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Makhani Paneer Biryani

Author: Pavani
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Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: north indian
Servings: 4 servings


For the Rice Layer:

  • 1 cup Basmati Rice
  • 2 tsp Oil
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 3 Cardamom pods
  • 3 Cloves
  • 1" Cinnamon stick ½
  • cups Water
  • To taste Salt

For the Makhani Paneer Layer:

  • 2 tbsp Oil
  • 1 tbsp Ghee
  • 1 cup Paneer, cubed
  • 2 Cardamom pods
  • 2 Cloves
  • 1 Mace
  • 1" Cinnamon stick
  • 1 medium Onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp Ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 cup Tomato puree
  • ½ tsp Turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp Ground Cumin
  • ½ tsp Ground Coriander
  • 1 tsp Tandoori Masala
  • 2 tbsp Almond/ Cashew paste (soak either of the nuts and then grind to a smooth paste. I used almond butter instead)
  • ¼ cup Cream/ Whole Milk
  • To taste Salt

For Garnish:

  • 2 tbsp Almonds, roasted and chopped
  • 2 tbsp Cashews, roasted and chopped
  • ¼ cup Cilantro, chopped
  • ¼ cup Mint, chopped
  • ½ cup Fried Onions


For the Rice Layer:

  • Rinse the rice and soak for at least 30 minutes.
  • Heat oil in a heavy bottom pan, add the whole spices and once they start to get fragrant, then add the drained rice and fry for 2 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid sticking to the pan.
  • Next add water and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat, cover and cook for 10~15 minutes or until the water is absorbed and rice is about 90%~95% cooked through.
  • Take the pan off the heat and let it rest for 10 minutes.

For the Makhani Paneer Layer:

  • Heat oil and ghee in a large nonstick pan, gently add the paneer pieces and fry till they are slightly brown on all sides. Don’t overcook the paneer at this stage, overcooking will result in very chewy paneer. Remove the paneer using a slotted spoon onto a plate and set aside.
  • In the same pan, add all the whole spices and once they get aromatic, add the onions, green chilies and ginger-garlic paste. Cook on medium flame until the onions turn lightly browned.
  • Add turmeric, ground cumin, coriander, tandoori masala and salt. Cook for 1 minute.
  • Next add the tomato puree, mix well; cover and cook for 7~10 minutes.
  • Stir in the almond paste and cream. Mix well and add the fried paneer. Cover and simmer for 6~8 minutes. The makhani layer is ready to be layered.

To Assemble:

  • Preheat the oven to 400F. Lightly grease a baking pan with cooking spray.
  • Spread ⅓rd of the rice in the bottom of the pan, then top it with ½ of the paneer mixture. Sprinkle ½ of the toasted nuts, fried onions and chopped herbs.
  • Repeat the layers with rice and paneer mixture. Top the paneer layer with the remaining ⅓rd of the rice and sprinkle the top with ½ of the toasted nuts, fried onions and chopped herbs. Cover the pan tightly with a foil and bake for 15~18 minutes or until the rice is completely tender. Serve with raita and enjoy!!
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