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Masoor Daal and Paneer Biriyani

Though it may seem like an Indian staple, biriyani originated in Persia and was brought to India by the Mughals. This aromatic and delectable version of vegetarian biriyani is loaded with protein, minerals, and healthy carbs. Complex blends of spices, flavors, and aromas make it a complete meal on its own.


  • 1 cup masoor dal

  • 1 red onion

  • 1 tomato

  • 2 tbsp ghee (or butter or oil)

  • 10 cloves garlic

  • 2-inch ginger

  • 1 green chili

  • 1 bell pepper

  • 1 medium potato (optional)

  • 8 oz paneer

  • 8-10 cashews

  • 8-10 sultana or golden raisins

  • 4-5 saffron threads

  • 2 tbsp milk

  • 4 tsp MDH Bombay Biriyani Masala

  • 2 tbsp cumin seeds

  • 1/4th cup mint (more for garnish)

  • 1/4th cup cilantro (more for garnish)

  • 2 cups Kohinoor Basmati Rice

  • 1 tsp lemon juice

  • 1 large cinnamon stick

  • 5 cloves

  • Salt to taste

  • 2 pods cardamom or 2 tsp cardamom powder

  • 16 oz plain whole yogurt


  1. Soak masoor daal overnight or for 4-6 hours. Rinse and soak rice in cold water for 15 minutes. Add saffron threads to warm milk, stir and let it sit.

  2. Mince ginger and garlic. Finely chop the chili. Chop onion, bell pepper, and potatoes into 2-inch pieces. Chop tomatoes and keep aside. Cut the paneer into cubes.

  3. In a 5 quart dutch oven, heat ghee. Add cumin seeds, the cinnamon stick, and cloves. Add onion, garlic, and ginger. Stir for two minutes.

  4. Add chopped potatoes and bell pepper. Drain the masoor daal and add it to the pot.

  5. Add cashews, raisins, chili, tomatoes, salt, biryani masala, and cardamom. Cover and cook on low heat for 10 minutes. Add cubes of paneer.

  6. In a 3 quart saucepan, boil 5 cups of water and add the basmati rice. Add salt and lemon juice. Leave the lid ajar and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes.

  7. Drain the rice and add to the masoor daal mixture. Add mint, cilantro, and saffron milk. Gently stir.

  8. Mix together 1/2 cup of yogurt and 1/2 cup of water to make buttermilk. Drizzle it over the biryani. Cover and let it simmer on very low heat for 5 minutes.

  9. Turn off the stove and let the biryani sit for at least half an hour until serving to get all the aroma locked in!

  10. Garnish with mint and cilantro and serve with plain yogurt or raita.

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