Paneer Biryani
Paneer Biryani

Paneer Biryani

Step-by-Step Guide To Make Hyderabadi Paneer Biryani

As far as the vegetarian versions of biryani go, Paneer biryani takes the highest point in taste and in popularity as well. In fact, a well-cooked Hyderabadi style paneer biryani could easily give the non-vegetarian and seafood counterparts a run for their money.

The Popularity Of Paneer Biryani

Albeit, the popularity of paneer biryani initiated due to being a compensating vegetarian version of a much the loved Mughal style chicken/ mutton biryani. However, this delectable dish soon passed its predecessors and rightfully or shall we say flavorful earned its place as one of the most loved biryani.

Taste And Flavour Of Paneer Biryani

Paneer is juicy and yummy even when eaten raw, imagine the succulence of paneer when it gets to sip in the flavour of a number of spices. When paired with equally aromatic and flavoursome rice, paneer biryani is nothing short of a mouth-watering extravaganza.

The Specialty Of Paneer Biryani

This variant of biryani is special mainly because of its key ingredient. Paneer absorbs the marination quickly and evenly, thus when cooked every bite is equally delicious. It doesn’t take much time to prepare and thus can be part of your regular comfort food menu and even the menu of your decadent parties.

Serving And Presentation Of Paneer Biryani

While onion raita and spiced sallan are the top picks for accompaniments, this Hyderabadi style paneer biryani recipe works surprisingly really well with a potato gravy as well.

How To Prepare Paneer Biryani

Inspired from the Hyderabadi style of making biryani, paneer biryani is made by steaming, i.e. giving dum in the end. Paneer is fried and marinated in spices, which is then layered with aromatic rice and flavoursome gravy.

Paneer Biryani

Your paneer biryani will take a total of 50 – 55 minutes to cook, which includes 30 minutes of prep and marination process and 20 – 25 minutes of cooking time. The ingredients mentioned-below will cook for 3 serves.

Ingredients

For Rice

  • Basmati Rice – 1 1/2 cups
  • Oil – 1tbsp
  • Star anise – 1
  • Bay leaf – 1
  • Cloves – 4
  • Cinnamon – 2 inch
  • Green cardamom – 3 pods
  • Peppercorn – 2 – 3
  • Salt to taste

For Marination of Paneer

  • Paneer cubes – 1 cup,
  • Ginger Garlic paste - 1 tbsp
  • Biryani masala – 1/2 tsp
  • Yogurt – 3/4 cup
  • Red Chilli powder- 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric - 1/8 to ¼ tsp
  • Lemon Juice – 1/8 tsp
  • Salt to taste

For Paneer Biryani Gravy

  • Clarified butter – 3 tbsp
  • Oil – for frying
  • Onion – 2 large, sliced thinly
  • Green chili – 2 slit
  • Ginger and garlic paste – 2 tbsp
  • Bay leaf – 1
  • Star anise – 1
  • Cinnamon stick - 1 inch
  • Green cardamoms – 2
  • Cloves – 4
  • Peppercorn – 4 -5 (optional)
  • Caraway seeds - ½ tsp
  • Red chili powder – 1/2 tbsp
  • Biryani masala - 1 tsp
  • Coriander powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Mint Leaves – 1/8 cup finely chopped
  • Coriander Leaves – 1/8 cup finely chopped
  • Kewra water – 2 tbsp (optional)
  • Saffron a pinch (optional)
  • Warm Milk – 2 tbsp (optional)
  • Cashew – 5 -6
  • Raisins – 8 – 10

How to make

Paneer Marination

  1. Add oil for shallow frying the paneer, heat it.

  2. Add paneer and fry it from both sides for 2 – 3 minutes on medium-high flame.

  3. Immediately add the hot paneer into cold curd.

  4. Add ginger garlic paste, biryani, red chili powder, turmeric and Lemon Juice in the curd.

  5. Mix with soft hands, to evenly coat the paneers with marination.

  6. Keep the paneer aside for at least 30 minutes

Cook rice

  1. Wash the rice thoroughly and soak for 20 – 30 mins.

  2. Drain the rice and keep it aside.

  3. Bring 3 – 4 cups of water to boil.

  4. Add salt, oil, star anise, bay leaf, cloves, cinnamon, and green cardamom

  5. Once the water becomes fragrant, add the soaked and drained rice.

  6. Cook the rice, al dente. Don’t overcook, as mushy rice will spoil your Paneer Biryani.

  7. Drain the excess water and allow rice to cool down.

Deep frying onions and cashews for Paneer Biryani

  1. Add oil for frying in a wok

  2. Once heated add cashews into the oil, fry them for a minute and then keep aside.

  3. Now, add 1 - thinly sliced onion, fry it until golden brown.

  4. Drain it on a kitchen tissue and keep it aside for later use

Gravy

  1. Add 2 tbsp of ghee in a thick bottom pan.

  2. Once heated add star anise, peppercorns, green cardamoms, cloves, cinnamon stick, caraway seeds, and bay leaf.

  3. When the spice starts to crackle, add ginger garlic paste.

  4. Sauté until the raw smell goes away.

  5. Add thinly sliced onion and fry them until golden brown.

  6. Now add red chili powder, biryani masala and coriander powder and cook them for another one minute.

  7. Reduce the flame to low-medium and add the marinated paneer and the remaining curd mixture.

  8. Cook until a thick gravy is formed on medium-high flame.

  9. Add mint and coriander leaves.

Layering and giving dum to Paneer Biryani

  1. Grease a thick bottomed deep pan and add half of the cooked rice.

  2. Spread the rice evenly around the pan 

  3. Layer the paneer biryani gravy evenly over the rice.

  4. Separately heat the milk and add saffron.

  5. Spread the milk and saffron mixture over the rice.

  6. Add the remaining rice over it.

  7. Add the kewra water, fried cashews, fried onions, and raisins.

  8. Add one 1 tbsp of clarified butter on top.  

  9. Seal it with foil or with a tight lid, so the steam could not escape.

  10. Cook on high flame for 1 – 2 minutes and then lower the flame for about 10 minutes.

  11. Let the Paneer Biryani, rest for 10 – 15 minutes before removing the lid.

Notes

  • To ensure the steam does not escape, you can place something heavy on the lid.
  • Paneer tends to g rubbery when overcooked. To prevent that use cold paneer for frying, immediately dunk hot paneer in cold curd to stop the cooking process. These processes seal the paneer’s moisture in it.
Nutritional Value Of Paneer Biryani
  • Total Fat 39 g
  • Saturated Fat 22 g
  • Cholesterol 95 mg
  • Sodium 218 mg
  • Potassium 399 mg
  • Total Carbohydrates 94 g
  • Dietary Fiber 6 g
  • Sugars 8 g
  • Protein 21 g
Conclusion

Paneer Biryani is a fairly simple recipe, the trick is not to allow the paneer or rice to overcook. As the former will go rubbery and tasteless, while the latter will turn mushy and spoil both the look and taste of the dish.

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