Paneer Biryani

Well, let me tell you about some ironies of life. Though this little space of mine is called MariasMenu, I'm terrible at deciding menus! Ohh yes… I've suggested many menus to you through posts, comments & emails. I've even helped a person decide a menu for his brother's wedding! But if I happen to invite you for lunch or dinner at our place, then all the menu-deciding power of mine magically disappears. See that's why I always say, I love preaching way more than practicing ;)  Sometimes Jose goes to the extent of even saying that he is scared to invite guests home! Because, once that's done, he knows I'll be all over the place with appetizer, main course & dessert ideas. He can expect a thousand questions bombarding him like “should I make this…” or “should I make that…”  or “do you think they will like this more than that…” and the list goes on…. You got the picture right??! Wait… you wanna say something. Ok…., ohh are you saying it sounds familiar?… you also do the same thing!? Good! I'm happy I've got company :)

Ok, now to all this confusion confistication (I dont know what that means, I simply say like that ;) ), it gets more exciting when the guests are vegetarian. From this blog, you already know that I'm more partial towards non-veg stuff. So when we invite vegetarians I'm kinda headless “chicken” running around. I always used to wish if I could make a veg equivalent of chicken biriyani, that would be great. So after a long wait, that boon was granted in the form of this paneer biriyani. When I first tried this recipe, I so badly wanted it to come out well. Because it seemed like a good panacea for my veggie one pot meal dilemma. I wasn't disappointed, in fact I was a very happy person after the first spoonful.

I'm also happy about one more thing, I always get requests for vegetable biriyani recipe, so I hope this paneer biriyani will solve that problem too. Btw, a small note before going to the recipe. Please dont be scared of coming to our place after reading this. We are more than happy to host you :) I promise not to make a drama out of it ;)

Please find the picture of Paneer Biriyani made by Deepa Joshy, based on the above recipe. Thank you so much Deepa :)

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Here is the recipe…

Paneer Biriyani
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Paneer Biriyani

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Servings: 3
Author: Maria Jose


  • 250 gms Paneer (cut into cubes (I used Amul frozen paneer))

For Masala

  • 2.5 tsp Coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp Chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp Fennel seeds
  • 1 Small piece Cinnamon
  • 3 Cloves
  • 3 cardamom
  • 3 medium – big Onion (finely sliced)
  • 1 tbsp Ginger & garlic paste (each)
  • 1 big Tomato (sliced)
  • 1/4 cup Yogurt
  • 3-4 tbsp Coriander leaves (chopped)
  • 1-2 tbsp Cashew paste (optional (refer notes))
  • Salt
  • Oil/ghee (I used sunflower oil)

For Rice

  • 1.5 cups Basmati Rice
  • 2.5 cups Water (refer notes)
  • Salt ( to taste)

For Garnishing

  • 1 medium Onion (finely sliced & fried)
  • A handful of Fried Cashews & raisins
  • Ghee
  • Coriander & Mint leaves


  • Masala Preparation
  • Grind together masala powders (coriander+turmeric+chilli powder) + fennel seeds with 1 tbsp water to a fine paste. Keep it aside. Crush the whole spices (cinnamon+cardamom+cloves). Heat ghee/oil in a deep bottom pan & add the crushed whole spices. Add finely sliced onions & salt to this. Cook till the onions become golden brown in colour. Add ginger & garlic paste. Cook for 3-4 mins. Add the ground masala paste to this & cook till the raw smell goes, it will take around 2-3 mins. Add sliced tomato & cook. When oil starts appearing add yogurt & chopped coriander leaves. Mix well. Add paneer cubes to this & cover & cook for 5-7 mins. If you are using cashew paste, add at this stage. Cook for a few more minutes & remove from fire.
  • Rice Preparation
  • I cooked the rice in the normal method & drained the excess water. That’s why I didnt mention the qty of water in the recipe. Make sure you dont over cook the rice, since you will be baking it later. I didnt add any garam/whole masala while cooking the rice. I just added salt. However if you want to cook rice in the traditional biriyani style, you can see it here.
  • Layering the biriyani
  • Preheat the oven to 180 degree, 10 minutes before baking the biriyani. Apply some ghee to a baking dish. Put one layer of rice in the dish. On top of that spread some masala and make another layer. Again spread another layer of rice on top of the masala. Repeat the process until the masala and rice is finished. The top layer should be of rice. You can drizzle ghee & sprinkle coriander & mint leaves in between the layers. Cover the dish with a wet cloth. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes.
  • Alternative method:
  • If you dont have an oven to bake the biriyani, do the following method.
  • Layer the rice and masala in a greased heavy bottomed vessel/non stick pan & cover it with a tight lid.
  • Heat a thava/dosa kallu, when it is really hot, place the biriyani vessel on top of that. Reduce the heat to the lowest flame & cook for 20-25 mins. Keep the heat at the lowest flame throughout, otherwise it might get burnt.
  • Also place a pan of boiling water on top of the biriyani vessel at the same time.
  • Garnish the biriyani with fried onions, cashews & raisins & coriander & mint leaves.


I prefer the rice to hold it's shape and not mushy, so I've used 2.5 cups water. 
You can also use mushroom instead of paneer or a combination of paneer & mushroom. The original recipe uses a combination of paneer & mushroom. However I’ve made this only with paneer. I use ghee only for greasing the baking dish. For everything else, I use sunflower oil. For cashew paste, soak around 10 cashews in 2 tbsp hot water for 10-15 mins. Grind to a smooth paste. Recipe adapted from Vanitha
Tried this recipe? Let others know by…mentioning @mariasmenu or tagging #mariasmenu
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      • Thanks Maria .
        Couldn’t wait nd tried the recipe yesterday . The rice was good . But paneer didn’t take any masala. It was mild . But v enjoyed it . As we are hardcore non veg , rarely try veg recipes . Want to try ur veg biriyani now :)
        Thanks again

  • Hi Unnimaya,

    Sorry for the delayed reply. I was away on a trip..

    For paneer biriyani, I cooked the rice using the regular method, just like how me make rice everyday. For chicken biriyani, I’ve used spices for cooking rice.

    If you want, for paneer biriyani, you can cook the rice as per chicken biriyani recipe and follow the rest of the paneer biriyani recipe.

    Hope I didnt confuse you more..


  • Hi Maria..

    Sorry if my question sounds crazy.. can the same recipe be used for making chicken biriyani..I mean by adding the cashews and all.. I really liked the taste of the masala when I made paneer biriyani using your recipe..and hence the question :)

  • Hi Harsha,

    First of all congrats on your wedding! Wish you and Saji a happy and blessed married life!

    Thank you so much for your wonderful comment! It made my day :)
    Great to know that you find the site really helpful. Please keep trying the recipes and I do hope you continue to enjoy cooking recipes from here.

    Have fun cooking :)


  • Hi Maria,
    One more to add to the umpteen number of recipes i have tried from ur website .. awesome .. why dont you post the recipe for our very own kerala porotta

    • Hi Lakshmi,

      Thanks a bunch dear :) Let me see whether I can come up with porotta recipe, I’ve asked one of my friends to share it. Hope it works out soon.


  • hi Maria,
    can i not use tomatoes in this recipe? I want to make this for a friend who has recovered from a kidney stone and she is forbidden to eat tomatoes..pls help!! :)

    • Hi keerti,

      So sorry for the delayed reply. I’m on vacation now, so I dont check mails frequently :(

      did you make this? I havent tried making it without tomato, but may be you can try and use lemon juice instead or increase the qty of yogurt in the recipe.


  • Hi Maria…

    Today I made the biriyani (veg version) just one more time…its has become my std menu whenever there is guest at home..and its only getting better… and invariably I talk about you and ur recipes when I get praised for the taste. :) Thanks Maria.. for ur time, effort and ur great mind to share it all with others… :)



    • Hi Indu,

      Thank you so much dear for the lovely comment :) It’s a pleasure to know that you make this regularly. It’s so nice of you to share the website with your friends, thanks a bunch dear.

      Wish you a beautiful new year!


    • Hi Indu,

      Thank you so much dear for the lovely comment :) It’s a pleasure to know that you make this regularly. It’s so nice of you to share the website with your friends, thanks a bunch dear.

      Wish you a beautiful new year!






  • first of all, i should say a big sorry to you bcoz i hd already tried many of your recipes and am already a fan of u, but never bothered to say thanks to u. i hd tried this paneer biryani, masala pulao, dahi idli, kovakka thoran, erissery, pavakka kichdi and many…. thank you so much for ur recipes….
    i always feel little envy on you to hv such a gr8 cousin like ur “tessa chechi…” :)
    i didn’t try much of your non-veg curries, as my husband is a prefered vegeterian. anyways need to try that too… and i like ur writing style also…. Thanks a lot….

    • Hi Deepthi,

      Thanks a bunch dear for the lovely comment! No need to say sorry n all :) I’m actually thrilled to see the list of recipes you’ve tried from here..

      Btw, Tesschechi is my aunt and not cousin :) I’ll tell ehr about your comment, she will be evry happy..

      Hope you get to try some non veg recipes too..


  • hi maria long time i hav send a does nt mean i hav not been trying any recipes..i hav tried ur beef recipes which was of course very goood…here my doubt is will cookin paneer will loose its soft texture…

    • Hi Sharika,

      how are you? Nice to know that you keep trying recipes from here, thanks dear..

      Paneer doesn’t become hard usually while cooking, but once it’s cold it may become hard. Just heat it again and it will be soft.


  • Sorry Bhuvana, my reply comes delayed :( I was away on a trip, so I wasnt checking mails…

    However, I may not be able to give you measurements off handedly also :(

    Btw, I do hope you had a great time on Saturday.


  • Hi Maria,I tried this biryani for dinner…it was very tasty,,i could not get it done by the oven though i followed the i used my microwave to get it cooked after the layering..

    It was very tasty every one liked it very much..:)
    thanks for the post keep posting..

    • Hi Bhuvana,

      Thank you dear :) I’m happy that it came out well for you. I’m not sure why it didnt work in the oven, anyways glad that the end result turned out well :)


    • Hi Bhuvana,

      Thank you dear :) I’m happy that it came out well for you. I’m not sure why it didnt work in the oven, anyways glad that the end result turned out well :)


    • Hi Bhuvana,

      Thank you dear :) I’m happy that it came out well for you. I’m not sure why it didnt work in the oven, anyways glad that the end result turned out well :)


  • This looks great! I am from Brazil and loved to find your blog with so many indian recipes, the only sad thing is that here I can’t find all that cooking powders, I will have to make this is brazilian style (which might be a good idea so it won’t be sooooo spicy)! :-)

    • Hi Anni,

      Thank you so much for dropping by! Please check out any Asian/Indian stores in your area. I do hope you get to try some of these recipes & like them too…

      Wish you a Merry Xmas!


  • Hi Daisy,

    I use a standard measuring cup & not a tea cup, I guess that’s why the qty of rice was less. I’m glad that you like the recipes posted here. I do hope you get to try more recipes & like them too…

    Wish you a Merry Xmas in advance!


  • hi maria, 
    tried ur paneer biriyani and its really yummy, only thing is that when i made the quantity of rice was less, i think may be because it was a teacup measure… that so?…..i also tried ur kovekka peera pattichattu n it was just awesome…..i recently discovered ur site n i found it gr8….i have to venture more of ur recipes…..i like the way u describe it, which makes it easier for even an amateur in cooking to understand…..God bless u dear…..

  • I tried the paneer biriyani….it is really yummy, that’s how my son described abt it…..thankyou so much……God bless u

  • Hi Maria,
    i have tried this paneer Biriani..this recipe worked well, it was very tasty and variety veg dish..!!! Me and my hubby loved it..:)Thanks for the recipe!..hpe more variety veg dishes from u…:)

  • Hi Maria,
    i am new to your site..Just tried this paneer biryani yesterday and i loved it very much. However it wasn’t very spicy maybe bcoz i used Kashmiri red chilli pwd. Next time will add a couple of green chillis too. Also i used 1.5 american measuring cups of rice to make this dish..

  • Hello Maria!
    I’ve tried many of your recipes- the latest being ‘paneer biriyani’ ! Must say,like all the other recipes I’ve tried,this too turned out awesome :)My husband who is a ‘pure non-veg’  and usually runs away from biriyani without any form of meat in it, was truly impressed & asking for more =)
    Thank u for giving us a wonderful collection of recipes =)


    • Hi Sameera,

      This sounds very familiar to me. Even Jose, my husband, refuses to taste biriyani that doesnt have meat. Somehow I tried (forced ;)) him to taste this & surprisingly he also asked for more.

      Thank you so much for trying this recipe & also for sharing your feedback here. Its nice to know that it came out well.


  • Hi Maria,

    This is another Maria here, ur paneer biriyani looks really good…will give it a try and let u knw..Pinne epoola veetil varande ennu parayutoo..varam:)

  • Hi Maria,

    This is the first time I am commenting on one of your food recipes…though to be honest I have tried quite a few of your recipes and loved each one of them. Tried Paneer Biryani yesterday and it was absolutely awesome..Loved it..Not just me but my hubby too loved it. Thank you so much for sharing such wonderful recipes.

    Priya Joby

    • Hi Priya,

      Its a pleasure to know that the biriyani came out well for you! Thank you so much for taking time to share your feedback here, appreciate it very much :)


  • even am like u. confused like what to make & if others will like it or not. i would ask my hubby a 100 times like how the dish is & he’s my food critic :)

  • Lovely biriyani..will try it out soon…I feel exactly the same as you have scribbled here…If the guests coming over are non-veggies Im very happy and not much confusions. But for veggie friends, even I keep asking my hubby about what to cook :-)

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