Paneer Dum Biriyani Recipe

Serves: 4 People
Preparation Time: Approx. 1 Hour 45 Minutes
Soaking Time for Rice: At least 30 Minutes
Preparation Time for Gravy and Garnish: 20 to 25 Minutes
Cooking Time in Handi or Oven: 30 Minutes
Setting Time: 5 to 10 Minutes
Oven Preheat Temperature: 375 Degree Fahrenheit or 190 Degree Celsius

Basmati Rice – 1 1/2 cup
Cardamom or Elaichi – 2 nos.
Black Cardamom – 1 no.
Clove – 2 nos.
Cinnamon – 1 inch stick
Mace – 2 strings
Star Anise – 1/2 star
Bay Leaf – 1 no.
Kapok Buds or Marati Moggu or Shalmali – 1 no. (optional)
Water – 2 cups (or enough to cook the rice until almost done)
Salt – a pinch
Paneer and Vegetables
Paneer – 10 to 12 medium sized cubes
Onion – 1 small no. or 1/2 medium sized one
French Beans – 10 to 11 nos. (enough to yield 1 cup when cut into 1 inch pieces)
Green Peas – 1/2 cup
Carrot – 1 to 1/2 nos. (enough to yield 1 cup when diced into small cubes)
Cauliflower – 1/4 nos. (enough to yield 1 cup when chopped into small florets)
Potato – 2 small nos. or 1 medium no.
Corn – 1/2 cup
Spices for Gravy
Cardamom or Elaichi – 2 nos.
Black Cardamom – 1 no.
Clove – 2 nos.
Cinnamon – 1 inch stick
Mace or Javitri – 2 strings
Star Anise or Chakri Phool – 1/2 star
Bay Leaf – 1 no.
Kapok Buds or Marati Moggu or Shalmali – 1 no. (optional)
Red Chilli Powder – 1 tsp (depending on spiciness desired)
Turmeric Powder – 1/4 tsp
Ginger Paste – 1/2 tsp (or grate the ginger)
Garlic Paste – 1/2 tsp (or grate one garlic clove)
Green Chilli – 1 or 2 nos.
Curd or Yogurt – 1 cup
Ghee – 1 tbsp
Water – 1 to 2 cups (enough to cook the vegetables)
Salt – to taste
Saffron Paste
Saffron Strands – a pinch (about 1/2 tsp)
Milk – 1 1/2 tsp
Curd or Yogurt – 1/2 cup (preferably thick, but beaten or whisked to a smooth texture)
Kewda Water – 1/4 tsp (optional)
Rose Water – 1/4 tsp (optional)
Onion – 1/4 no.
Cashew Nuts – 12 nos
Raisins or Kishmish – 12 nos
Slivered Almonds – 12 nos (optional)
Ghee – 1 tsp
Cover (Optional)
Wheat dough rolled out like a chappathi to cover the Handi


A handi is usually used to cook the Dum Biriyani but you can also cook it in the oven if you do not have a handi.



  1. Wash the rice well.
  2. Soak the rice in the water with the spices for atleast half an hour to get best results.
  3. Cook the rice with the spices and water till almost done.
    (Checkpoint: The rice should be cooked till 3/4 th done. That is, it should be cooked but still firm and not become too soft.)
  4. Keep aside.

Vegetable Gravy

  1. Wash the vegetables.
  2. Cut them as follows:
    – Slice onions to form thin strands
    – Cut beans into 1 inch long pieces
    – Cut cauliflower into small florets
    – Dice the carrots into small cubes
    – Dice the potatoes into medium sized cubes
    – Cut the paneer into medium sized cubes
    – Slit the green chilli
  3. In a kadai or saute pan, heat the ghee.
  4. Add the spices (except red chilli powder and turmeric) and saute well until the aroma of the garam masala comes.
  5. Add the slit green chilli, ginger paste and garlic paste and saute well.
  6. Add the onion slices or strands and saute well till the onions turn translucent.
  7. Add the red chilli powder and turmeric powder and mix well till the onion slices are coated with the powders.
  8. Add the potatoes and saute well till the potatoes are fried slightly.
  9. Add the rest of the vegetables and saute well to slightly fry them.
  10. Add the paneer cubes and saute well for about a minute.
  11. Saute well for a couple of minutes so that each vegetable is mixed well with the spices.
  12. Stir in the yogurt and make sure that it does not curdle.
  13. Keep stirring the gravy until it becomes slightly thick, that is, the water in the yogurt is evaporated.
  14. Stir in 1 or 1 1/2 cups of water.
  15. Add salt to taste and mix well.
  16. Cook covered until the vegetables are done.

Saffron Paste

  1. Warm the milk.
  2. Add the saffron strands and mix well to get the color of the strands.
  3. Keep aside until it cools.
  4. Add the yogurt and mix well to form a nice yellow paste.
  5. Add the kewda water and rose water, if you are using them, and mix well.
  6. Keep aside.


  1. Slice the onion into thin long strands.
  2. Heat the ghee in a small pan.
  3. Add the onion slices and saute well till the onion slices caramelize.
    (Checkpoint: The onion slices turn brown and taste a bit sweet.)
  4. Add the cashew nuts and slivered almonds and fry till they turn a bit golden.
  5. Turn off the heat.
  6. Add the raisins when the pan is still hot.
  7. Keep aside.
Dum Biriyani Layers in the Baking Dish

Preparing the Biriyani

  1. Take a handi or if you do not have one, you can also grease a deep baking dish and cook it in the oven.
  2. In the vessel you choose, place an even layer of the rice.
  3. Sprinkle about 1 tsp saffron paste over the rice.
  4. Place a layer of the paneer and vegetable gravy.
  5. Place another layer of rice.
    (Note: Make as many layers as you can, but make sure that the first and last layer are made of rice, and sprinkle the saffron paste over the rice layer, excepting the rice layer on the top.)
  6. Once you’re done with all the layers, cover it in either of these ways:
    – Cover the handi with a wheat flour dough.
    – Cover the handi with a moist cloth and place a heavy lid on it.
    – If using a baking dish to cook in the oven, then cover the dish with two layers of aluminium foil with the shiny side facing the food. Make sure you seal the dish well.
  7. Cook it in either of these ways:
    – If cooking in a handi, cook for about 20 to 25 minutes in a low heat.
    – If cooking in the oven, preheat the oven to 375 degree Fahrenheit and cook the biriyani in the oven for about 30 minutes.
  8. Once cooked, allow the biriyani to sit for a few minutes.
    (Note: If cooked in oven, turn off the heat in the oven and let sit in the oven for a few minutes.)
  9. Uncover the handi or baking dish and pour the garnish over the rice and cover and let sit for a couple of more minutes.
  10. Uncover the dish and serve.
Dum Biriyani Layers when Cut


While serving, make sure to to serve all the layers together at once, that is, dig deep inside the dish to serve, instead of serving from the top alone.


  1. Serve hot with Raitha and Papad.
  2. Serve with the Hyderabadi Dish Mirchon Ka Salon, the traditional accompaniment served with Dum Biriyani in Hyderabad.
  3. You can also garnish with chopped mint leaves and coriander leaves.


  1. You can use the frozen mixed vegetables for this as well.
  2. You can use any combination of vegetables you want.
  3. You can also add chopped coriander leaves and mint leaves to the vegetable gravy before making the biriyani layers.


  1. The traditional method of preparation is using a Handi and cooking it by covering the Handi with wheat dough.
  2. It is called Dum Biriyani because the biriyani layers are cooked with the pressure of the steam produced by the water content in the layers. The steam is not allowed to escape, and hence the vessel is covered. Also, cooking it this way makes the biriyani soak in the aroma of the spices and the juices while being cooked covered. This technique of cooking is called Dum Pakht or Dum Cooking.
  3. This technique of cooking originated in Persia, where the dish was cooked, sealed and then buried in the hot sand to mature.
  4. This technique is also part of the Mughalai Cuisine and as Mughalai cusine influenced Uttar Pradesh’s cuisine, it is also a part of the Awadhi Cuisine of UP. And later traveled to other parts and now used in Hyderabadi Cuisine as well.

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