Drain the soaked rice. Bring to boil 3/2 cup of water in a big container. Add bay leaf and black cardamon. Add 1 tsp oil into the water .
Add the rice and cook till it is 3/4th done. For basmati rice, it generally takes 5-6 minutes. Drain the rice and spread it flat on a plate to let it cool.
Take a heavy bottom pan. Prepare a dough from flour enough to seal the container with a lid on. I use 5L pressure cooker and cook the biryani with the lid on but without whistle.
Add 1 1/2 tbsp oil and 1 1/2 tsp ghee into the pan. When the oil is heated, add cardamon pods, black peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon stick and shahi jeera.
When the seeds stop to crackle, add the onions, green chilli and ginger garlic paste. Saute for 5-7 minutes till the onion turns brown and translucent.
Add the sliced mushrooms. Saute on medium high for 5-7 minutes until there is no moisture.
Add the tomatoes, curry powder, turmeric, kashmiri mirch powder and cayenne. Saute for 5 minutes till the tomatoes become soft and mushy.
Meanwhile beat the yogurt in a separate bowl. Add this to the pan and mix and stir quickly.
Reduce the heat to low. Now start layering. Add some rice. Sprinkle some coriander leaves, a little pudina powder and few drops of lemon juice. Repeat for other layers in the same way.
Take a little amount of rice in a separate bowl and mix it with food color. Add this on the top layer. Do not mix with the rest of the rice.
If using saffron milk, spread it on top layer in any pattern . Do not mix.
Seal the cooker with the lid on and no whistle. The rubber gasket should be there on the lid to prevent escape of steam from the sides.
If using a container, seal the top with the dough or aluminum foil and place the cover on it.
Cook the biryani on a low flame for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, check if the rice is done. Insert the end of a wooden spatula into the bottom of the center.
If there is no water, turn off the gas. If it is a little wet, cover the lid and let it cook for another 5 minutes. This is the way I check to see if the biryani is done.
Turn off the gas. Do not stir the biryani immediately. Let it rest for 10 minutes and then mix. The reason is rice is very brittle when hot, so might break if you try to mix immediately.
Serve the biryani hot with curry or raita .