Everything You Want To Know About Biryani



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One of my enduring interests is in the origin of biryani. Nearly all the theories that have been offered to clarify how biryani began strike me as being false.

Regular readers of this column will be familiar with two regulars of Rude Food. The first is the great biryani hunt, which is now into its second year with disastrous consequences for my shape. What's more, the second is my admiration for Pratibha Karan, the retired IAS officer, who I see as one of India's best home cooks. Imagine my joy, hence, when both these wonders met up.

I was pleased to receive, through the post, a copy of Pratibha’s new cookbook dedicated to biryani. Despite the fact that the book is published by Random House, well known publishers of diet books and recipe books, it appears to be not to have gotten the over-hyped treatment that is Random House’s specialty. I hope this article will set the balance right because Pratibha’s is really an extraordinary book, one that will turn into a classic of Indian food writing.


One of my suffering advantages is in the beginning of biryani. Essentially every one of the theories that have been offered to explain how biryani originated strikes me as being bogus. One rendition is that the Mughals carried biryani masala online to India which is totally false on the grounds that the dish was known even before Babur got here. Another is that Timur (the Tamerlane of epic poetry) brought biryani with him when he came to plunder the sub-continent. This is nonsense.

The only possible distinction is that a biryani requires layering, with rice being the main layer and the top layer and the meat in the center. In a pulao, there is no layering and the ingredients are cooked together. Moreover, because biryanis are regarded as grander dishes, they will in general be scented with kewda, rosewater, saffron and so forth while pulaos can be easier dishes. But, Pratibha's genuine interest isn't in the starting points of biryani or in the semantic distinctions between biryanis and pulaos.

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