paneer biryani recipe, how to prepare paneer biryani

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paneer biryani recipe

mildly spiced and delicately flavored paneer biryani.

4.77 from 21 votes
total time:
65minutes

paneer biryani recipe with step by step photos – mildly spiced and delicious dum cooked layered paneer biryani. i have been wanting to post a recipe of paneer biryani from a long time. finally adding the recipe. i have already posted paneer pulao recipe.

paneer biryani recipe, paneer biryani

this paneer dum biryani recipe is very different than any paneer biryani recipe you must have seen or read. here i have just marinated the paneer cubes, layered with cooked rice and then dum cooked. so no gravy is made before. the paneer cubes do not become dense or hard as we are not cooking them twice.

easy in a way, but there is some prep work like frying the onions, which is also known as birista and cooking the rice. after that its just tightly cooking the layered biryani in a pot or in the oven. you can also check this easy paneer biryani in pressure cooker.

the paneer biryani is mild and delicately flavored. so not spicy or hot. serve paneer biryani with raita like a onion-tomato raita or cucumber raita or boondi raita. you can also serve with sliced onion-lime salad or onion-tomato-cucumber salad.

if you are looking for more biryani varieties then do check:

paneer biryani recipe
4.77 from 21 votes
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paneer biryani recipe

mildly spiced and delicately flavored paneer biryani.
course main course
cuisine awadhi, north indian
prep time 45 minutes
cook time 20 minutes
total time 1 hour 5 minutes
servings 2 to 3
rough calories per serving 1052 kcal
author dassana amit

ingredients (1 cup = 250 ml)

for birista or fried onions

  • 2 medium to large onions Or 150 grams onions Or about 1 cup thinly sliced onions
  • 4 tablespoon oil or ghee

for cooking biryani rice

  • 1 cup basmati rice or 180 grams of basmati rice
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 inch cinnamon (dalchini)
  • 1 medium tej patta or 2 small tej patta (indian bay leaf)
  • 2 to 3 cloves (lavang)
  • 2 to 3 green cardamoms (chotti elachi)
  • ¼ teaspoon shahjeera (caraway seeds)

for paneer marination

  • 200 to 250 grams paneer (cottage cheese)
  • 8 tablespoon curd (yogurt or dahi)
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste Or 1 inch ginger crushed to a paste in a mortar-pestle
  • 1 teaspoon garlic paste Or 4 to 5 garlic cloves crushed to a paste in a mortar-pestle
  • 2 green chilies, chopped Or 1 teaspoon chopped green chilies
  • 1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves (dhania patta)
  • ½ tablespoon chopped mint leaves (pudina patta)
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder (haldi)
  • ¼ teaspoon red chili powder (lal mirch powder)
  • ¼ teaspoon garam masala powder
  • ½ teaspoon coriander powder (dhania powder)
  • ¼ teaspoon shahjeera (caraway seeds)
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • salt as required

layering ingredients for paneer biryani

  • 3 tablespoon milk
  • 16 to 18 saffron strands (kesar)
  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • 1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves (dhania patta)
  • ½ tablespoon chopped mint leaves (pudina patta)

how to make paneer biryani recipe

cooking rice for paneer biryani

  1. rinse basmati rice very well in water till the starch clears from the water. the water should be clear and not cloudy or opaque. 

  2. then soak the rice in water for 30 minutes. later drain the rice well and keep aside.

  3. bring 4 cups water to a rolling boil in a pot.
  4. add whole spices - 1 inch cinnamon, 1 medium bay leaf or 2 small bay leaves, 2 to 3 cloves , 2 to 3 green cardamoms & 1/4 tsp shahjeera/caraway seeds. also add 1 tsp salt.
  5. now add the soaked rice. do not stir the rice.
  6. keep the flame to high and cook the rice without lowering the temperature.
  7. the rice grains have to be cooked till 75% or 3/4th. they should have a bite to them when eaten.
  8. drain the rice in a colander. you can also rinse the rice grains to remove starch if any and to stop the grains from cooking. cover with a lid and keep the rice aside.

making birista or fried onions for paneer biryani

  1. when the rice is soaking, prep the ingredients for the biryani. slice 2 medium onions. heat 4 tbsp oil or ghee in a small frying pan and add the sliced onions.
  2. stir and begin to fry the onions till they turn golden. add one or two pinches of salt for quick browning of the onions. stir often for uniform browning and fry on a low flame.
  3. here the onions have begun to get golden.
  4. once the onions become golden, then remove them with a slotted spoon and place them on kitchen paper towels. keep the fried onions aside.

preparation of marination and layering ingredients for biryani

  1. warm 4 tbsp milk on stove top or in the microwave. add 16 to 18 saffron strands to the milk. stir and keep aside.
  2. whisk 8 tbsp fresh full fat curd (yogurt) in a mixing bowl till smooth.

  3. add 1 tsp ginger paste, 1 tsp garlic paste, 1 tsp chopped green chilies, 1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves and 1/2 tbsp chopped mint leaves to the mix well.
  4. now add the spices- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder, 1/4 tsp red chili powder, 1/4 tsp garam masala powder, 1/2 tsp coriander powder, 1/4 tsp shahjeera/caraway seeds, 1 tsp lime juice
  5. and salt as required. mix again.
  6. then add the 1/2 of the fried onions and paneer cubes.
  7. mix gently. cover and keep the marinated paneer aside for 30 minutes.

assembling and layering paneer biryani

  1. add the same oil in which we fried the onions to a pan or pot.
  2. add the marinated paneer and layer neatly.
  3. make a rice layer now. add all the rice. i have just made two layers. if you want you can make 4 layers.
  4. add the remaining fried onions, 1 tbsp chopped coriander and 1/2 tbsp mint leaves.
  5. sprinkle the saffron flavored and colored milk.
  6. dot with 1 tbsp ghee. you can also add 1 tsp of rose water or kewra water.

dum cooking paneer biryani

  1. cover with a foil or with a moist cloth.
  2. place the lid tightly on the pan and place it on a tava or griddle. for the first 5 minutes dum cook the paneer biryani on a medium flame. 

  3. then lower the flame and cook the paneer biryani

  4. on dum for 12 to 15 minutes. you can also cook the paneer biryani in a preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes at 180 degrees celsius. use an oven proof pan.

  5. serve the paneer biryani hot with boondi raita or cucumber raita or onion tomato raita or kuchumber salad.

recipe notes

tips and variations for paneer biryani

  • you can add some steamed peas and steamed veggies like carrots, cauliflower, potatoes. but then you will have to increase the curd and other spices accordingly to accommodate the veggies.
  • the paneer cubes can be marinated overnight in the refrigerator.
  • for frozen paneer, thaw them in warm water for some minutes and then slice.
  • the birista or fried onions can be made a day before and then stored in an air tight container.
  • for a vegan version of paneer biryani, use tofu, oil and a dairy free yogurt & milk like cashew or almond milk/yogurt. avoid soy or peanut yogurt as it gives an after taste.
  • fried cashews and raisins can also be added in the layers.

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preparation to make paneer biryani recipe

1. rinse basmati rice very well in water till the starch clears from the water. the water should be clear and not cloudy or opaque. then soak the rice in water for 30 minutes.

basmati rice for paneer biryani recipe

2. when the rice is soaking, prep the ingredients for the biryani. thinly slice 2 medium onions. heat 4 tbsp oil or ghee in a small frying pan and add the sliced onions.

onions for paneer biryani recipe

3. stir and begin to fry the onions till they turn golden. add one or two pinches of salt for quick browning of the onions. stir often for uniform browning and fry on a low flame.

sauting onions for paneer biryani recipe

4. here the onions have begun to get golden.

sauting onions for paneer biryani recipe

5. once the onions become golden, then remove them with a slotted spoon and place them on kitchen paper towels. keep the fried onions aside. these crisp golden fried onions are also known as birista. keep the oil or ghee in which we fried the onions aside. we will be using this oil or ghee while layering the biryani.

onions for paneer biryani recipe

6. warm 4 tbsp milk on stove top or in the microwave. add 16 to 18 saffron strands to the milk. stir and keep aside.

saffron for paneer biryani recipe

7. whisk 8 tbsp fresh full fat curd/yogurt in a mixing bowl till smooth.

milk for paneer biryani recipe

8. add 1 tsp ginger paste, 1 tsp garlic paste, 1 tsp chopped green chilies, 1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves and ½ tbsp chopped mint leaves. mix well.

curd for paneer biryani recipe

9. now add the spices – ¼ tsp turmeric powder, ¼ tsp red chili powder, ¼ tsp garam masala powder, ½ tsp coriander powder, ¼ tsp shahjeera/caraway seeds, 1 tsp lime juice and salt as required. mix again.

spices for paneer biryani recipe

10. then add the ½ of the fried onions and paneer cubes.

add paneer cubes

11. mix gently. cover and keep the marinated paneer aside for 30 minutes at room temperature. if marinating the paneer for a longer time, then keep in the fridge.

marinated paneer for biryani

cooking rice for paneer biryani

12. meanwhile here our rice is soaked after 30 minutes. drain the rice well and keep aside.

rice for paneer biryani recipe

13. bring 4 cups water to a rolling boil in a pot.

water for paneer biryani recipe

14. add whole spices – 1 inch cinnamon, 1 medium bay leaf or 2 small bay leaves, 2 to 3 cloves , 2 to 3 green cardamoms & ¼ tsp shahjeera/caraway seeds.

spices for paneer biryani recipe

15. add 1 tsp salt.

salt for paneer biryani recipe

16. now add the soaked rice.

add rice for paneer biryani recipe

17. do not stir and you will see the temperature drops a bit after adding rice. also do not cover the pan.

making paneer biryani recipe

18. keep the flame to high and cook the rice without lowering the tempearature.

cooking paneer biryani recipe

19. the rice grains have to be cooked till they 75% or ¾th done. they should have a bite to them when eaten.

cooked rice for paneer biryani recipe

20. drain the rice in a colander. you can also rinse the rice grains gently to remove starch if any and to stop the grains from cooking. cover with a lid and keep the rice aside.

rice for paneer biryani recipe

21. this is the marinated paneer after 30 minutes.

marinated paneer for paneer biryani
layering paneer biryani

22. add the same oil in which we fried the onions to a thick bottomed pan or pot. if cooking the biryani in an oven, then add the oil to an oven safe glass bowl or pan.

making paneer biryani recipe

23. add the marinated paneer and layer neatly.

add marinated paneer

24. make a rice layer now. add all the rice. i have just made two layers. if you want you can make 4 layers.

rice layer for paneer biryani recipe

25. add the remaining fried onions.

coriander for paneer biryani recipe

26. now add 1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves and ½ tbsp mint leaves.

milk for paneer biryani recipe

27. sprinkle the saffron flavored and colored milk all over.

ghee for paneer biryani recipe

28. dot with 1 tbsp ghee. you can also add 1 tsp of rose water or kewra water.

ghee for paneer biryani recipe

dum cooking paneer biryani

29. cover with a foil or with a moist cloth.

covered paneer biryani recipe

30. place the lid tightly on the pan and place it on a tava or griddle.

covered paneer biryani recipe

31. for the first 5 minutes dum cook the paneer biryani on a medium flame. then lower the flame and cook the paneer biryani on dum for 12 to 15 minutes. you can also cook the biryani in a preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes at 180 degrees celsius/350 degrees fahrenheit.

cooking paneer biryani recipe

32. here’s the paneer biryani after being dum cooked for 20 minutes.

cooked paneer biryani recipe

serve the paneer biryani hot or warm with raita like onion tomato raita or boondi raita or cucumber raita. for more delicious paneer recipes you can check this collection of 91 paneer recipes.

paneer biryani

dassana amit
Founder, Designer, Recipe Developer, Food Photographer ||

i started vegrecipesofindia.com in feb 2009. it is a pure vegetarian blog and shares recipes with step by step photos that will help you to make delicious and tasty vegetarian food easily.

i am passionate about cooking from childhood and learnt cooking from my elders. having a home science degree surely enhanced my cooking & baking skills which i now share as fool proof recipes on the blog. i am trained both in mainstream indian as well as international cuisines.


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82 comments/reviews

  1. Can we put the paneer masala and rice layers twice?

    • yes you can do this way.

  2. Hi dassana aunty ,
    I’m madhuri and I’m 13 years old .I love to cook and experiment with various recipes.By Far your blog is my favourite and easy to understand.I have tried most of your recipes and my family has appreciated me a lot.Recently I.tried this paneer biryani and it came out really awesome.So thank you so much for you recipes 🙂

    • Welcome Madhuri. Glad to know that you like the blog and recipes are liked by everyone. Thanks for your positive feedback.

  3. dasanna,tried this recipe its good ..but it burnt a little at the bottom..few paneer pieces are burnt..I used thick sandwiched bottom pot…and cooked twenty minutes …

    • shree, did you keep a tawa below the pan. usually when making any biryani, always keep a tawa on the flame. then place the pan or pot on the tawa. this way the heat is distributed evenly and the biryani does not get burnt. a couple of times, i have also used thick bottomed sandwiched pan and on occasions the base has got slightly burned. in fact today only i made biryani 🙂

      hope this helps you shree.

  4. whats the meaning of dum cooking..

  5. is it okay if the curd has become a little sour

    • little sour is fine, but if too much sour, then no add. you can also mix some milk or cream in the curd, to reduce the sourness.

  6. I tried this biryani and the taste was awesome except for a little bitter taste initially when we put it inside the mouth. What do you think could be the reason for the bitter taste and what would you suggest to avoid in future?

    • thanks shruthi. must be because of the onions getting browned too much.

  7. i made this for my friends nd they just loved this a lot…. nd even i liked it nd especially my brother bcz he loves panner… nd thanx a lot for this yummy recipes… my friends were continously telling me that sanjana its awsmm… nd i was feeligs sooo happy.. ????????
    thanx once more…

    • very pleased to know this sanjana thankyou for your kind words. glad to know your friend’s liked the paneer biryani always stay happy!

  8. I tried this recipe yesterday, it ‘s so tasty.Thank you..

    • thankyou navitha 🙂

  9. i am going to try this right now for my dinner………..can i ask u a question???? i want to make chicken soup …i know u r a vegetarian but can u suggest any book or anything else from where i can learn to make chicken soup…….i hope u dnt mind

    • during my home science course, i have made chinese chicken soups. you can follow any of the chinese soup recipes on the website and substitute chicken with veggies. either you saute the chicken first or cook first and then add to the soup. do use the stock in which you cook the chicken. its many many years now that i don’t cook chicken. but i do know the method used and i have only made chinese style soups.

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