In a big pot of boiling water add bay leaf, big cardamom, green cardamom and salt.
Add washed and soaked basmati rice and cook till the rice are 60-70% done.
Drain out the water using a colander and keep these partially cooked rice aside.
Heat oil in a pan and add one sliced onion to it. Cook the onions till it becomes crisp and dark brown. Keep them aside. If you are using store bought crispy fried onions skip this step.
For making biryani, in the same pan heat 2 tablespoon ghee and fry buts if you are using them. Take them out after 1 minute and keep them aside.
In the same pan add whole spices, cumin, 1-2 star anise, 1-inch cinnamon stick, 2 Cardamom, 3-4 cloves, peppercorn and cook for 1 minute on slow heat till spices are fragrant.
Add sliced onion and cook for another 2 minutes.
Now, add grated ginger fry it and add tomatoes and then add salt, red chili powder, garam masala powder or biryani masala or both in ½ quantities, and mix well. Cook till tomatoes are mushy.
Add ⅓ cup of water and mix well. cook for 3-4 minutes on medium heat.
Add paneer in this cooked masala and switch off the heat. Take out half of the paneer with cooked masala gravy.
Let the remaining half of paneer masala in same pan