Vegetable and Paneer Biryani

  • Yield: 4 servings


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