Biryani is the specialty of Ashish’s hometown, Hyderabad. I have made it many times and I really love it. But Ashish, while he eats it, and says that it’s good, has a way of letting me know it’s not at all the way an Indian would make it. Nonetheless, I try. This time I think it was right at least it seemed right and without him here to sneer at it, I’m going with perfect. This was vegetable and paneer biryani. Potatoes, paneer, carrots, onions, tomatoes and peas were marinated in a spice mix with yogurt. That vegetable mix then goes into an oiled pot (that has a tight lid – I have the feeling that in India tight lids do not exist since most recipes suggest many various forms of making sure the lid is secure, including using towels and aluminum foil.) and then on top of the vegetables, a mixture of rice with caramelized onions and spices is layered with raisins, almonds and cashews. This cooks on medium low for an hour. When it is done you mix it all up and serve it with raita.
My niece who just came back from a semester in India said it was the best raita she’d ever had.