For Cooking Basmati Rice: Rinse the rice well in water for 2 to 3 times, till the water runs clear. Soak it in water for 30 minutes and drain the water.
Roll boil water in a pan and add all the spices, mentioned in the table 'For cooking basmati rice'. Then add salt and oil.
Now add rice and cook till the rice grains are 3/4th cooked (parboiled only). Drain the water and spread the rice in a plate. Allow it to cool and gently fluff it with a fork. Keep it by side.
Soak saffron in warm milk and slice the onions lengthwise. Get ready with other ingredients required for gravy. Peel the skin of potato, carrot and chop all the veggies little bigger.
Pour the curd in a bowl and whisk a little. Also, clean coriander leaves and mint leaves required for layering biryani.
For Frying Onions: In a heavy-bottomed pan, pour ghee/oil and once it turns hot add onions and cashews. Fry till golden brown and crispy. Then reserve little onions and cashew required for layering biryani.
For Gravy: Now pour ghee, add jeera, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, bay leaf and star anise. Add ginger-garlic paste, chopped veggies and saute for 2 minutes, till raw smell leaves. Then add turmeric powder and chilli powder.
Now add salt and curd. Cover it with a lid and cook for 6 to 7 minutes in medium flame.
Don't overcook the veggies, it should retain crunchiness that is half cooked only. Then add mint leaves and give a gentle mix. For Layering / Assembling: Spread the rice evenly over the gravy.
Sprinkle with coriander and mint leaves. Pour saffron milk uniformly, add fried onions and cashews.
Finally, squeeze lemon juice over the rice. If doing in large quantity, repeat the same with layering. For Dum: Heat a heavy-bottomed tava/tawa and place the pan over the tawa. Seal it with an aluminium foil and cover it with a lid tightly. Cook for 15 mins in low flame and switch off the flame. Give a standing time of 10 mins and give a very gentle mix with a fork.Serve this Hyderabadi dum biryani with onion raitha.
Tips for Hyderabadi Dum Biryani
1. Use good quality and aged basmati rice for long rice grains, I used India Gate basmati rice. 2. Soaking rice for 30 mins is important, as it helps in even cooking and gives firm/separate grains. 3. Don't cook the rice completely, it should be parboiled, cook till 3/4th only. 4. Fried onions are a must ingredient, as it gives a special flavour for this Hyderabadi veg dum biryani recipe. 5. Shahi Jeera, caraway seeds, mace can also be used in gravy for more flavour. 6. Chop the veggies little bigger, as it don't turn mushy while cooking, also half cook the veggies only. 7. Veggies can be pressure cooked for 1 whistle. 7. Adjust green chilli and chilli powder as per spice level preferred. 8. Add salt for rice and gravy separately. 9. If you don't prefer lemon juice, it can be replaced with 1 tomato while making gravy. 10. Do the dum process in low flame only for this Hyderabadi dum biryani. 11. Use ghee/oil generously to prevent the rice from burning during dum process. 12. Instead of aluminium foil, dough/moist white cloth can be used for sealing the pot. 13. Always give a resting time of minimum 10 mins before serving, so the flavours get infused well.