Vegetable Paneer Tikka Biryani

Hello Sweeties!!!! What do you do when you are in no mood to cook anything elaborate yet there is some celebration needed. You make this vegetable paneer tikka biryani. Easy!!!!

Donut finished his exams and we thought like always, we might dine out and this Momma might get lucky on a week day. Surprises never cease us, Donut declared he liked home cooked food much better than outside spicy food.

Mr. Ash was in mood for some Biryani and kids love Paneer/Indian cottage cheese.  There is a debate as American cottage cheese is  different than paneer, But since I don't know another word for Paneer, I am sticking to Indian Cottage cheese.

I had got the spicy paneer tikka masala paste to try from the last grocery trip, I decided to satisfy everyone and use that. 

Birayni can be jazzed up in million ways and use of ingredients can be  added or minimized. This is my version of kid friendly biryani. 

You Will Need;
For Rice;
2 cups Basmati rice washed and drained 
2 cups boiling hot water
one tspn lemon juice

For Vegetable Paneer Tikka Masala;
2 medium onion
2 Tomatoes
2 Medium Potaoes diced
around 8-10 1 inch paneer cubes
1 cup mixture of corn, peas, and beans 
1 inch ginger
2-3 cloves Garlic
3 tbspn paneer Tikka Masala Paste  
* I get the ready to use masala paste in my Indian grocery store, alternatively use the dry spice powder mixed in yogurt 
1 tbspn chopped mint
1/2 cup Milk or cream
Salt to taste
1 tbspn chopped mint
2 tbspn Ghee for tempering
1 tspn jeera/cumin seeds 

To assemble The Biryani;
1 heavy pot/Handi
few Saffron Strands mixed in warm milk
1 onion cut in Strips and fried
Chopped mint
Cooked basmati rice
Prepared Vegetable Paneer tikka Masala Gravy

Take the washed and drained rice and add boiling water and lemon juice to it and cover and let cook for 10-12 minutes. Do not cook the rice fully, we need it al-dente. Fluff and Keep aside

In a small food chopper, take the onion, tomatoes,  ginger and garlic and pulse into a fine paste. 

In a handi/deep pot, take the ghee, add the jeera, add the onion tomato paste and fry till the oil separates. Then add in the paneer tikka masala paste and the chopped mint. The paste is very spicy and has all the ingredients of the whole garam masala. 

IF you are not using this paste, then add 2 heaped tbspns of garam masala/paneer tikka masala and 1 tbspn red chilli powder now and fry the onion tomato mixture,. then add the vegetable and let cook till the potatoes get cooked al-dente.  Do not cook everything through or else they will get mushed when you further cook the biryani.

After the poatoes get partially cooked add the milk/cream and paneer and  let cook and reduce. we need some gravy, but don't make it too liquid.

We are ready to assemble the biryani. 

Remove half of the gravy from the handi into another bowl, add in a layer of rice, Sprinkle half of the fried onion and mint and  the saffron milk over the layer, then another layer of paneer gravy, rice and garnish with remaining onions, mint and saffron milk. Spread some ghee over this mixture. Cover this tightly with a lid. 

On low-medium heat, take  a flat pan and  arrange the handi over it and let cook for another 30-45 minutes. The more you keep, the better the tastes develop. We ate after about 30 minutes, but the tastes was very much there.

The Biryani was modest in taste. The gravy can be made rich by using cashew nut paste/almond paste, heavy cream, full fat milk instead of regular milk. The biryani was good for a quick weekday dinner and was light on our tummies.

We enjoyed the biryaniw ith some lime and boondi raita.

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