Biryani is a medley of rice, vegetables (or meat) & spices and is popular among Indians & other south Asians. Traditionally biryani is cooked over hot coal in a sealed cooking pot allowing the aroma of spices permeated into the vegetables & rice (this method of cooking in low heat is known as “Dum” process). But nowadays we can cook biryani using slow cooker or as shown in this post.
Although I like both pressure-cooked biryani & dum biryani equally, I am so exhilarated to find every grain of Basmati rice nicely puffed out during dum process. I never miss to add paneer (cottage cheese) in dum biryani as paneer can be enjoyed at its best form in terms of texture, flavor & taste.
Now the recipe for paneer dum biryani is as below:
- Basmati rice – 1½ cups
- Paneer – 100 g
- Any neutral oil – 1/3 cup
- Bay leaf – 1 No.
- Star Aniseed – 1 No.
- Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
- Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
- Curd – ½ cup
- Saffron (soaked in a tbsp of warm milk) – few strands
- Salt – 1½ tsp
- Onion (minced ) – 2 Nos.
- Ripe tomatoes – 2 Nos.
- Carrot (large) – 1 No.
- Beans – 10 Nos.
- Fresh peas – ¾ cup
- Potato (medium sized) – 1 No.
- Mint leaves – a handful
- Onion – 1 No.
- Green chillies – 4 Nos.
- Ginger – 2″ piece
- Garlic – 8 Nos.
- Cloves – 9 Nos.
- Cardamom – 2 Nos.
- Cinnamon – 2 Nos. (each 1″)
Preparing vegetables & spice mix: (Time taken: 10 min) Wash vegetables and chop them as shown below and grind spices into a smooth paste without adding water.
Biryani rice: (Time taken: 10 min) Wash & cook rice as shown below after adding half a teaspoon of salt and keep aside.
Biryani Masala: (Time taken: 10 min)
- Heat a heavy bottom cooking pot with oil in medium flame.
- Fry bay leaves & star aniseed for few seconds.
- Add minced onions & paneer cubes and saute until onions are caramelized.
- Add all chopped vegetables, red chilli powder & turmeric powder and stir fry for 30 seconds.
- Add half a teaspoon of salt and mix well.
- Add chopped tomatoes & spice-mix and saute until amalgamated.
- Add mint leaves, curd & half a teaspoon of salt and cook in low flame for a minute.
- Remove from heat and keep aside.
Dum Process: (Time taken: 15 min)
- Heat a cast-iron dosa tawa and place the same cooking pot on top of it enabling biryani cooked in low heat.
- First we start with a layer of vegetables followed by rice and again another layer of vegetables & rice.
- Finally pour saffron milk and close the pot with a lid.
- Seal the pot using wheat flour (or plain flour) dough to prevent the steam escape.
- Place a heavy object over the lid to keep it in its place.
- Simmer for 15 minutes and remove from heat.
- Open the pot after scraping the hard dough.
- Gently mix rice & vegetables with a wooden spatula.
- Serve hot paneer biryani with raita of your choice.
Tips & Tweaks:
- It is preferred to use long grains of Basmati rice for Dum process.
- You can also add vegetables like baby potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli and butter beans (pea beans) that taste extremely delicious in dum biryani.
- Authentic dum biryani recipe uses thinly sliced onion than minced onion. But I prefer to use minced onion as it requires less oil to caramelize them.
- Since dum process does not require much oil you may reduce it to ¼ cup; oil is required here only to speed up the caramelizing process of onion.