Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Three Layered Veg Biriyani

I thought of this recipe the other day when I was sitting and wondering what to do with the spinach sitting in my refrigerator. Since I had made palak paneer just the previous week, I knew no one would be interested in it, I next thought of Sai Bhaji but it is not so easy to get fenugreek and dill leaves in the summer, so that too was out of question. That is when I remembered my friend Maneesha had once mentioned a palak paneer biryani her mother made. Palak paneer biriyani as such was not so interesting as people at home would just think it is palak paneer cooked with rice, that is when I thought of making this three layered biriyani. I made it again today making some variations to my earlier recipe based on family feedback.

3 ½ to 4 cups of rice (basmati or any other good quality rice),
2 bay leaves,
2 green cardamoms,
5-6 black peppercorns,
Salt to taste,
1 medium onion,
1 tsp lemon juice,
3 tbsps oil

Spinach and Mushroom Layer

2 heaped cups spinach,
1 small tomato,
1 small piece of bottle gourd,
4 cloves of garlic,
2 green chillies,
¼ of a capsicum,
1 small sliced onion,
½ tsp cumin powder,
½ tsp pepper powder,
¼ tsp garam masala powder,
5 button mushrooms,
Salt to taste,
1 tbsp of oil

Green Pea Layer

1 cup green peas,
Salt to taste,
1 tsp crushed black pepper,
½ tbsp oil

Paneer Layer

200 gms diced paneer,
1 tsp cumin seeds,
1 medium sized onion,
1 tsp ginger paste,
1 tsp garlic paste,
1 tsp cumin seed powder,
½ tsp turmeric powder,
1 tsp red chilli powder,
Salt to taste,
2 tbsp oil,
1 tsp lemon juice,
1 tsp kasoori methi


Wash and soak the rice for about 20 minutes. Heat about 1 ½ litre of water and add the bay leaves, green cardamom and the black pepper. Once it comes to a boil add the salt and the drained rice. Once it is half done add the lemon juice and let it cook till it is 3/4th done. Keep aside. You can spread this rice on a big plate and drizzle some oil on it.

Slice the onion, heat the remaining oil and add the sliced onions. Fry this till golden brown and drain this out. This fried onion will be used to garnish and this is called ‘biriyan’ and this is what gives ‘biriyani’ its name. The leftover oil will be used while assembling the biriyani.

To make the spinach and mushroom layer

Wash the spinach well and cook it with the tomato, bottle gourd, garlic, green chillies and capsicum. Let this cool and then puree it. Slice the onion and the mushrooms. Heat the oil and add the sliced onion and fry till it turns pink in colour. Next add the cumin powder, pepper powder, garam masala powder and the sliced mushrooms. Saute for about 3-4 minutes. Next add the pureed greens and salt. Cook for another 2 minutes and keep aside.

To make the green peas layer

Cook the green peas with some salt till done. Heat oil and add the cooked green peas, salt and crushed black pepper. Saute for 1-2 minutes and keep aside.

To make the paneer layer

Dice the paneer. Fry the paneer cubes with a little oil in a non stick pan. Dip the fried paneer pieces in hot water for about 20 minutes and then squeeze out excess water. Slice the onion. Heat oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds, once they pop add the sliced onion and fry till it turns pink in colour. Next add the ginger-garlic paste, cumin powder, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and fry till the oil separates. Next add the paneer cubes and salt and sauté for about 2-3 minutes. Lastly add the crushed kasoori methi. Keep aside.

To assemble the biriyani

Take a heavy bottomed pan and spread a layer of rice all along the bottom. Spread the spinach-mushroom mixture over this. Follow this with a layer of rice. Now drizzle some of the oil used to fry the onions. Next follow this with a layer of the peas, followed by a rice layer. Another drizzle with the onion-oil and then the layer of paneer and the final layer of rice. Drizzle some more oil. Cover with a tight fitting lid and cook it for about 20 mins. Serve this hot garnished with the fried onions and with a side accompaniment of a raita.