Biryani, biriani, or beriani is a set
of rice-based foods made with spices, rice (usually basmati) and meat,
fish, eggs or vegetables. The name is derived from the Persian word
beryā(n) (بریان) which means "fried" or "roasted".
Left: Chicken Dum
Biryani was brought to the Indian Subcontinent by
Muslim travelers and merchants. Local variants of this dish are not
only popular in South Asia but also in Arabia and within various
Indian communities in Western countries.
The spices and condiments used in biryani may include but are
not limited to: ghee, peas, beans, cumin, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, bay
leaves, coriander and mint leaves, ginger, onions, and garlic. The premium
varieties include saffron. For a non-vegetarian biryani, the main ingredient
that accompanies the spices is the meat —
beef, pork, chicken, goat, lamb, fish or shrimp. The dish may be served
with dahi chutney or Raita, korma, curry, a sour dish of eggplant (brinjal) or a
The difference between biryani and
is that while pilaf may be made by cooking the items together, biryani is used
to denote a dish where the rice is cooked separately from the other ingredients.