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Biryani is biryani, not pulao!

Updated: Dec 6, 2022

Let us tell you a joke: Veg Biryani.

Hahaha! Are we the only ones laughing? Didn't you get the joke?

Well, we don't blame you. Most people we know don't get this one. Let's end this situation once and for all and break all the myths surrounding ‘biryani and pulao’ facts so that the next time we crack a joke, we hear you laugh.

Biryani Vs. Pulao

Many parallels can be drawn while postulating the origins and nature of biryani and pulao. But, the differences between the two can't be missed.

Is veg biryani even a biryani?

Let us just paint you a picture: There is a man called Raju, who is vegetarian. He likes rice dishes so much that he stuffs vegetables inside a non-vegetarian dish and starts calling it a vegetarian variety. You tell us now, is Raju claiming what's right or blatantly pushing his ideologies to alter what was created many eons ago?

We hope you got our point; call it pulao from now and not veg biryani.

Biryani drains water while pulao absorbs!

The preparation style of the two varies to a great extent. We all know that Biryani is cooked in dum pukht style and is made with rice par-boiled in water. The excess water is drained out from the rice, which is then generally mixed with meat and fried onions to bring out the spicy culinary delight to our platter.

On the other hand, Pulao is made through the absorption method—where the rice and vegetables get entirely absorbed in the water. The end result is a soft rice dish that is mellow on spice and spruced up with the vegetable mix!

Pulao is India-made, while biryani has its roots in Persia.

While we don't deny the fact that biryani came from Persia, the former claim is entirely incorrect. Pulao originated in Turkey, from where it came all the way to India. Turkish people call it Pilaf, and their variants included meat in the dish. However, Indians dumped the non-vegetarian element and made it a food souvenir for solely vegetarians.

Biryani bloomed in the kitchen of Mughals and Nawabs in India, where the dish was layered with semi-cooked rice, caramelized onions, and meat wrapped in whole aromatic spices and dry fruits. Biryani has a distinguished taste and smell, owing to the slow cooking method known as dum pukht—this makes the next difference point.

Pulao is India-made, while biryani has its roots in Persia.

Yes! Biryani is cooked on a slow flame for several hours to create a spectacular amalgamation of meat, spices, and rice! The cooking process allows each ingredient to mix with others and transform into an elegant dish. And we are just not talking about the taste, but appearance, the delectable mix of spices gives a pleasant-to-eye fodder to biryani-lovers.

While pulao is prepared on medium to high heat, where the veggies, minimal spices, and rice are thrown in a container full of water, the ingredients are simmered together, making a mellow rice dish. It takes comparatively lesser time than biryani and is mainly cooked in a pressure cooker.

Pulao needs a side dish while biryani is self-sustained.

Due to its mild nature, pulao often has to be accompanied by a side dish to balance out the taste. A gravy-vegetable plate or dals or anything can be added to enhance the flavor of pulao. Biryani is considered a self-sustaining food that needs nothing to supplement the taste. Based on the resistance to spiciness, one can add some chutney, yogurt, or mirch ka saalan!

That's pretty much everything that one might confuse between a biryani and pulao. We hope we feed you with enough information for you to successfully differentiate biryani from pulao on your next visit to your favorite eatery! In case you stumble upon somebody who would say anything otherwise about the biryani-pulao fact, please agree to disagree! The forever war between biryani and pulao will not end as long as the world is filled with biryani aficionados and pulao connoisseurs.

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