Paneer biryani is an Indian dish made with paneer, basmati rice, spices & herbs. This paneer biryani is unique, flavorful & amazingly delicious. Biryani is most commonly made with meat but this recipe uses paneer aka Indian cottage cheese. If you are a vegetarian and love the flavors of authentic biryani then this paneer biryani is a must try.
There are many kinds of vegetarian biryani made. Most of them use vegetables & are one pot dishes. Since this paneer biryani is dum cooked, it turns out to be extremely flavorful & delicious.
Paneer turns out super flavorful and remains soft as it is dum cooked.
Vegetable biryani is one of the most made in my home as it is super quick to make. Sometimes I also add some paneer to the veggie biryani. But the dum paneer biryani shared here is exotic and is great to make for celebrations or on weekends.
1. Wash rice and soak it for 15 to 20 minutes.
2. Add oil to a pan and fry onions evenly stirring often.
3. When they turn brown, set these aside.
4. This step is optional. If using capsicum or cashews, add them to the same pan and fry just for two to 3 minutes. If using
5. If using cashews fry to golden. You can fry few paneer chunks till golden if you want to garnish with them like i did.
6. Soak saffron in little milk. set aside.
7. Marinate paneer with all the marination ingredients and set aside till the rice cooks.
8. Add 1 tsp oil & ½ to ¾ tsp salt to 6 cups of water. Bring it to a rolling boil. Add the drained rice and cook till al dente. Meaning the rice grains have to be firm and not mushy but almost cooked.
9. Drain it off to a colander.
How to make paneer biryani
10. To a pan add ghee or oil, transfer the paneer marinade to the pan.
11. Layer the rice and sprinkle fried onions, mint, coriander leaves, kewra or rose water and then saffron milk.
12. Add the capsicums or cashews. Cover it with a moist cloth or aluminum foil. Cover it with a lid.
Place it on a hot tawa and cook for 5 minutes on a high flame and then for 10 minutes on a medium flame. Switch off the flame. Do not open the lid for another 15 minutes.
Fried onions or brown onions are the key to any dum cooked biryani. For authentic flavor deep fry the onions until crisp. I have just pan fried them with very little oil.
Use premium quality aged basmati rice as it has a good aroma. The rice grains will be non-sticky & will not turn mushy.
Please use good quality paneer that has no corn starch in it. Paneer with additives like corn starch will likely turn hard after cooking. To make your own you can check this link on homemade paneer.
Using ghee will make your paneer biryani aromatic and delicious. However you can replace it with oil.
You can also use some nuts and raisins for garnishing. I went ahead using some red and green bell peppers as I do not prefer to miss the veggies in our meal.
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- 1 ½ cups basmati rice aged
- 1 tsp oil for cooking rice
- ½ to ¾ tsp Salt to cook rice
- 2 onions sliced thinly or 4 tbsp fried onions
- 2 tbsp ghee or oil for frying onions
- 2 tbsp Mint leaves or pudina chopped
- 2 tbsp coriander leaves chopped
Marination for paneer biryani
- 2 tbsp ghee or oil
- 1 ¼ cup paneer cubes
- ½ cup curd or dahi or yogurt
- 1 tsp garam masala or biryani masala
- 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
- ¼ tsp turmeric
- ½ to ¾ tsp red chili powder
- ¼ to ⅓ tsp Salt to taste
- 2 tbsp mint leaves finely chopped
- 2 tbsp coriander leaves finely chopped
- 1 green chili
- 1 bay leaf or tej patta
- 4 green cardamoms or elaichi
- 1 black cardamom or badi elaichi (optional)
- 6 cloves or laung
- 3 inch cinnamon piece or dalchini
- 1 strand mace or javitri (optional)
- 1 star anise or biryani flower
- ½ tsp shahi jeera or cumin or jeera
- 1 tsp kewra water or rose water (optional)
- 6 cubes paneer
- 8 cubes Capsicum or few cashew nuts
Prepration for paneer biryani
- Soak rice for at least 30 to 40 mins. Later drain to a colander.
- Add oil to a heavy bottom pan, fry onions till golden brown. Set these fried onions aside. Fry capsicums till they turn slightly soft. Fry few paneer cubes or cashew nuts as well. Set these aside.
- Marinate paneer with 2 tbsps fried onions and the marination ingredients. Set aside.
- Add 1 tsp oil & ½ to ¾ tsp salt to water. Bring it to a rolling boil.
- Add the drained rice and cook till al dente. Meaning the rice grains have to be firm and not mushy but almost cooked. Drain off the rice to colander and set aside.
making paneer biryani
- Add the paneer marinade to the same heavy bottom pan used for frying golden onions.
- Layer the cooked rice over the paneer marinade. Level the rice. Add few more fried onions and mint and coriander leaves. Then sprinkle fried onions, capsicums, kewra or rose water.
- Seal it with a foil or a moist clean kitchen cloth. Place the lid over it. Meanwhile heat a old tawa or griddle.
- When it is hot, transfer the biryani pot or pan on the hot tawa. Cook for 5 minutes on a high flame and then for 10 minutes on a medium flame.
- Switch off the stove and leave it undisturbed for at least 15 minutes.
- Garnish with fried cashews or fried paneer, mint leaves and fried onions.
- Serve paneer biryani with raita.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
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I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills.
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