Chilli Paneer Biryani
sanjcooks - Asian

Chilli Paneer Biryani

Chilli Paneer Biryani

For the Biryani

  • 2 cups of Basmati rice
  • 1 small stick of cinnamon
  • 4 Black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 12 - 15 strands of saffron
  • Half a cup of warm milk
  • 4 Banana shallots, finely sliced
  • Vegetable oil for deep frying shallots and paneer


Paneer marinade

  • 500 g Paneer, cut into medium sized cubes
  • 1 tbsp Garlic-ginger paste
  • 1½ tsps Ground coriander
  • 1 tsp Turmeric
  • 1½ tsps Kashmiri red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 heaped tablespoon Natural yoghurt
  • 1 Cup of cornflour


Paneer curry

  • 7 Garlic cloves
  • 2 inches of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 black cardamom pod
  • 2 green cardamom pods, broken
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp Turmeric
  • 1 tsp Garam masala
  • 2 tsps Biriyani masala powder
  • 5 Green chillies, finely chopped
  • 6 Green chillies, sliced lengthways
  • 2 heaped teaspoon Natural yoghurt
  • 2 heaped teaspoon Cream
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 2 tbsps Freshly chopped coriander
  • 1 tbsp Fresh mint
  • Large white onions
  • 600g Tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 2 green peppers, cut into medium sized cubes tom


  1. Wash and rinse the rice in water for 30 minutes and keep aside.
  2. Thinly slice the shallots. Heat the vegetable oil in a deep pan ready for deep-fat frying.
  3. Stir and begin to fry the shallots on a medium heat. Stir frequently so that the onions for uniform browning. Once the onions have become an even golden brown, remove using a slotted spoon on a plate and set aside.
  4. Add all of the paneer marinade ingredients in to a large bowl and mix. Then add the cubes of paneer and carefully mix to coat. Be careful as you do not want the paneer to break. Leave to marinade for at least 30 minutes.
  5. When you're ready to fry, place the cornflour in a deep bowl and in small batches, coat each cube of paneer and fry in the same oil as you fried the onions. You need to ensure the oil is not too hot so the paneer doesn't burn or cook to quickly on the outside. Turn the paneer frequently and cook for 4 - 5 minutes ensuring equal cooking all over. The paneer should be crispy when you remove from the oil. Place the paneer in a bowl and set aside.
  6. To prepare the rice. Firstly, in a large pot add 4 cups of water and add the spices such as cinnamon, star anise, bay leaves, black pepper, cumin seeds, 1 tsp salt. Bring to the boil for 2 minutes. Add the the basmati rice and stir well and boil for 5 - 6 minutes or until rice is half cooked ensuring the rice is not fully cooked. Drain off the rice and try to remove the whole spices.
  7. To prepare the masala, finely chop or roughly blend the onions. Add the chopped onions, to 3 tsps of olive oil or ghee in a large pot on a medium flame and sautee for approx. 7 - 8 minutes until the onions become translucent and begin to brown. The add cardamon, cinnamon stick, black cardamom, cloves, bay leave and continue to saute for 2 - 3 minutes. Stir frequently to ensure the onions do not burn. Add a drop of water if the onions begin to stick to the bottom of the pan.
  8. Blend the garlic and ginger and 5 green chillies. Add this mix to the onions and spices continue to stir frequently for 5 minutes. If it starts to burn or stick, lower the heat or add a few drops of water to prevent further browning. Once the garlic, ginger and onions have browned slightly, add the chopped tomatoes. Also add the ground spices including coriander, garam masala, biryani masala mixture, turmeric, red chilli powder and salt. Slow cook on a low heat for approx. 30 minutes until you start to see the oil separate from the tomatoes. Add a few drops of lemon juice, the yoghurt and cream and mix well.
  9. Add the cooked and crispy paneer to the masala carefully mix to ensure an even coating. Add the sliced chillies, chopped mint and coriander to the curry.
  10. Warm the milk and then sprinkle in the saffron allowing to infuse and turn a yellow/orange colour
  11. In a large casseroule dish or pot, firstly layer a small amount of the paneer curry, followed by an equal amount of rice, a sprinkle of fresh coriander, scatter the fried shallots and a drizzle of the saffron milk. Continue layering until you run out of the rice and curry. This should make around 3 - 4 layers. The top layer should be rice garnished with fried shallots, fresh coriander and saffron milk. Cover with aluminium foil and place in an oven at 200 degrees Celsius in the middle of the oven and cook for 30 - 35 minutes.
  12. Serve with salad, a raita made from Greek yogurt, lemon juice, a sprinkle of garam masala, chopped cucumber, tomatoes, fresh mint.


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