Paneer Biryani

Paneer Biryani

Paneer Biryani, unlike other regular Vegetable Biryani is an enhanced version of Pulao Rice.Perfect to make for a celebration or even as a part of weekend Menu. Also featuring my grand ‘New’ Staub Cocotte from Zwilling UK.

It has been a couple of weeks, that I have been regular with blog posts and on social media. I have been buzy with family and the new Personal Project on the card. I have the whole day planned running between  schools, hardware stores, planning and then sorting out. Oops… I will keep this with me. Just a few more days before I can actually share whats happening!!

Paneer Biryani

There is so much to do and I want to shoot but trust me its nearly a month, I actually picked my camera. Its slowly getting covered with a layer of dust. My 100 mm lens, just besides my laptop looks like show piece to me. Sometimes I realise, there are many things that have a priority in life and take an upper stand even if I didn’t want too..
These days I have been wishing the Day had 35 hours and not 24 !!!
Between soo many things, I have just realised we are in Autumn, soon in Winter. All that I know is I want to get back to regular blogging – weekly twice. Once its got onto my mind, I know it will materialise soon.

staub (2 of 4)

Moving further, a couple of months ago, the gorgeous lady at Zwilling UK offered to send me a product of my choice and I hand picked the Staub Cocotte. I was certain to pick a color/piece that is not regular and something very classy. A piece that will be the highlight on the dinning table and there will not be any need to change the cookware before serving.

When the Dark Blue 29cm Staub Cocotte  arrived in June, trust me – I kept looking at it . Gorgeously presented with the tricolor logo ribbon tied on the brass knob and the instruction booklet placed in it. Man, its heavy !! It will be because it Cast Iron.
They are Incredibly versatile – ideal for cooking stews, for slow-cooked dishes, for curries and even Rice. Food Cooked in cocotte retains ingredients full flavour and aroma and all thanks to the tight lid that encloses it.

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My first dish had be a biryani for me with the cocotte, specially because it can be finished off in the oven if needed too. Tight Lid feature helps me give my Biryani DUM ( A cooking method where Steam in choked and enables the cooking). I enjoyed the process and making Paneer Biryani in the cocotte. Food remained warm for a very long time.

The only Con to mention is that Cocotte is quite heavy with food and it can get quite hot. Remember to use your gloves or kitchen towel while handling it. And yes, its priced at 269£ , still worth it. Once in a lifetime investment, so why not!!

Paneer Biryani

Paneer Biryani, unlike other regular Vegetable Biryani is an enhanced version of Pulao Rice. Marinated Paneer is allowed to sit in a bowl for atleast 30 minutes, whilst the rice is washed and put aside to soak. If you have an airfryer, make your fried onions in an airfryer instead of frying in the pan. It is the preparation stage that is time consuming and then you will see how easy is it to put together the rest of the ingredients.

Paneer Biryani

Prep Time: 30-40 Min | Cooking Time: 25 Min| Serves 6

Paneer Biryani


Paneer Marination
500g Paneer, cubed
1.5 Cup Yogurt
Salt to taste
1 Tsp Chilli Powder
3/4 Tsp Turmeric Powder
1 Tsp Kasturi Methi ( Dried Fenugreek Leaves)
1 Tsp Garam masala
1/2 Tsp Cardamom Powder
1 Tblsp Ginger Garlic Paste
1 Tsp Coriander Leaves
1 Tsp Mint Leaves
1 Green Chillies finely Chopped is optional

Fried Onions
3 Medium Sized Onions or 2 Large Onion thinly sliced and airfryed.

2 Cups of Rice
6 Cups of Water
11/2 Tsp Salt

Whole Spices (Garam Masala’s)
1 Cinnamon Stick
3 Bay Leaves
10 Cloves
4 Cardamom
1 Black Cardamom

For layering
3 Tsp of Finely Chopped Mint Leaves
2 Pinch of Saffron soaked in 6 Tsp hot milk
1 Tsp of Cinnamon Cardamom Cloves Powder
4 Tbslpn of Butter or Ghee
Fried Onions


Paneer Marination
In a large bowl add all the ingredients for marination and set aside minimum of 30 minutes. It can stay marinated for 2 hours or so if time permits.

Prepare fried Onions
I have airfryed my Onions for a healthy alternative. If you like, you could fry them. Heat Oil in a pan and add the sliced onions. Fry them in medium flame until golden brown. Set them aside.

Rice preparation.
Wash and Rinse the rice a couple of times and allow them to sit for atleast 30 minutes.
To a large pot, add the boiling water from the kettle followed by the whole spices and Salt. Now add the rice and allow it to cook just 50%. To test, pick up one of the rice grain and check, it should break into halves. Drain all the water at this stage and set the rice aside.

To the Cocotte, add the Butter or even a combination of butter and oil. Now add the marinated Paneer and layer them tidily. Layer the paneer with all the rice. Top it with fried onions, saffron soaked in milk, Cinnamon Cardamom Cloves Powder,Finely chopped mint leaves and some more butter.
Cover with a moist cloth and then place the tight lid. Allow the rice to cook in medium flame for 5 min and then for another 5 minutes in low flame. Turn off the flame and set it aside. Since the cocotte would retain the heat, Biryani will tend to cook further .

Serve them hot along with a bowl of Onion Raita.
You could also pair Paneer Biryani wit Cucumber Raita,Plum Raita or Boondi Raita.

I had reserved a few paneer cubes from the marinated paneer and fried them on the grill. Once the biryani was ready, these paneer cubes were used as garnish.

Freelancer Food Photographer, Recipe Developer & Food Stylist

Comments (9)

  • Oh..superb clicks dear 🙂 love the presentation and i can imagine how tasty your biriyani would have been

  • This is sooo beautiful.. ..biriyani and the cookware.

  • I’m in love with the cook ware, cast iron – cant get enough of it. Lovely shot Sandy

  • Gorgeous pics…! I love ur pictures…!!! Delicious biriyani and love that cookware…!

  • Oh my sandhya! just wowww shots! loved them all and the cookware too! And the biryani looks soo tempting!

  • Nice Biryani, I have always tried Pulao and this time on Diwali I will definately try this

  • Can’t wait to try this one

  • I made it a couple of weeks ago… it turned out absolutely delicious !! I didn’t use the pan you suggested but used a normal large pan with a heavy lid, but the result was brilliant. Will definitely be making it again.

  • Perfect for the up coming festivities – the flavours sound delicious


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