Paneer Vegetable Biryani


India’s most favorite party food has always been this delightful, grainy, fluffy, and colorful rice flavored with spices, herbs, and plenty of vegetables or different meats, all combined to give you a divine taste of unforgettable Biryani. My childhood was rough at times, but it lifted all our spirits when mom made Biryani at home. My Grandfather was an amazing cook and a full-time teacher. He owned a small canteen where he would feed hungry students for free. I don’t think he made much money but fed many hungry people who couldn’t stop raving about his perfection of a dish, Biryani. He taught my mother the secret recipe. She’s successfully forwarded it to my siblings and me. Now, I do the same and forward it to the world.

Vegetarian Biryani has many variations; this one is inspired by the original Biryani recipe that my ancestors handed down.

Paneer Vegetable Biryani

Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat
Rating: 2.9/5
( 9 voted )


  • 1 pack of fried paneer blocks (Nanak brand is great)
  • 1 cauliflower chopped into small pieces
  • 1 tomato chopped
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 Yukon gold potatoes (peeled and chopped in cubes)
  • 2 cups combined of frozen or fresh (carrots, peas, and green beans)
  • 4 tablespoon of oil or ghee
  • 2 cups of Basmati rice (To partially boil the rice, you need 2 teaspoons of cumin seeds, 2 cardamom pods, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 bay leaf, and lemon peel)
  • 2 tablespoons of Ginger garlic cilantro paste (OR Ginger garlic paste)
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon food coloring/ Kesar in 2 tablespoons of milk
  • 1 tablespoon of red chili powder, cumin powder, garam masala, coriander powder, red curry powder, and turmeric powder.
  • 1/2 cup of yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice OR half a lemon squeezed
  • 10 cups of water to boil the rice.
  • 2 tablespoons of Chopped cilantro and dry fruits (cashews and raisins)


  1. In a nonstick pot add 2 tablespoons of oil or ghee and fry the onions until golden brown.
  2. Set the fried onions aside, then in the same oil, fry the potatoes with a pinch of salt and set aside.
  3. In a large pot, start boiling the water up to a rapid boil. Add the lemon peels, 2 tablespoons of salt, 2 teaspoon cumin seeds, 1 cinnamon stick, and a bay leaf. (optional) Add a tablespoon of ghee to the water. Add the rinsed rice to the boiling pot and cook for about 6 mins, which is halfway.
  4. While the rice is boiling, in another pot, add the chopped vegetables (paneer, tomatoes, cauliflower and frozen veggies)
  5. Then Ginger garlic cilantro paste, add turmeric, salt, yogurt, garam masala, lemon juice, cumin powder, coriander powder, red chili, curry powder, and mix well.
  6. Add the fried onions and potatoes to the mixture, blend them well, and set aside.
  7. In a small pan, heat 2 tablespoons of ghee or oil. Once heated, throw the hot oil in the vegetable marinade and stir well. This helps to marinate the vegetables and cook them partially.
  8. Drain the rice with the help of a colander.
  9. Now, fluff the half-cooked rice over the vegetable mix and layer it on top. This helps it to be grainy and separates the rice well.
  10. Once all the rice is layered over the vegetable mix, pour Kesar milk on top.
  11. If you do not have Kesar (saffron), you can sprinkle a teaspoon of food coloring on top of the rice and a handful of chopped cilantro.
  12. Cover the pot with a wet dish towel and then put the lid on top to air-tight the biryani pot.
  13. Cook for 30 minutes of medium-low flame.
  14. Turn off the heat and let sit for 10 mins; slowly open the lid and scoop the Biryani with a wooden or steel spoon.
  15. Serve hot with Khacumbar or Raita

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