The discussion on veg biryani has taken the spotlight recently and we can’t help but wonder about the question that it raises. Both these dishes have a minute difference for biryani eaters which makes each different from each other. While both are rice dishes, calling each recipe synonymously with the other is a crime for food connoisseurs.
It is an evergreen classic that needs no introduction. India offers so much on its culinary platter but the one dish Indians unanimously love indulging in is the mouth-watering biryani. With local and hyperlocal variations having evolved into distinctive styles of biryanis, one is spoilt for options when it comes to experiencing this melting pot of flavors.
As pulao is originally from Persia, Pilaf, pulao or Pilafi is still considered to be derived from the Sanskrit word “pulaka” or “Pulla” ( meaning rice & vegetables). It is made by sauteing the ingredients, then cooking in a predetermined quantity of water.
History Of Veg Biryani
Researchers believe, its a dish originating in India which made its way back through Central Asia. On the other hand, there is speculation that the veg biryani recipe originated in Persia but migrated to India with the Mughals. Considering that Mughals were advocates of fine cuisine, they shaped the Indian culinary heritage significantly with this recipe.
Many parallels can be drawn when it comes to the origins of veg biryani and pulao. But, the contrasts between the two can’t be overlooked. Talking in technical terms though, biryani is not just cooked rice and other condiments like pulao. Certain things set the biryani apart from the pulao; for instance, saffron, kewra jal, and several other specific spices. And then there is the ‘dum’ technique of cooking biryani, which doesn’t apply to pulao.
As pulao is easy to cook the recipe in which the contents are cooked first, the rice is added and then the duo is cooked together in a pre-set amount of water. Hence, pulao is essentially a one-pot dish made wielding the absorption method. The vegetable biryani is made through a complex and time-consuming process.
The fresh vegetables are prepared separately along with spices, while the rice is par-boiled separately. The next step involves arranging the ingredients in layers in a pot & slow cook them in “dum”, on a low fire. A menagerie of flavors and spices, biryani is described as an evergreen classic.
The usage of spices in the dishes is humble on spices, easy on the preparation of cooking and simple in terms of technique, a veg pulao would be one’s go-to-dish on a rainy day. The only additions that are made to a pulao besides its simple blend of rice, vegetables, and spices are whole dry fruits or nuts to add some zing.
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Pulao is never high on spices but remains high in flavors. It’s a delicate balance of simple ingredients and subtle zests. In a vegetable biryani, on the other hand, spices are the foundation of its complexity. An essential part of the preparation, this vibrant dish may have strong or subdued flavors relying on the region it originates from in India, but the intricate use of seasonings and flavorings is a binding factor.
It is always prepared in layers, with at least one layer dedicated to meat or vegetables and another one for fried onions. While in the case of a pulao, the veggies, meat, and rice are sauteed together, and then cooked in a predetermined quantity of water. The primary difference between biryani and pulao is the preparation method. It is made using the draining method of cooking whereas pulao is made through the absorption method. The spices used in preparing biryani is high as compared to pulao, this gives the biryani a very rich aroma and texture.