Sunday, March 14, 2010

Paneer Dum Biryani 1.0 (With Yogurt)

After having learnt the basic approach to cooking Biryani; I know love to experiment with different mediums and vegetables, meat, condiments to take the flavour to the next level. I chose a one-pot--dish to satisfy the hunger within stipulated time. I prefer Biryani over weekends, makes cooking easier and a wholesome home cooked dish full of flavour, vegetables or meat with few hours of labor.

I thought of Paneer Biryani which is easy and convenient. I clubbed it with Shan Pilaf-Biryani masala and cooked Paneer in Yogurt which offered good texture. I twisted the flavour at few places to create Hyderabadi style Dum Biryani with spices, condiments which complement Paneer. So I placed weight on the Biryani stock-pot and sealed the sides with foil to prevent the steam from escaping. The Biryani was just perfect.

Preparation time: 60 minutes including cooking time for Rice
Cooking time: 10-15 minutes
Yield: 6-10 servings

Cooking Rice:
Basmati Rice - 1 and 1/2 cups
Oil - a teaspoon
Salt - As per taste

Paneer Gravy:
Paneer (pre-fried) - 200 gms
Ginger-Garlic paste - 1+1 = 2 tablespoon
Tomato (chopped) - 1 cup
Red Onions (thinly sliced) - 3 cups
Yogurt - 2 tablespoon
Cloves - 3-4
Cardamom - 1
Black Cardamon (Badi Elaichi) - 1
Cinnamon stick (Flat Indian variety) - 1 stick (browen into bits)
Ghee - 3 tablespoon
Salt - as per taste
Shan Pilaf-Biryani Masala - 2 tablespoon or Home made Biryani masala recipe

Biryani Masala: Grind to powder - Yields 2 tablespoon
Fennel seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Cumin seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Black Cumin seeds or Shahjeera - 1/2 teaspoon
Mace (Javitri) - 2
Poppy seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Cinnamon stick (Flat Indian variety) - 1
Cardamom - 2
Black Cardamon (Badi Elaichi) - 1
Caraway seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Cloves - 3-4
Nutmeg (grated) - 1/3rd of a Nutmeg

Red Food color (optional) - 1/2 teaspoon
Saffron (crushed in milk) - few strands
Milk - 3-5 tablespoon
Garam Masala powder - 2 teaspoon
Nutmeg (grated) - 1

1. Cooking Rice - Wash Basmati rice multiple times till the water is clear. Soak rice in water for 1/2 hour if possible. Cook rice in water with 1:1 1/2 proportion, with one teaspoon oil and salt. Once rice is done, spread on a long tray and separate with a fork if the need be. The drier the freshly cooked rice, the better.
Also, soak Saffron strands in some warm milk and set aside. Crush them lightly with pestle and mortar to get the heavenly color in milk.
2. Paneer Gravy - Heat a tablespoon of Ghee in a deep dish pan; saute cloves, cardamon and cinnamon sticks in them till the ghee turns fragrant. Saute onions till they wilt and are soft. Add Tomatoes, mash them to get a good dry consistency. Add in the ginger-garlic paste and saute well. Once the gravy is well fried, and oil oozes out, add the Biryani masala, Paneer pieces and saute to get an even consistency (I had pre-fried Paneer in little ghee and set it aside after thawing to room temperature). Turn off the flame, mix in the yogurt well and set aside.
3. Assembly - Take a deep dish stock pot. Transfer on low flame (this is key, do not turn flame to medium or high) and add a spoon of ghee, allow to melt. Add a layer of 1/3rd of cooked rice and paneer gravy. Mix the rice and Paneer well. Sprinkle Garam masala powder and some grated nutmeg on top of the layer. Add another layer of 2nd portion of cooked rice, sprinkle nutmeg powder and garam masala powder again. Add the last portion of cooked rice, sprinkle red food color on top of it. Slather few spoons of ghee, add crushed saffron milk. Cover the lid tightly and place some weight, much better if you can seal the sides for 5-7 minutes with a wheat flour dough or foil. Turn off flame after 5-7 minutes. Take a side scoop of Biryani and enjoy with Mirchi Ka Saalan or Raita of choice.

Verdict: The taste of Biryani was awesome and restaurant style. More often than not Biryani has a dry texture, to combat that I ensured the Paneer pieces get coated with Yogurt. Also the Saffron Milk hydrates the Rice while getting cooked on Dum thereby keeping the rice moist. Since I layered rice in different colors of white rice, yellow rice and red rice, it came out visually rich and appealing. This is a high-calorie recipe. For better taste and flavour, do not compromise on ghee.


  1. yummyyy..this looks so delicious and has come out perfect..very flavorful..

  2. Simply heavenly...mouthwatering biryani dear and you have listed out the recipe in detail...Paneer rocks!

  3. @ Deepa - Thanks. It was a trial on a whim, bit I am glad came out well.

    @ Supriya - Thanks. I was initially hesitant with the combination, but then tried wth great courage. Paneer blended well and the Biryani was wholesome.

  4. I had tasted a similar biryani in one of the restuarants here, thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe I was searching for it from quite some time now:)

  5. @ Parita -
    Thanks. Do try and let me know. This Biryani recipe is on the milder side since I have omitted the green gravy (ginger, garlic, mint, coriander leaves combination). The flavour is very subtle and simple.


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