The Indian Main Dish with Muslim Origins
“Biryani” is an Urdu word derived from the Persian language, which was used in medieval India under various Islamic dynasties. It is said to originate from “birinj”, the Persian word for rice. People in Central Asia, more than four thousand years ago, have been adding the meat of cows, buffaloes (beef) and goats (mutton) to rice, later called Pulao, the precursor of the Biryani. If people were well- off, they use goat meat, poorer folks use beef.
The one-dish, rice-based meal consists of rice and meat that are layered in a casserole before it is oven-baked. The meat can be chicken, seafood and other meats, or can be meatless, as in a veggie casserole. Normally, biryani is made of basmati rice, the long slender-grained aromatic rice of India, and then flavored with cloves, cinnamon, cardamon, bay leaf, coriander, mint, ginger, garlic and onions.
Orange saffron milk is traditionally sprinkled on the top of the dish before baking, which accounts for the rice’s yellow-orange color and saffron flavor. Biryani is often served with a yogurt-based condiment such as raita or a tomato, onion and cilantro relish.
Biryani is the primary dish in a meal, not just an accompaniment. The meat and rice are cooked separately before being layered and cooked together. Also, it has a strong taste of curried rice due to a high amount of spices. But not all biryanis are the same. With the massiveness of the country, there are different versions of this meal depending on the region. Pakistan, Delhi, Calcutta, Kerala, Ambur, Tamil Nadu, Karachi, and Hyderabad, among others have each their own version of biryani.
This is truly a dish to serve whenever families, communities and regions come together for celebrations.
Celebrating India in Bellevue
When in Bellevue and exploring exotic Asian dishes, try Indian cuisine. Visit our Indian restaurant and browse our menu – you might just find one you’d absolutely like. Give biryani a try and experience traditional Indian food at its best.