Make this Matar Paneer Biryani in 30 minutes. It is a one pot, nutritious and absolutely delicious meal. The recipe and method is SO simple that you would wonder how it is such a flavour bomb for such little effort. Succulent paneer pieces, mild spices, fluffy cooked basmati rice, bite of peas all in a tangy and flavourful masala – what is to dislike in this?!
Of the 30 minutes, 15 minutes is to marinate the paneer and soak the basmati rice. Slice an onion, slit a couple of chillies and chop some herbs and that is all you need. It seems like not just beauty, but also flavour lies in simplicity!
Me and Arun are not big fans of heavy ‘masala’ in dishes. So, we usually do not enjoy Biryani as a dish at all. Most versions are too heavy on spice ( and by this I do not mean chilli) that it feels overwhelming for us. I only enjoy the ones I make because it easy to control how it must taste. However, in the recent few months we found an Indian restaurant close to where we live and their Vegetable Biryani is so good! We got to ordering it weekly during lockdown and slowly started making simple biryanis at home too.
My usual Vegetable Biryani recipe is not pressure cooker based. It involves cooking the gravy and rice separately, sauteeing onions to golden brown, adding them together with herbs and cooking on dum for a while. It takes a while but I enjoy the process of making it more than eating it. I will share that recipe someday, but for now let’s make this fantastic matar paneer biryani!
Matar Paneer Biryani | One Pot 30 minutes recipe
For marinating paneer
- ½ cup chopped paneer cubes substitute with tofu for a vegan version
- 2 tbsp thick curd (substitute with non dairy yoghurt like coconut yoghurt for vegan version – for marinating paneer)
- 1 tsp kashmiri chilli powder (for marinating paneer)
- ½ tsp salt (for marinating paneer)
For Matar Paneer Biryani
- 1 tbsp oil of choice (i used rice bran oil, any neutral oil)
- 2 tsp ghee (use oil for a vegan version)
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- ½ cup sliced onions
- 1 tsp ginger paste (or 1 inch ginger grated)
- 1 tsp garlic paste (or 3 cloves grated)
- 2 green chillies, slit omit if not a fan of spice)
- ½ cup tomato pureed (about 1 medium sized tomato)
- ½ tsp kashmiri chilli powder (adjust to taste)
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- ½ to 1 tsp tsp biryani masala (I use Shan Bombay Biryani Masala)
- 2 tbsp mint leaves chopped
- ¾ to 1 cup frozen peas
- ½ cup basmati rice
- ¾ cup water
- coriander leaves to garnish
- Chop paneer into small cubes of about ½ inch each. Add thick curd, chilli powder, salt. Mix well and set aside for 15 minutes
- Rinse, drain and soak basmati rice for 15 minutes. In the soaking/marinating time, slice an onion, slit chillies, chop herbs and puree the tomato
- To a 2L pressure cooker on medium flame (Induction 800W), add the oil and ghee, followed by cumin seeds and chilli, sliced onions and fry till it is golden brown.
- Add ginger and garlic paste and fry for a minute. The paste has to fully cook and not smell raw
- Add the pureed tomato followed by the marinated paneer and mint leaves. Saute for a minute.
- Add in the spice powders ( red chilli, coriander and biryani masala) and mix well till it fully cooks. You will know by the smell and how the fat leaves the masala base.
- Add peas and the soaked, drained basmati rice and mix well.
- Add water, salt if necessary and let it come to a boil.
- Close the cooker, place the weight and turn flame to low (Induction 400W) for 6 minutes.
- No whistles may come and that is okay. </p></li><li><p>Let pressure fully settle ( takes 7-10 minutes), garnish with coriander and fluff with a fork.
- This biryani is BEST with a simple onion raitha
How to make this a more ‘spicy and masaledar’ Biryani?
All our flavour preference vary. This is according to ours. Now, most people will prefer a biryani to have more garam masala/whole spices. If you want to make it that way, here is how you can modify.
- To the initial oil and ghee mixture, add one bay leaf, 2 cloves, 2 cardamom pods followed by the cumin seeds.
- Soak a few strands of saffron in 1 tbsp milk or water and let it sit for 10 minutes. Add it along with the water after the rice. I recommend milk since it helps to keep the biryani moist and imparts a very beautiful flavour. It is necessary to balance the ‘spice’ as well.
- And, increase the biriyani masala to 1 tsp instead of 1/2 tsp as I have used.
Make no mistake, the version I made is plenty flavourful and amazing as it is.
Paneer turns rubbery/chewy on cooking?
Paneer turns rubbery/chewy if it loses moisture – if you sauté and pressure cook, it will turn chewy since we remove moisture by pan frying it. To avoid that, let it sit in hot water or if thawed, let it marinate in curd. Paneer may also turn rubbery by overcooking. In this recipe, we only cook for 6 minutes.
I use thawed paneer from the fridge( not frozen paneer). Usually, I’d add the block to hot boiling water and let it sit for sometime to thaw, else I pop it into the microwave for a minute.
Not a fan of Paneer?
I hear you! The same recipe works well with mushrooms. Vegetables may require a little more cooking time.
Use finely chopped tomatoes instead.
Making it vegan?
Simple! Substitute the paneer for tofu or mushroom, use a non dairy yoghurt and add 1/2 tsp lemon juice for the tang. Also, use a neutral oil instead of ghee.
Don’t have access to non dairy yoghurt or don’t want to use yoghurt? Rub chilli powder and salt onto the paneer pieces and pan fry with some oil until golden brown. Add on top of the cooked biryani, mix well and serve. Do not pressure cook fried paneer, it will turn chewy.
Want to make in Instant Pot?
Ah, yes. I cook basmati rice for pulao/biryani for 4 minutes on Manual mode and release pressure immediately if there are no vegetables used.
This recipe was made for just two adults, so I have used 1/2 cup of rice. It can easily be doubled or tripled! Just add adequate spice, taste the water to adjust salt and use a big vessel. It is so simple and tasty!
Watch me make Matar Paneer Biryani here!
Want more One Pot recipes?
Please leave a comment below if you made this recipe, have any questions or thoughts! Your comment will help me learn more about your preferences and will help other readers.
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