For the Rice Layer: Cook the soaked basmati rice along with the other ingredients listed under 'for rice layer' either in the microwave (with 2½ cups of water for 8~10minutes) or in the pressure cooker (with 3cups of water for 1 whistle). Rice should hold its shape and should not be mushy.
For the fried onions: Heat 2tbsp oil in a large nonstick pan; add the thinly sliced onions and cook on medium flame, until the onions are caramelized, takes about 15~20 minutes. Set aside.
For the Curry: Heat 2tbsp oil in the same pan and add the chopped onion and cook until it starts to turn lightly browned around the edges.
Add ginger-garlic paste and cook for 1 minute.
Next add the vegetables, cover and cook until they turn tender. To speed up the cooking process, I microwave the veggies until fork tender and then add them to the onion mixture.
Then add tomato puree, ground coriander, ground cumin, red chili powder. Cook for 4~5 minutes.
Finally add whisked yogurt, mint, cilantro and salt. Cook for 2~3 minutes, turn off the stove and set aside.
Assemble/ Layer the Biryani: Now that all the layers are ready, it's time to assemble the dish. In a heavy bottomed deep pan (I use a pressure cooker), add 2tsp oil. For the first layer, add 1/3rd of the rice followed by ½ of the curry mixture and ½of the fried onions. For the second layer, add 1/3rd of the rice followed by remaining ½ of the curry. For the final layer, add the remaining 1/3rd of the rice, sprinkle the remaining ½ of the fried onions and the chopped mint and cilantro. Cover the pan tightly and cook for 10~12 minutes.
Serve hot with raita or any gravy dish.