavor when cooked. The perfect rice to cook biryani and other Indian dishes like Pulav. I also use it as a everyday rice to mop up delicious Indian gravies. It is easy to cook and cooks up into a long, thin and soft grain of rice.
After moving to the US, I was lucky enough to have a couple of Indian groceries near to my house. However I used to wonder how people from other locations would dearly be missing the aromatic and delicious Indian dishes, especially without authentic ingredients like the basmati rice. However, when I heard from the people of Mahatma Rice and took a look at the products they were offering I was more than happy.
In addition to the numerous other rice varieties which they sell here in supermarkets, they had my favorite authentic basmati rice. Their premium quality Basmati rice is grown in the foothills of the Himalayas where it is washed by the snow-capped mountains and then aged until perfection. In fact, I purchased my packet of Mahatma basmati rice from a nearby Target Super store. And an even convenient option would be to order it directly from their website, best suited for busy people like me ( I am actually lazy 😉 and not busy ). And, additionally this rice is available in a 2 lb. convenient E-Z open and pour package. Easy for storage and usage 🙂
Paneer Biryani is a super delicious and aromatic Indian rice entree made using fragrant basmati rice, cubes of paneer (Indian cottage cheese) and spices.
- Basmati Rice - 1 1/2 Cup (I used Mahatma Basmati rice)
- Oil - 1 tsp
- Paneer - 400 gms (cubed)
- Onion - 1 medium (thinly sliced)
- Ginger - 1/4 inch
- Garlic - 4 cloves
- Green chilli - 1
- Mint leaves - 2 Tbsp + For garnishing
- Coriander leaves - 1 Tbsp + For garnishing
- Tomato - 1 small
- Salt - 2 tsp
- Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
- Red chilli powder - 3/4 tsp
- Cinnamon - 1/2 stick
- Cardamom pods - 2
- Clove - 3
- Coriander seeds - 2 tsp
- Pepper corns - 1 tsp
- Jeera - 1/2 tsp
- Fennel seeds - 1/2 tsp
- Oil - 3 Tbsp
- Bay leaves - 2 small
- Cinnamon - 1/2 stick
- Clove - 2
- Cardamom - 1
- Cashews - 10
- Pepper corns - 1 tsp
- Jeera - 1/2 tsp
- First wash and soak the rice for atleast 30 mins.
- Heat a pan with a tsp of oil and saute the paneer cubes in medium flame until they turn golden. Turn off the flame and keep aside until use.
- In the same pan (used for frying paneer) add the ingredients listed under "For masala powder" and roast until the coriander seeds starts changing color and a nice aroma arises. Turn off the flame and transfer the ingredients to a plate and let them come to room temperature. Grind them into a coarse powder using a mixie/blender. Keep it covered until use.
- Crush the garlic, ginger and green chilli using a mortal and pestle. Keep aside until use.
- Heat a pressure cooker pan with oil, add the ingredients listed under "To temper" in the given order. Once the cashews turn golden, add the onion and crushed ginger, garlic, chilli. Saute until the onion turns translucent.
- Now add the mint and coriander leaves and start sauteing until the onions turns golden. Add the tomato, salt and saute until the tomato turns mushy. Follow it by turmeric, chilli powder and saute in low-medium flame until the oil starts to ooze or for about one minute.
- Now add 1 3/4 Cup of water and the rice to it (before adding the rice just drain off the water used for soaking completely from them) and give a gentle mix. Follow it by the prepared masala powder and give a gentle mix again.
- Now add the fried paneer cubes and give a gentle mix. Cook for one whistle or until done in medium-low flame. Wait until the pressure subsides. Remove the cover, garnish with extra mint and coriander leaves and give a gentle mix without breaking the rice strands.
- Serve hot with raita and chips.
- Do not over saute the paneer cubes in the 2nd step. They will turn hard and rubbery.
- Keep the prepared masala powder closed until use to retain its flavor.
- In case you do not have a pressure cooker, you can use a large pan and cook covered. However cooking time will be more. Also, in this method, add the paneer to the pan once the rice is half done.
- Always pressure cook the biryani in medium-low flame to avoid burnt bottom. Cooking time would depend on pressure cooker size and stove settings.
- Similar to other biryani, it tastes best when served hot.
This post is sponsored by Mahatma Rice. i.e. I was given a free sample and am being paid for this post. However all views and opinions expressed in this post are my own.