“Biryani”, when you hear this magical what comes to your mind? If you visualise fragrant rice smeared in mouth watering spices along with chicken, mutton, egg or veggies, then you are not the only one.
I say “Biryani is a ritual, is a religion, is an emotion”.
The origin of biryani takes us to Persia, the word biryani itself has been derived from Persian word “birinj”, which is equivalent to rice. Some sources also suggests that it is derived from “beriyan”, which means “to fry”. Whatever the correct theory is, one can relate to both the theories, as biryani does mean rice which has fried contents.
It is uncertain if the dish originated in Persia (and was bought to India by Mughals) or if the biryani was originated in north of india, historians have debated about this, and I am less qualified than those historians to put any claim. Only thing I could say is that Biryani has now “Indian” associated with it now and quintessential to Indian cuisine.
In past, I have shared recipes of Chicken Dum Biryani, Lamb Biryani and Jackfruit Biryani, however as I am a vegetarian myself, I decided that this time around, I will be making (and sharing) the recipe of vegetable based biryani. In terms of steps to make biryani, all these biryanis of mine have similarity, as I like that “Dum” flavour. In future, I do envisage to share other style of Biryani recipes.
“Dum”, is a process of cooking in steam, and to make Dum Biryani, one needs to close the cooking vessel/ container air tight, so that steam does not go out and let the biryani cook gradually in the steam.
Lot of times people argue that if there is no meat in biryani it is rather be called pulao or pilaf.
So let’s understand what’s difference between Veg Biryani and Pulao/Pilao.
Difference between Biryani and Pulao
First thing is way of rice preparation.
While Biryani is made by boiling rice in water, and then draining the water away, leftover rice is used to layer up. However, Pulao is made through the absorption process, so the amount of water or stock is completely absorbed by the rice and vegetables in the dish.
Second is the Layering
In Biryani, rice is layered over the semi-cooked veggies or meat and let it cook so that rice gets the flavour from the vegetables or meat used. In Pulao, there is no layering, both rice and vegetables are cooked together.
Third is spices
Biryani is rich in spices, but Pulao normally is less loaded with spices. Fragrance coming from Biryani is unique (thanks to its spices), in Pulao its not so strong.
Fourth is heat
Biryani is normally cooked on slow heat for long time, this slow heat lets the flavour of Veg (or meat) mix well with the rice. Best to use a heavy bottom pot for cooking biryani. Pulao, on other hand is made on medium to fast heat and takes much less time to cook compared to Biryani.
Hoping my above explanations can put to rest the age old debate of Biryani vs Pulao.
Of course there are other variants of rice like, Fried rice, Tehri / Khichdi, may be I will create a dedicated post to explain differences between all of these rice dishes.
Let’s now get to step by step recipe of making this delicious Vegetable Biryani at home.