Tandoori Paneer Biryani

Tandoori Paneer Biryani

Mix of basmati rice, tandoori paneer, tandoori onions and veggie mix along with yogurt, mint, kasuri methi, saffron and whole lot of spices. Everything is layered up and cooked inside a dutch oven to make a perfect vegetarian biryani!

Tandoori Paneer Biryani!

Biryani is the powerhouse of Indian food, the exciting aromas, the beautiful vibrant colors, the fluffy long grain basmati rice and the thrilling flavors. This version of the biryani is inspired by tandoori flavors. Many biryanis are made with some kind of meat or only vegetables. I wanted to give it a little twist and decided to add marinated tandoori paneer to it. To continue the tandoori flavors, I loaded the onions with tandoori masala and butter!! The tandoori masala I used is “National Chicken Tandoori Mix“. The spice mix is vegetarian/vegan! There are so many other veggies in this recipe along with yogurt, mint, kasuri methi, saffron and whole lot of spices.

Tandoori Paneer Biryani!

This biryani is very flavorful and satisfying, definitely a crowd pleasure and perfect for gathering! This is one of those strong recipes I have in my recipe book and will be serving it to my friends and family over and over! How about you?!?!
Happy and Healthy Eating!

Tandoori Paneer Biryani

Mix of basmati rice, tandoori paneer, tandoori onions and veggie along with yogurt, mint, kasuri methi and bunch of other spices!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings 8


Paneer Marinade

  • 18 oz Paneer – cubed
  • ½ cup Plain Whole Milk Yogurt
  • tbsp Tandoori Masala Shaan Tandoori Masala OR National Chicken Tandoori Masala
  • ½ tbsp Kasuri Methi
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Mint
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Lime Juice
  • 1 tbsp Mustard Oil
  • 2 tsp Minced Garlic
  • 2 tsp Grated Ginger
  • ½ tsp Kashmiri Red Chili Powder

Tandoori Veggie Mix

  • 4 tbsp Amul Butter
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 Large Onion – sliced
  • 2 cup Frozen Mixed Veggies corn, peas, carrots, string beans
  • 2 tbsp Tandoori Masala Shaan Tandoori Masala OR National Chicken Tandoori Masala
  • 2 tsp Kashmiri Red Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 tbsp Kasuri Methi

Partially Boiled Rice

  • 2 cup Uncooked Long Grain Basmati Rice
  • 1 stick Cinnamon
  • 3 Cloves
  • 3 Whole Peppercorn
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 3 Whole Green Cardamom
  • 1 Whole Black Cardamom
  • 1 tbsp Butter or Ghee

Additional Ingredients

  • ½ cup Whole Milk
  • 20 thread Long Saffron
  • ½ tsp Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Fresh Mint
  • Few Cubes of Salted (Amul) Butter to Top the Biryani optional


Marinate Paneer Overnight

  • Mix all ingredients but paneer listed under "Paneer Marinade" in a bowl. Add cubed paneer to it and carefully coat paneer pieces with the marinade. Keep it in the fridge overnight or 6-8 hours. The longer it marinates, the better it tastes!

Partially Boil Rice

  • Wash and soak basmati rice for 20-30 minutes.
  • Add soaked basmati rice and everything listed under the "Partially Boiled Rice" ingredients into a big deep pot.
  • Add 5-6 cups water to the pot and partially boil the rice.
  • Once boiled, strain the water out using a strainer. Run cold water through the rice just for few second and strain it completely. This will stop the cooking process. Keep it on side, leaving the rice in the strainer, it helps getting rid of most water from the rice. Toss it couple of time while it sits in the strainer.
  • Mix ½ cup of hot water, 20 ish long thread of saffron and ½ tsp sugar in a bowl and keep it aside.
    saffron milk

Prepare Tandoori Veggies

  • Heat up 4 tbsp of butter in a dutch oven or heavy/thick bottom deep pan.
  • Once butter is melted add bay leaves, sliced onions, 2 tbsp of tandoori masala and 1 tsp of salt. Mix it well and keep cooking until the onions are translucent. Take your time with this step. Cooking onions in butter and tandoori masala on low/medium heat for long enough will bring the best flavor out!
  • While onions are cooking, run the frozen veggies though warm/hot tap water few times and let them sit in the warm water for 3-4 minutes. This will thaw the veggies well. Once thawed, strain the water out with a strainer and keep it aside.
  • Once onions are completely translucent, add thawed mix veggies to it. Mix well and cook for 4-5 minutes on medium heat.
    tandoori onions
  • Add kashmiri 1 tsp salt, red chili powder, turmeric, garam masala and kasuri methi to the veggies. Mix well and cook for couple more minutes.
  • Add in marinated paneer along with all the marinade, mix gently. Cover and cook for 2-4 minutes while paneer gets soft. Once cooked, turn the heat off. Take half of the veggie/paneer mix out in a bowl, and leave the other half evenly layered in the pot as a very bottom layer. Keep the heat to low or off.

Layering everything

  • At this point we have half of the tandoori veggie/paneer mix in the dutch over/heavy bottomed deep pan with no heat on. Spread it out evenly at the bottom of the pan with the help of spoon. Keep the heat off the whole time you layer your biryani.
    tandoori veggies
  • Layer half of the partially boiled rice on top of the veggie/paneer layer. Push the rice down lightly using back of the spoon or your hand.
  • Evenly pour half of the saffron milk on the rice layer. I like to pour one spoon at a time evenly everywhere on the rice.
    rice layer
  • Sprinkle freshly chopped min after pouring the saffron milk.
  • Repeat the same layers one more time, rest of the tandoori veggies/paneer on top of rice, saffron, mint layer. Rest of the rice on top of paneer layer. Drizzle rest of the saffron milk and freshly chopped mint. Top it with small cubes of amul/salted butter.
  • Again press the top rice later down lightly using back of the spoon. Cover the dutch oven/pot tight enough so it holds the steam inside.
  • Cook the layered biryani on low flame for 20 minutes. Everything is mostly cooked, except rice. Rice is also partially cooked so it does not take too much heat for the rice to cook completely. Once you turn the heat off, keep the pot/dutch oven covered for another 20-30 minutes.
  • Garnish it with fresh cilantro and pomegranate. Serve it with raita, side of fresh onions, lime wedges and paapad!
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