Paneer and black chickpea (kala chana) biryani pie

Truly a one pot meal…A dum vegetarian biryani pie with paneer and black chickpeas that has a buttery naan as a lid to give it ‘dum’ and a crispy potato layer at the bottom worth fighting for.

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What if you could eat a pie with two comfort foods in one? If that sounds wonderful then look no further than this recipe of a flavourful makhni biryani topped with a soft buttery naan lid. And let me tell you it is absolutely delicious!!

Dum biryani means biryani – a mix of rice and vegetables/meat that is cooked low and slow in a sealed container. Cooking biryani in this manner allows the flavours to mature and intermingle resulting in an extremely flavourful end product. Making biryani therefore is definitely a time-consuming process requiring multiple steps but absolutely worth every bite.

To achieve textures and flavours, I layered the biryani in a spring foam pan with different components which bakes in the oven for a long time. The bottom layer of this biryani comprises of superfine slices of potatoes that forms a ‘panfried’ layer of crust worth fighting for. The next layer is the fragrant saffron rice cooked with whole spices followed by black chickpea and paneer stir fry. This layer is highly customizable, you could put stir fry veggie mix here or masala eggs or even a layer of kofta.

Further on, I topped the black chickpea and paneer stir fry with my makhni gravy and then completing the layering with another fragrant layer of saffron rice. To give the ‘dum’ to the layers, I topped it with a butter naan sprinkled with black sesame seeds. The biryani pie then cooks in the oven making those slices of potatoes turn into a golden crust at the bottom and a soft naan at the top. This recipe is a must try if you are looking for a whole load of textures and flavours.

Now to the pointers on getting it right:

  1. Choose a long grain rice that is non sticky. A mushy rice just doesn’t work for biryani unless you are ready to eat khichdi instead ?
  2. Cook each component separately and check seasoning before layering.
  3. A generous sprinkling of fried onions, cashews and raisins add to the richness of the biryani making it exotic
  4. Equally layer each component pressing it down as you go for uniformity.
  5. And lastly, don’t skimp on ghee. Loads of ghee is what makes the biryani restaurant style ?

So, get ready to read one of the longest recipes I have written on this blog!!

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Let me know how this recipe turned out for you by writing to me in the comments below. And if you take a picture, please tag me on my instagram handle @acookwithin to share your creation😊 It would make my day!

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10 thoughts on “Paneer and black chickpea (kala chana) biryani pie”

  1. I tried it yesterday. It turned out awesome. However the potatoes didn’t crisp. What can possibly the reason behind it?

    1. Thank you for trying Neha. I am so happy to hear that it turned out well for you. About potoatoes, did you use a mandoline to slice the pototoes? and used enough butter/ghee to to coat it? For the pototoes to be crispy, these two factors are quite important. Thinner the potatoes, crispier they will be on cooking.

        1. The potatoes won’t turn brown but the edges will. It’s a good sign, it means that they are crisping up. A mandolin cuts it super fine which unfortunately knife doesn’t.

          1. Hey
            Trying out the recipe today but somehow my springform pan is missing. Can i put it in the oven in a glass container?

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