I absolutely love Indian biryani. It’s such a beautiful and comforting dish that is reminiscent of the rice hot-dishes (or casseroles…for all you non-Minnesotans out there) that I grew up eating as a kid–only a million times better! (sorry, Mom!).
Biryani is simply basmati rice cooked with spices and meats (and/or vegetables). There are many different styles and types of biryani, each as unique as the people who make (and eat!) them.
A traditional biryani can take hours and hours to make properly. Maybe someday I’ll have that kind of time to devote towards the absolute perfection of the dish; but until that time comes, I’ve got to take some short-cuts.
And because of the short-cuts I took…my biryani is technically a pulao (it is also close to what most Indian restaurants pass off as biryani in America).
What’s the difference? In a true biryani, each part of the dish is cooked–and spiced–separately. Then after each component has been cooked, they are all layered together; forming a dish with mind-blowing, contrasting flavors. It is simply amazing.
A pulao, on the other hand, is quite easier and faster to cook. All the ingredients are cooked together and the flavors of the dish come together as one. You miss out on the different layers of flavor, but the dish is still quite tasty–and way less time consuming!