For the Rice Layer: Rinse rice well and soak for 30 minutes. Microwave rice along with the other ingredients listed and 1¼cups of water for 7-8 minutes. All the water should be absorbed and rice should be 70-80% cooked through. Set aside until ready to use.
For the Dal Layer: Heat 1tbsp oil & 1tbsp ghee in a saute pan; add the onions and cook until lightly browned around the edges. Next add ginger+garlic paste and cook for another minute.
Add tomato puree and cook for 2 minutes.
Add ground coriander, turmeric, red chili powder and salt to yogurt and whisk well. Add this mixture to the tomato mixture along with cooked dal. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer until the mixture thickens a little bit.
Next add half of the cilantro and mint. Mix well. Set aside.
For the Fried Onions: Onions can be deep fried or simply use store-bought fried onions (available in Indian grocery stores). I prefer caramelize onions as they add sweetness to the dish. I cook the sliced onions in 2tbsp oil on medium heat, stirring frequently until caramelized. This takes about 20-30 minutes.
To Assemble Biryani: In a heavy bottomed deep pan (I use my 6 liter pressure cooker), add 1/3 of the rice, top it with ½ of the dal mixture -- another layer of rice, remaining dal mixture and half of the fried onions -- final layer, remaining rice and fried onions. Top this with the remaining chopped mint and coriander. Cover and cook for 10 minutes on medium flame (I don't put the whistle on the pressure cooker at this point).