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Paneer biryani

We had great weather over the weekend and I thought we are done with winter. But as they say, mid west weather is extremely unpredictable. This week again, we have very cold weather :(.

When I came home yesterday, I wanted something spicy to eat. I was missing home so much. So I thought of making something special for us. It took a while to prepare this, but was totally worth the effort. The biryani was just out of this world.

This biryani is based on my two favorite biryani recipes – Shn’s Egg biryani and my Belgaum style biryani. The spicy paneer pieces take this one to a whole new level.

1 and 1/2 cups basmati rice
1/4 cup fresh/frozen peas
1 cup paneer cubes
1/4 cup green beans
1 tea spn chilli powder
A pinch turmeric powder
3-4 strands coriander leaves
1/2 cup yogurt
1 big + 1 small cardamom
1 bay leaf
3 green chillies
1 tea spn ginger
1 tea spn garlic
Few strands saffron

Spice powder(grind into powder):
1 tea spn coriander seeds
1 tea spn cumin seeds
5 cloves
1″ cinnamon
1 tea spn poppy seeds
5-6 peppercorns

Add chilli powder, turmeric, 1/2 tea spn spice powder, 2 tbl spn yogurt, salt to paneer pieces and keep aside for 2 hrs.
Heat ghee/oil and add cardamom (big and small), bay leaf, washed rice, salt. Fry for 3-4 minutes. Take the rice on a clean plate.
Grind green chillies, garlic, ginger into a paste.
Add little more oil/ghee, add paneer pieces till they turn brownish. Take them out.
In the same pan, add vegetables, ginger-garlic-chilli paste and fry till the raw smell goes off. Add yogurt, little salt and fry for few minutes.
Sprinkle chopped coriander leaves and few pinches of spice powder.
Spread half the amount of rice.
Spread few pinches of spice powder on top and then cover with remaining rice.
On top, spread few strands of saffron.
Now pour 2 cups water, cover and cook till all water is absorbed.
Preheat the oven at 300F for 10mins.
Apply some oil to a baking dish. Now add 1/2 the amount of cooked rice mixture.
Spread the fried paneer and spread remaining rice on top.
Add about 1/2 cup water. Bake in oven at 300F for about 30mins. Cover with aluminum foil.
Serve hot.

Serves : 3-4
Preparation time :60mins

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{ 36 comments… add one }

  • Nithya Shriram March 11, 2009, 9:07 pm

    neat presentation

    definitely i will try it over the weekend

  • Aruna March 11, 2009, 9:10 pm

    Wow, something different, must try over the weekend. My boys love paneer .
    Was a little busy last week, could not check the older posts.

  • vyjayanthi March 11, 2009, 11:17 pm


    1.Do the paneer pieces turn hard when they are fried browish?

    2.and final step – why 1/2 cup water to be added to the already cooked rice when placed in oven ? and you are asking it bake for about 30 minutes – Don’t they get overboiled? or you mean to say u have to halfboil the rice the previous step?

    thanks & regards

    Shilpa: 2 cups of water for 1 and 1/2 cups of rice does not cook the rice completely. When you cook it till water is absorbed on stove top, the rice still needs more cooking and more water. THats why 1/2 cup water is added while baking which continues cooking. You can add more water if required. No, paneer does not get hard because you are not cooking it for long. They are just cooked till the masalas are browned which happens pretty quick.

  • Mitushi Banerjee March 12, 2009, 12:31 am

    m son loves paneer and thursday is veg day so i am going to try this. thanks very timely!

  • Meenal Mehta March 12, 2009, 12:56 am

    HI Shilpa,

    My name is Meenal and we used to link back to each other in the past and then I disappeared.I have returned from the dead to not go back again:) Wanted to drop by and say hello and wish you a Happy holi


  • zobars March 12, 2009, 1:10 am

    good lookin cookin Shilpa…..cannot wait to try this soon…thanx for sharing

  • sowmya venkatesh March 12, 2009, 1:41 am

    hmmmm……interesting… Thanks for sharing, Shilpa..

  • Alka March 12, 2009, 4:31 am

    Ooo I am feeling so hungry now….absolutely lovely biryani, hot ,spicy and flavorful…just the way i loveeeee

  • Sushma March 12, 2009, 7:03 am

    hey good one. I tried it out and came out really well. I grilled the paneer instead of frying. In the end garnished it with deep fried onion rings and some dry grapes. your spice powder is sort of same for many dishes but still it gives differetn taste in different preparations.

  • Asha March 12, 2009, 7:37 am

    Oh my! Such a gorgeous looking Paneer Biryani. trisha would love it, book marked! :)

    Take your time Shilpa, no problem. We are all busy these days, specially it seems like it’s birthday season for most of us! Have a fun weekend, we are busy too as you know! :)

  • Vitz March 12, 2009, 7:37 am

    good one shil..

  • sampada March 12, 2009, 11:34 am

    hey shilpa,
    This looks great. will have to try some time. i am visiting ur site first time. you have a great site here. snapshots are really great..here in U.S. to make such kind of food ingredients play an important role. here it is very hard to find ingredients. however one of my friend introduced me to a great resource http://www.myethnicworld.com. i will try it very soon. thanks for the recipe.

  • Anunaya March 12, 2009, 12:19 pm

    Hi Shilpa,

    Very descriptive presentation. Really admire ur patience.
    have to try this, this weekend.
    thanks for sharing the recipe :-)

  • Suma March 12, 2009, 1:30 pm

    Hi Shilpa,

    The recipe looks good.. I want to try the same dish with chicken though. Do I follow the same steps, and shallow fry the marinated chicken pieces with oil first? I am scared to try it because I think the chicken pieces will become dry if I do it that way. Please let me know how I can go about it.

    Shilpa: Yes, you can make with chicken, exact same steps. It is like making kababs first and then adding them to biryani. So it should be fine.

  • Deepa March 12, 2009, 2:34 pm

    Wow I could smell the Biryani from the pics Shilpa….it looks really good.

  • Manasi March 12, 2009, 11:08 pm

    Awesome presentation! Love this kinda one dish meals!!!

  • Smitha March 13, 2009, 12:07 am

    I dont have a oven how do i prepare this?

    Shilpa: You can cook completely on stove top and skip the baking step. Add the paneer pieces after it is cooked. Do not add too much water, use about 1 and 1/2 times the rice and cook on low temperature. If needed you can add more water.

  • Sandra D'Sa March 13, 2009, 1:18 am

    Hi shilpa,

    Very impressive presentation and I admire your enthu in sharing something you do. I am working mother with 2 boys (7 and 9 yrs) and I used to just hate cooking till I chanced upon your site. Many grateful thanks to you !

    One question: In case I do not want to bake the paneer biryani what is the qty of water I need to use instead of 1.5 cups?


    Shilpa: Use about 1 and 1/2 times the rice amount. Cook it on a low temperature. (if required, you can add more water)

  • Arch March 13, 2009, 9:20 am

    Super looking biryani…your blog is like a ready reference on cooking !! this looks really tempting…

  • Purnima March 13, 2009, 11:15 am


  • Chetna March 13, 2009, 4:54 pm

    Hi Shilpa

    You do have patience Shilpa to come back from work and try such exotic recipes…

    The recipe looks yummy, but I doubt if I have the patience to try this on a weekday – marinating paneer for 2 hours !!

    Will definitely try this on a weekend though..

    Not a day goes by when I don’t check your site for yours and aayi’s wonderful recipes…try tomake them the day I have read (as long as they are simple and easy).

    Unlike you, I don’t have the patience during weekedays !!!

    keep up the good work !!!

  • Mamatha March 14, 2009, 3:37 pm

    *Drooling* This looks SOOO good Shilpa. I’ve never used poppy seeds in Biryani, will try this method the next time I make it. The pictures are giving me some serious cravings.

  • Veena March 17, 2009, 9:18 am

    Hi Shilpa

    This was an awesome recipe! I tried it this past weekend and it turned out great! The fried paneer is what takes this cuisine up a notch!

    We could use the fried paneer as an appitizer also right?

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Usha March 17, 2009, 5:22 pm

    Love the sound of this biryani !

  • Shankari March 19, 2009, 4:35 am

    Great work!
    Biryani look yummy.
    Can you please tell me how much is 1.5cups rice in grams?

  • Geeta Sawant March 19, 2009, 5:41 pm

    I made this biryani last weekend and it turned out super tasty. I used Everest shahi biryani masala instead as I didn’t have time to make spice powder but followed the recipe exactly.
    I am going ti make pizza this weekend.

  • mala May 26, 2009, 5:45 am

    wow i will try it now thangs

  • Anu July 18, 2009, 11:06 pm

    I followed this recipe to the T and it came out good. Except I couldn’t brown the paneer as well as you did. Could be due to my pan too. Baking the rice gave it a wonderful texture. Time consuming recipe but totally worth it. Thanks

  • XOX March 13, 2010, 4:16 am

    Thanks for the recipe!!!

  • Meena November 24, 2010, 6:59 am

    super looking briyani thanxs for the receipe

  • Selvi Nagaraj July 8, 2011, 7:45 pm

    Very Tasty!

  • Suallen August 20, 2011, 6:30 am

    i liked the way of presenting the recipe with step-by-step procedures. I will prepare this for sure. Thanks.

  • santwana December 14, 2011, 1:57 am

    please tell me the first step. i could not understand about that keeping Added chilli powder, turmeric, 1/2 tea spn spice powder, 2 tbl spn yogurt, salt to paneer pieces and keeping it aside for 2 hrs.

  • santwana December 14, 2011, 1:57 am

    but the process is simple and very good.

  • Sarayu November 18, 2013, 2:49 pm

    Hi Shilpa,

    i just want to know if u could do without the oven process?
    Also, i would like to know what cream u r using for paneer butter masala. i have asked this earlier but just want to confirm. The whipped cream in walmart gives a vannila flavour. how should i find a plain one. Pls tell me the brand and the make.


    • Shilpa November 18, 2013, 4:32 pm

      Cover the lid tightly and cook on a low heat till all rice is completely cooked.
      I use Horizon Whipping cream (it is different than whipped cream) for cooking. You can use any whipping cream. It is usually near milk.

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