Vegetarian Hyderabadi Biryani

biryani-hyderabadi-paneerRice is not called the staple food of India without a reason – you’ll find these long grains to be a vital part of every meal, in every state of India. From simple steamed white rice to the decked up Hyderabadi Paneer Biryani, as shown here, people feel unsatisfied until they end their meal with a bowl of rice! In the state of Hyderabad, which is famous for its spicy food, the Biryani is prepared with a spicy Masala paste layered along with the rice and other vegetables, and mostly meat. But here, we leave out the meat and use Paneer instead – a fitting treat for Vegetarians. Serve it with a bowl of Curd or Raita, and you might not need anything else for dinner!

[Recipe & photo courtesy of Sify Food]

Hyderabadi Paneer Biryani

Serves about 4 adults

500g Paneer cubes
3 small potatoes – peeled & cut in half
1/2 cup cubed carrots
1/2 cup green peas
2 tbsp ghee/clarified butter
1 large chopped onion
1 inch cinnamon stick
4-5 whole green cardamoms
1 more chopped onion
rice (about 2 cups for 3-4 ppl) – washed & drained
salt to taste
2-3 bay leaves

For Garnish: 1 small chopped & fried onion, roasted/fried nuts & raisins, chopped coriander/cilantro and 1/4 cup lime juice

For the masala:
1/2 bunch mint leaves
1 bunch coriander (mint & coriander in 1:2 ratio)
2 tbsp dessicated coconut
1 handful roasted peanuts
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp jeera/cumin
5-6 peppercorns
1/2 tsp haldi/turmeric pwd
1/2 onion
2 red chillies or 2-3 green chillies
6 cloves garlic
1/2 inch ginger

Grind the ingredients for the masala with some water to make a smooth paste, and keep aside,

Deep fry the paneer cubes & set aside on a paper towel to drain.

Heat oil in a frying pan, fry the chopped onions till pink and then add the freshly-ground masala paste, 2 tbsp at a time, stirring well in between to prevent sticking to the pan.

Next add the potatoes & carrots with a little water, cover & cook for 5 minutes on medium heat. Then add the paneer & peas & cook for another 5 minutes, covered.

In a separate vessel, heat some ghee & fry a chopped onion till pink, then add the cinnamon, cardamom & bay leaves. Add rice, nuts & raisins & fry well. Add water & salt and cook till rice is almost ready – drain off excess water & add the paneer-gravy, tossing lightly.

Cover with a lid and let the rice and masala flavors blend well with the steam, until Rice is cooked completely.

Transfer to a serving plate, or Handi; Garnish with remaining fried onions, lime-juice, nuts, raisins & coriander, and serve hot with a side order of Dahi Raita!


  1. Awesome! Vegetarian Hyderabadi Biryani, great to know about this recipe I was looking for such recipe for a long time but got to know about it now. I'll try this out and let you know my feedback on this.

  2. Wow, sounds yummy!

  3. Hi Mansi,

    Thanks for sharing the biryani recipe.I realized that there are many versions to biryani and its good for me to try out other recipes instead of the usual version we make.

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