1. Bring 8 cups of water to a boil in a large pan along with the bay leaves and salt.
2. Tie the cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, cumin and mace in a muslin bundle, add this to the water and simmer for about 15 minutes.
3. Add the rice and boil for about 15 minutes till the rice is almost done.
4. Drain the rice in a strainer, put it back in the pan and add garam masala powder and ghee.
5. Line a heavy-based pan with the bay leaves, cover with layers of rice alternating with layers of vegetables, starting and ending with rice, sprinkle with lemon juice.
6. Soak the saffron in milk and add the food colour.
7. Pour on one half of the rice in the pan, leaving the other side white.
8. Spread the yogurt and cream over the rice so that it is completely covered.
9. Seal the lid to the pot with dough and put back on the stove on very low heat, for 30 minutes.
10. Serve the biryani garnished with mint and fried onions.