Biryani or Pulao – What’s the catch?

Are you cooking  Biryani or pulao today? Wait, aren't these two the name of the same dish?

Well, in the world of taste, certain debates seem to go on forever. For instance, is it curd or yogurt? What distinguishes smoothies from juices? But, one of the most debated points of contention of all time is whether pulao and biryani are the same.

How many times have we heard a non-vegetarian saying there is no such thing as vegetarian biryani- it's pulao. And, a vegetarian friend counters, why not? The argument is that vegetables are being used instead of meat and the same cooking procedure is being followed as biryani. Only foodies and culinary experts, on the other hand, are aware that biryani and pulao are two distinct cuisines in more ways than possible.

It is said that Mughals introduced Biryani in India along with kebabs and pilafs. But, with time, biryani earned its royal status in the hearts of food lovers with some innovative desi tadka and twists. If we talk about pulao, it adds that familiar Ghar ka khana wala feel. It provides a quick-fix for a delectable hunger while also providing health advantages. Pulao is an ode to simplicity and fitness.

Like Biryani, it also has many variations that add to its heritage and authenticity. The most basic difference in the making of these two delicacies is the methodology used in cooking.

The absorption method is used to prepare pulao. Everything, including rice and vegetables, is put into a container at the same time, and the ingredients absorb the water as they cook. Biryani works on the draining method. This is done so that the rice grain cooks and elongates, giving Biryani rice the correct texture. The layering of meat or veggies is the most important factor in determining whether a Biryani is a Biryani or not. Some people like to add the rice first, followed by the semi-cooked meat, vegetables then the rice layer. In other ways, the first layer of rice is skipped, and the meat layer is started. Different parts of the country follow different recipes for making it.

When it comes to the spices used in the meals, the luxuriant blend of spices and condiments that goes into a biryani imparts a rich texture and enticing aroma. Did you know? On average a Biryani has 15 spices that go into it. Biryani is made delectable in taste and essence with bay leaves, dry fruits, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, coriander and mint leaves, among others, while a pulao is usually not that loaded. Many parameters, including heat and vessel selection play a role in determining whether the dish can become a biryani or a pulao and how it will taste. However, for food lovers, both the dishes are delicious in their own unique way and to be enjoyed with relish!