Vegetable and Paneer Biryani – A classic Indian one pot meal that is full of flavors and aromas from whole spices, garam masala and the long grain basmati rice.
I have been trying to perfect my vegetable biryani in the Instant Pot for months now. After the success of my InstaPot Chicken Biryani recipe in just a few tries, I was surprised to see how much different it was to cook vegetable Biryani in the Instant Pot. Although I was using the same rice and similar spices, it took many failed attempts (mushy rice, undercooked rice, mushy veggies etc) before I got the technique right. The key was to choose the right kind of vegetables and also more importantly cut them right so they all cook within 6 mins of pressure cooking time.
This Biryani recipe is inspired from my mom’s famous vegetable pulav recipe. She cuts her veggies in a certain size and shape, which I thought was to make the dish look gorgeous! But now I understand that it also helps them cook to perfectly each time. The same trick of cutting the veggies and choosing the right ones, helped me with this easy vegetable biryani recipe. Then my talented cousin gave me an idea of adding Paneer to this dish which really took the Biryani to a whole new level.
I have tried to explain the sizes of the veggies but do see the video so you get a better idea!
- 2 cups long grain basmati rice
- 3 tbsp ghee divided
- 1 large onion thinly sliced
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 4 whole green cardamom
- 4 cloves
- 8-10 whole black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup carrots chopped lengthwise into 1 inch x 1/4 inch strips
- 1 cup green beans chopped into 1 inch pieces
- 1 cup white mushrooms halved
- 1/2 cup red pepper chopped into 1 inch x 1/2 inch strips
- 1/2 cup corn
- 1 cup paneer cubed into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1/2 tbsp ginger
- 1/2 tbsp garlic
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp red chili powder
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 3 tsp salt divided
- 1/2 cup fresh mint chopped
- 1/2 cup cilantro chopped
Rinse and soak the rice in 2 cups of water for 20 mins. Drain water after 20 mins.
Set Instant Pot to Saute(More) mode and heat 1 tablespoon of ghee. Add sliced onions and cook for 5-7 mins or until the onions are lightly caramelized.
Take half of the onions out and reserve for garnish.
Add remaining ghee, cumin seeds, cardamom, cloves, black pepper, bay leaves. Cook for 30 seconds. Add all the veggies (carrots, green beans, mushrooms, red pepper, corn, paneer). Press cancel and deglaze the pot removing any browning. Use 1-2 tablespoons of water if needed. Add ginger, garlic, turmeric, red chili powder, garam masala and 1 tsp of salt. mix well. Add mint, rice and 2 tsp salt. Add 2 cups of water. Mix well, making sure most of the rice is under water.
Close Instant Pot with pressure valve to sealing. Cook on Manual(Hi) for 6 mins. Quick release. Open IP. Garnish with caramelized onions and cilantro.
Enjoy hot with Raita!
Note: You can make this recipe Vegan by using coconut oil instead of ghee and extra firm tofu instead of paneer
Deglaze the pot after adding the vegetables to remove any browning in the pot from sautéing the onions. This will help the Instant Pot come to pressure and also prevent the biryani from burning.
Hey there! I am a techie turned recipe developer, cooking instructor, and food blogger. I love food and enjoy developing easy and healthy recipes for busy lifestyles. I live New Jersey with my husband and two sons.