Rice: Wash the rice and fry it in the ghee for a couple of minutes. Add the water and salt and let it cook till you can no longer see the water and small bubble-holes form on top of the rice. Switch off heat and cover and keep.
Grind the ingredients under “grind to a paste” and keep aside.
Heat the ghee in a wide heavy bottomed pan. Add the onion, whole spices, turmeric powder and cayenne and sauté till the onions are soft and light brown. Add the tomatoes at this point and cook till they soften. Add the ground paste and salt and cook for a few more minutes. Now add the vegetables and a little water and cover and cook till the vegetables are soft.
Remove the vegetable masala mix to a different bowl. Layer the pan in which you cooked the vegetables in, alternatingly with the cooked basmati rice and the vegetable masala mix, starting and ending with the rice. Keep it covered and cook over low heat for 10 mins or so.
Heat the oil for deep frying. Toss the onion slices with the flour and add to the hot oil. Fry till onions are crispy and brown. Drain and keep aside. Fry the bread cubes till they are brown and crispy too. Drain on paper towels.
Heat the ghee and fry the cashew till it is golden brown and the raisins, till they puff up.
Switch off the heat of the biryani pot and garnish with the fried onions, bread cubes, cashews and raisins. Top with finely chopped cilantro. Serve hot with a raita of your choice, biryani chammanti / chutney and some Indian pickles.