Biryani is a mixed rice dish from South Asia. It is made with spices, rice and meat or vegetables.


The origin of Biryani is uncertain. In North India, it is traditionally associated with the Mughlai cuisine of Delhi and the Awadhi cuisine of Lucknow; in South India, it is traditionallyTraditional Indian Biryani as closeup on a white plate associated with the Hyderabadi cuisine.

The word “Biryani” is derived from Persian language. One theory is that it originates from “birinj”, the Persian word for rice. Another theory is that it derives from “biryan” or “beriyan” (to fry or roast)

Difference between Biryani and Pilau

Pilau is another mixed rice dish popular in Indian cuisine. Although some of its varieties are associated with Persian influence in north India, it is also mentioned in ancient Indian texts such. Opinions differ on the differences between pilau and biryani, and whether there is a difference between the two at all.

According to the Eastern Spice Head Chef, the biryani has a stronger taste of curried rice due to a higher amount of spices. Other cooks, state that while the terms are often applied arbitrarily, the main distinction is that a biryani comprises two layers of rice with a layer of meat (or vegetables) in the middle; the pilau is not layered. The rice and meat are cooked separately and then mixed before cooking; in biryani, the soaked rice is fried and then cooked with the meat and stronger spices.


Historically, the most common varieties of rice used for preparation of biryani were the long-grain brown rice (in North India) and Zeera Samba rice (in South India). Today, the basmati rice is the most common variety. In Bangladesh, puffed rice is also used. The spices and condiments used in biryani may include, but are not limited to, ghee (clarified butter), nutmeg, mace, pepper, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaves, coriander, mint leaves, ginger, onions, and garlic. For a non-vegetarian biryani, the main ingredient that accompanies the spices is the meat, chicken and mutton are the most commonly used meat for cooking a biryani. The dish is also served with a complimentary vegetable curry.


Biryani was brought in the UK by the South Asians, especially Bengalis. In most places, it is served in the Hyderabadi or Lucknowi style. Spices are toned down a lot from any of the original versions, keeping in mind the food habits of the locals.

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