Biryani is a medley of rice, vegetables (or meat) & spices popular in India, Srilanka, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and other countries in south Asia & central Asia. Traditionally biryani is cooked over hot coal in a sealed cooking pot allowing the aroma of spices permeated into the vegetables (or meat) & rice. This method of cooking in low heat is known as “Dum” process. Now I have prepared Paneer Dum biryani in this process over stove top, nowadays dum biryani is also prepared using slow cooker, or baked in the oven.
Although I like both the pressure-cooked biryani & dum biryani equally, it is so exhilarating to find each & every grain of Basmati rice nicely puffed out during dum process. I never miss to include paneer (cottage cheese) in dum biryani as paneer can be enjoyed at its best when cooked in dum process in terms of texture, flavor & aroma. Now let’s look into the paneer dum biryani recipe:
Paneer Dum Biryani Recipe:
- Basmati rice – 1½ cups
- Paneer – 100 g
- Any neutral oil – 1/3 cup
- Bay leaf – 1 No.
- Star Aniseed – 1 No.
- Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
- Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
- Curd – ½ cup
- Saffron (soaked in a tbsp of warm milk) – few strands
- Salt – 1½ tsp
- Onion (minced ) – 2 Nos.
- Ripe tomatoes – 2 Nos.
- Carrot (large) – 1 No.
- Beans – 10 Nos.
- Fresh peas – ¾ cup
- Potato (medium sized) – 1 No.
- Mint leaves – a handful
- Onion – 1 No.
- Green chillies – 4 Nos.
- Ginger – 2″ piece
- Garlic – 8 Nos.
- Cloves – 9 Nos.
- Cardamom – 2 Nos.
- Cinnamon – 2 Nos. (each 1″)
Paneer Dum Biryani Cooking Procedure:
Preparing vegetables & spice mix: (Time taken-10 min)
Wash vegetables and chop them as shown below and grind spices into a smooth paste without adding water.
Cooking Basmati rice: (Time taken-10 min)
Wash & cook rice as shown below after adding half a teaspoon of salt and keep aside.
Biryani Masala: (Time taken-10 min)
- Heat a heavy bottom cooking pot with oil in medium flame.
- Fry bay leaves & star aniseed for few seconds.
- Add minced onions & paneer cubes and saute until onions are caramelized.
- Add all chopped vegetables, red chilli powder & turmeric powder and stir fry for 30 seconds.
- Add half a teaspoon of salt and mix well.
- Add chopped tomatoes & spice-mix and saute until amalgamated.
- Add mint leaves, curd & half a teaspoon of salt and cook in low flame for a minute.
- Remove from heat and keep aside.
Dum Process: (Time taken-15 min)
- Heat a cast-iron dosa tawa and place the same cooking pot on top of it enabling biryani cooked in low heat.
- First we start with a layer of vegetables followed by rice and again another layer of vegetables & rice.
- Finally pour saffron milk and close the pot with a lid.
- Seal the pot using wheat flour (or plain flour) dough to prevent the steam escape.
- Place a heavy object over the lid to keep it in its place.
- Simmer for 15 minutes and remove from heat.
- Open the pot after scraping the hard dough.
- Gently mix rice & vegetables with a wooden spatula.
- Serve hot paneer biryani with raita of your choice.
Tips & Tweaks:
- We can also use vegetables like baby potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, etc. that taste delicious when cooked under dum process.
- Authentic dum biryani recipe uses thinly sliced onion than minced onion. But I prefer to use minced onion as it requires less oil to caramelize them.
- Since dum process does not require much oil we can even reduce further to ¼ cup.