January 26, 2023

Food Bites: Biryani

What is Biryani?

Biryani is a intricate rice dish made with layers of curried meat, rice, vegetables and Asian spices, then cooked in a slow or pressure cooker until it becomes a one-pot meal. It may be served with raita (yogurt mixed with vegetables). Biryani can be made with chicken or mutton.

Where Does Biryani Come From?

Biryani originated in Persia but was made famous by the Timurid Sultanate (also called the Mughal Sultanate), based in modern-day Pakistan and India. The word Biryani is derived from the Persian word Birian which means โ€œfried before cooking,โ€ and Birinj, the Persian word for rice. Biryani is a prevalent dish served at Pakistani and Indian weddings and other special functions or events. It is often served alongside dishes such as Nihari and Haleem. Typically, biryani can be categorized as Mughlai Biryani.

Cooking Biryani in a Rice Cooker:

1. Start by chopping onions, ginger, and garlic.
2. Choose your meat (traditionally chicken) and make sure it is shredded while warm.
3. Add oil or ghee to a deep pan and heat it on a medium flame for 10 minutes until the oil becomes hot enough for frying.
4. Add spices such as cumin seeds, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, and salt if desired.
5. Add finely chopped onions into the pan as well as ginger paste, & garlic paste mixed with a half cup of water.


There are several different ways to make Biryani, and it is categorized by region, with the most popular areas being:


  • Mughlai Biryani
    A spicy dish traditionally from Delhi and North India that uses egg to cook the meat in a pot.
  • Hyderabadi Biryani
    This Biryani is cooked with spices and then layered with pieces of meat or poultry, garnished with nuts and raisins and served in a bowl.
  • Kolkata Biryani
    Kolkata Biryani is cooked with spices and then layered with pieces of meat or poultry, garnished with mixed raisins, which are mixed before serving.
  • Pakistani Biryani
    Pakistani Biryani, also called pakki (or cooked), comes in several varieties, such as Sindhi, Karachi-style, and Bombay biryani. It is traditionally made with cooked meat and parboiled rice steamed together. Side note this is also the spiciest biryani.


Biryani has had a significant cultural impact from its roots and connections throughout Asia and to the Timurid Sultanate; it is also regarded as one of the most popular dishes in both Pakistan and India. With Asian and Arabic cultureโ€™s popularity growing and expanding throughout the world, Biryani is a part of this growth. The popularity of Biryani today and its diverse history symbolizes the power food can have over different cultures and subcultures. Different Indian, Pakistani and Persian regions have their own spin on Biryani; it will be interesting to see what other cultures throughout the world make of it and see how they put their spin on this delicious dish. We hope you enjoyed learning all about Biryani, and hopefully, you can now make many delicious Biryani meals in the future!

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