Indian Recipe - Biryani

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 traditionally 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).

There is a theory about the Mughals having brought biryani to India, but another theory claims that the dish was known in the South Asia before Babur came to India. The 16th century Mughal text Ain-i-Akbari makes no distinction between biryanis and pulao. It states that the word “biryani” is of older usage in India.A similar theory – that biryani came to India with Timur’s invasion – also appears to be incorrect, because there is no record of biryani having existed in his native land during that period.

Ingredients of Biryani

Historically, the most common varieties of rice used for preparation of biryani were the long-grain brown rice and Zeera Samba rice. 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. The premium varieties include saffron. 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, special versions may include pork, beef, fish, or prawn. The dish may be served with dahi chutney or Raita, korma, curry, a sour dish of aubergine (brinjal), boiled egg, and salad.

List of varieties by ingredient

Tehari

Tahari, tehri or tehari is the name given to the vegetarian version of biryani. It was developed for the Hindu bookkeepers of the Muslim Nawabs. It is prepared by adding the potatoes to the rice as opposed to the case of traditional biryani, where the rice is added to the meat. In Kashmir, Tehari is sold as street food.

Mutton biryani

Mutton biryani may include goat meat.

Chicken biryani

Chicken biryani is biryani usually with fried chicken or baked chicken.

Pork biryani

Pork biryani uses various parts of pork as the meat in the biryani.

Egg biryani

Same preparation as chicken biryani but with a boiled egg instead of chicken. Sometimes the rice is taken from chicken biryani, and may have chicken flavour in it.

Shrimp biryani

This variety uses shrimp. It is quicker to prepare, as it does not require long hours of complex marinating procedures.

Fish biryani

Fish biryani uses different varieties of fish. It is also known as fish khichdi in Britain.

Daal biryani

Daal biryani offers the addition of daal to the ingredients of biryani. This enhances the nutritional value and fragrance.

Soya biryani

Soya biryani is a popular version of the dish, it is specially popular among the people following a vegetarian diet. In addition to the usual ingredients, this version also includes Soya chunks, which act as a great source of protein.