Vijayawada Paneer Biryani with Salan (California Style)

Biryani postcard for everyone in quarantine. Quick note – grab a dessert because it’s wayyyyy to spicy and too hot to handle! I love a good old spicy Biryani from one of my favorite restaurants in Bay Area called Biryaniz. Due to shelter-in-place order , I have been skeptical to step out of the house and even though restaurants are offering contactless food pick up. If you are Biryani lover, you know the cravings are strong for a good biryani. I made this Biryani 4-5 times since March before I was mastered this biryani style. When I make biryani I like to eat it for the entire day #guilty 😛 but you are welcome to tune the recipe for the number of people you’d like to make it for. Try this recipe if you are craving for a restaurant style biryani and let me know how you like it xoxo 😘

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BIRYANI INGREDIENTS (serves 6-8 people) –

FOR GARNISHING:

  • 3 chopped onions, julienne style
  • 1/2 cup raw cashew nuts
  • 2 tbsps oil
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp saffron strands

 

FOR MARINATION:

  • 1 cup greek yogurt, thick
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp chaat masala
  • 2 cups cubed paneer/Indian cottage cheese
  • 2 cups mini soy nuggets

FOR RICE:

  • 3 cups extra long basmati rice (soaked for 20 minutes)
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 tsps salt
  • 1 tsps oil

FOR BIRYANI:

  • 4-5 tbsps ghee (clarified butter)
  • 4-5 bay leaves (tez patta)
  • 1 tbsp caraway seeds (shahi jeera)
  • 2 tbsps cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 6 cardamom pods
  • 2 tbsp fresh chopped mint (pudina) – When I made this I didn’t have any at hand so I used my homemade 1/2 tsp mint powder
  • A packet of Bombay Biryani Masala (I use MDH because they equally divide the biryani masala in the packets. So I used 1 packet for this recipe) 
  • 2 cups frozen cauliflower florets
  • 2 cups frozen carrots and beans (I buy the packet that have these both combined)
  • 3 medium potatoes, peeled, and chopped in big chunks
  • 3 cloves of fresh garlic
  • 1 piece of ginger (1 inch length)
  • 6 Thai chillies (This is the spiciest variety from the Indian Store in Bay Area. Tune the number of chillies if you don’t want a spicy biryani.)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp kashmiri red chilli powder
  • 2 tbsps tamarind paste
  • Salt to Taste

METHOD –

MARINATION SOY NUGGETS & PANEER:

  • In a large bowl – whisk the yogurt with lemon juice and chaat masala.
  • Now add paneer cubes and soy nuggets. Use your clean hands to mix gentlly until everything is combined.
  • Keep this aside.

ONION-CASHEWS MIX:

  • In a pan, heat oil and sauté cashew nuts and onions until crisp.
  • Keep this aside as soon as the onions turn golden/brown and edges become crisp.

BLOOM SAFFRON:

  • In a bowl, soak saffron strands in 1/8th cup of water.
  • Keep this aside.

PARTIALLY BOILED RICE PREPARATION: 

  • In a large deep pan cook rice in 3 cups water. Add the salt and oil. Stir occasionally
  • Close the vessel lid and cook on a medium flame for 15 minutes. Note the rice would be 80% cooked. Turn off the flame and keep it aside.

BIRYANI VEGGIES PREPARATION:

  • In another large deep pan heat ghee. Now, sauté bay leaves, shahi jeera, jeera, and cardamom pods.
  • Dump all the veggies (potato, cauliflower, carrots, beans) and sauce them.
  • In a blender, blend garlic, ginger and green chillies with 1/2 cup of water. Don’t worry about the consistency. Dump all this with the veggie mix.
  • Add turmeric, chili powder, and salt to taste to the veggie mix. Cook the veggies for 10-15 minutes stirring occasionally. Check if the veggies are cooked (prick only the potatoes with a fork. If the fork goes in easily that means we are ready to add yogurt-paneer-soy nuggets marinated mix)
  • Now add in marinated paneer & soy nuggets, biryani masala, mint powder, chopped coriander leaves tamarind paste and sauté gently until combined.
  • Now. Turn off the flame. Empty this veggie mix into a large plate dividing it into equal parts. Keep it aside.

ASSEMBLE BIRYANI:

  • Use the same deep pan in which we prepared Biryani veggie mix.
  • Spread 1 of 3 part of the veggie mix at the bottom of the pan (Layer 1)
  • Now, spread rice uniformly so it covers the veggies (Layer 2)
  • Spread 2 of 3 part of the veggie mix over the rice (Layer 3)
  • Now, spread rice uniformly so it covers the veggies (Layer 4)
  • Sprinkle 1 tbsp saffron water over the white rice (Layer 5)
  • Sprinkle 2 tbsps onion cashew mix over the rice (Layer 6)
  • Spread 3 of 3 part of the veggie mix over the rice (Layer 7)
  • Now, spread rice uniformly so it covers the veggies (Layer 8)
  • Sprinkle realigning saffron water over the white rice (Layer 9)
  • Sprinkle remaining onion cashew mix over the rice (Layer 10)
  • Garnish with fresh mint leaves and coriander leaves.
  • Cover the lid and let the rice simmer on a low flame for 10 minutes. Turn off the flames and let it sit for 20-30 minutes.
  • In the mean time prepare salan to serve with the biryani.

SALAN INGREDIENTS

FOR PASTE:

  • 2 tbsps whole raw unsalted peanuts (with skin)
  • 2 tbsps white sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsps coconut flakes (dry coconut slices from Indian Store)
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 1/2 sliced red onion
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 2 tomatoes chopped in halves
  • 3/4 cup water

FOR SALAN GRAVY:

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 2-3 cardamom pods
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp biryani masala powder (don’t add the whole spices from the biryani masala)
  • Salt to Taste
  • Water to adjust the consistency

Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Let’s prepare the masala first – Heat oil in the pan on medium flame and sauté peanuts, sesame seeds, coconut for 1-2 minutes on a low flame
  • Now add, onion, tomatoes, ginger garlic paste and tamarind. Sauté it for 10-15 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water. Let it boil and turn off the flame.
  • Cool the mixture completely and transfer to the blender. Blend it to a smooth paste and keep it aside.
  • Heat the same pan with 2 tbsp oil. Add cumin seeds , cardamom pods and bay leaves.
  • Now add the prepared masala paste and mix it until combined.
  • Once combined, add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder, biryani masala and salt to taste.
  • Let the masala boil until the oil is separates.
  • Further add 1 cup water to adjust the consistency.
  • Garnish with freshly chopped coriander and serve it with Biryani

If you try this recipe, do not forget to tag #thepalatetrails on Instagram and/or leave a comment below on this blog post 🙂

Thanks for stopping by lovelies!

XOXO
Rinky

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