Rinse and soak rice for 15 minutes while you chop vegetables. After 15 mins, rinse and drain the rice.
Turn on saute mode on high and wait till the display reads 'hot'. Add 2 tablespoons ghee or oil, add the onions and green chilies. Saute for 5-7 minutes, stirring in between till they become light golden brown. Remove half the onions and keep aside.
Add cubed potato, sliced peppers, carrots, cashew and 2 tablespoon chopped cilantro. Saute the vegetables for 2 mins.
Add crushed ginger and garlic and saute for another minute.
Add the spices- salt, turmeric, garam masala, coriander, cumin and beaten yogurt. Stir well and use the yogurt to deglaze the pan and scrap off any brown bits at the bottom of the pot.
Turn off Saute. Add drained rice, paneer and water. Stir and gently push the rice under the water. Spread the saffron-milk mixture over that. Top with reserved sautéed onions and chopped cilantro. Top with remaining 1 tablespoon of ghee or oil.
Close lid and pressure cook at Manual/Pressure Cook for 6 mins at LOW pressure. After cooking, carefully release the pressure (QR). You can do that by turning the pressure knob from sealing to venting position in DUO models, or, pressing down the pressure knob in ULTRA model. Open the lid after the pin has dropped.
Using silicone mitts, remove the stainless steel insert from the base and place it on a heat-resistant surface (I place it on the stove). This prevents the biryani from over cooking. Let it sit uncovered for 5 mins, which helps release excess moisture .
After 5 mins, fluff the biryani gently with a fork. Serve warm with your favorite raita (yogurt dip).
Start with long grain basmati rice, it makes a huge difference in texture and presentation. I use Kohinoor XL.
Soak the rice for 10-15 minutes. Any longer and I find the Biryani to be mushy. You can suit your taste and soak for up to 30 mins.
Using low pressure is key in this recipe. Since vegetables tend to over cook in pressure cooking, low pressure prevents that and maintains a nice texture for vegetables.
Adding paneer is totally optional, but highly recommended. It adds protein to this dish and makes it a well balanced meal.
To make Vegan Vegetable Biryani, replace ghee with any clear oil, and paneer with tofu, or skip that. You can skip the yogurt and add 2-3 tablespoons of plain cashewgurt.
If you have fried onions on hand, skip the onion saute step in the beginning and use that instead.
Quickly releasing pressure is the ideal option, it prevents the rice and vegetables from over cooking.
Removing the stainless steel insert after cooking also prevents the rice and vegetables at the bottom from over cooking.
Letting the biryani sit uncovered for 5 minutes helps evaporate any excess moisture. This leads to a light and fluffy biryani.
Saffron is a key ingredient in Biryani. It adds a nice floral aroma and crimson color to the rice. However, if you do not have in on hand, you can skip it.
Note: The nutrition facts below are my estimates. If you are following any diet plan, I recommend cross-checking with your preferred nutrition calculator.