The difference between Pulav, Biryani and Fried Rice

I have always known that the three were different.  But have never been able to articulate what ‘exactly’ the difference is.  That was until I stumbled on this article.  Here goes:


Lucknowi biryani, Yakhni pulao, veg fried rice–we love these dishes, and every other variant of their larger categories. But the one thing every foodie needs to keep in mind is that they are not the same.

Yes, they look similar. On occasion, the non-discerning ones among you might even assume they taste similar. But, the fact remains unchanged. Biryani, pulao, and fried rice are not interchangeable categories of rice dishes.

Many restaurants are as confused as the home cooks out there who assume making a biryani, a pulao and a fried rice dish entail the very same things. You should know the difference–because if you are in fact interchanging them, you are missing out on the authentic taste of all of these rice dishes. There are five major differences that you should be aware of.

1. Origins

Biryanis and pulaos are popular dishes in countries from India to Turkey. The Turkish pilaf is barely any different from the Indian versions. Biryani’s main variants were invented by the Mughals and Nawabs of the subcontinent–which is why we have different recipes from Lucknow, Kolkata and Hyderabad. Fried rice is basically a Chinese dish, and it’s made with predominant Chinese flavours.

2. Rice Preparation

Biryani is made using the draining method of cooking–which basically means the rice is par-boiled in water, and then drained, dried and used to layer up. Pulao is made through the absorption method, so the amount of water or stock is completely absorbed by the rice and vegetables in the dish. Fried rice is cooked with pre-cooked rice, and the method of cooking the rice doesn’t matter much.

3. Layering

Biryani is always prepared in layers, with at least one layer dedicated to meat and another one for fried onions. The ingredients are half-cooked (quite like the rice) separately, then layered. In Pulaos, the veggies, meat and rice are sauteed together, and then cooked with water or stock. The ingredients in a fried rice are never layered. The veggies are fried first, and pre-cooked rice is added later.

4. Spices

Biryanis are chock full of aromatic spices, with everything from whole cinnamon, cloves, cardamoms to saffron. Pulao is much less heavy on the spices, and usually the white on the rice isn’t hued with any other colouring. Fried rice is made with Chinese spices and ingredients like ajinomoto and soy sauce.

5. Heat

Biryani is always cooked for hours on a low flame. The utensil–whether made of terracotta, cast iron or copper–is always sealed to preserve the aroma of the dish. Pulao is cooked faster, on medium to high flame. Fried rice is always cooked on a high flame.

It’s because of all these differences that biryani, pulao and fried rice each have a distinct taste. If you don’t know the difference, you are actually being cheated out of enjoying all three as they’re meant to be. So it’s high time you know how to identify a proper biryani, pulao and a fried rice.



The World of Indian Vote Politics

For starters …….if not for elections 2009 ……Jagadish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar would have still been successful Congress candidates during this election.  The new levels of sensitivity of the public made the Congress wink.  While I am still an avid Congress supporter …………..I know pretty well that they have their fair share of skeletons in their cupboard.  The 1984 Sikh riots is one that tops the list.  What the Congress did was right ………not to field the two candidates. 

The sabre-rattling between Advani and Manmohan was another interesting piece of this elections.  We started seeing so many shades of contradictions.  Lalu Yadav blaming the Narasimha Rao – Congress government for the Babri Masjid demolition ………after being a successful bed-fellow of the UPA in the outgoing government.  Later Nitish Kumar questioning Lalu on why he was silent for all these years and why now? (very pertinent questions).

Karunanidhi saying that Prabhakaran was a good friend of his and that he would be saddened if Prabhakaran was killed.  This was in stark contradiction to his own statement that in 1987 he realised what a self-centered narcissist Prabhakaran was ……. when he(Prabhakaran) avowed dictatorship as an effective form of governance within the Tamil eelam.  Karunanidhi had added during that time that he distanced himself from the Eelam as they were killing other Tamil leaders and the 1991 assassination of Rajiv Gandhi steeled his resolve of not having to do anything with Prabhakaran and his cronies. 

Well this is what Indian politics can be ………. a bunch of contradictions.  But the positive thing to note is that many more people are coming out to vote today as compared to the last elections.  It just goes to add that people are more aware of what their own power is today.

Two soulful songs

Well these days my blog has turned into a movie and music review blog 🙂 .  Anyway its just that I’m discovering Kannada movie music from a whole new perspective.

One thing that I’d like to comment about is that there are a few new movie songs whose rendition is very good and which have very good originality.  However most others are dubbed from Telugu or Tamil.

Two soulful songs which are making their rounds on the radio these days are:

Enaagali mundhe saagu nee – bayasiddellah sigadu baalali ……….from Mussanje Maathu

The second is from movie ‘Nanna autograph/My autograph’.  This is dubbed from the Tamil movie called Autograph which was directed by Cheran

The song is ‘Araluva hoovugaleh’

The song stars Meena.  The original stars Sneha which was very beautifully rendered.  Here is the original ‘Ovvoru Pookalume’

I am Legend

Just saw the movie at the City Center Mall in Heliopolis – an affluent suburb – quite outside the main Al Kahira city.  Ancient Heliopolis was the center of sun worship cult in Pharonic Egypt.  Modern Heliopolis is close to this ancient center and was a carefully constructed suburb by a French architect.  It was constructed around a 100 years ago.  Al Kahira has now grown around Heliopolis.

I am Legend is an average movie.  I would give it 2.5 stars.  The story is pretty average and despite the splendid acting of the Will Smith – the movie is really a damp squib.  The only scene which touched me – was the one where he is singing a lullaby to his dog Samantha – and then when he realizes that the infection has taken over her …………………he immediately strangles her to death.  The transition from a caring owner of the dog to the immediate killer of the dog is remarkable.  Apart from this …………….the movie is simply ‘pass’.

Feels good to be commenting on a movie after quite a while.  The internet is really boring these days.  My co-blogger Hemanth has gone into hibernation (wonder what’s with him).  I don’t see many comments on my blog and none of the other blogs which I visit often really have much activity.  Allah knows how long!!!!! I would just wish …… Insha Allah that he becomes a regular blogger like me.

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The Fate of Burma

Historically the countries of Burma and India have been friends with each other.  There have been very few Indian empires which went all the way to the Rangoon – except the British-Indian empire. 
During the British rule of India – Burma was part of India.  There have been people movement and trade between teh two nations for many centuries. 
The Burmese are known to be a calm, peaceful, religious lot.  Since the coup of 1962 ….Burma has been under brutal military rule.
Despite widespread protests in 1974, 1988 and now in 2007 – their domination continues unabated.

The people need a good democratic government to turn around their country into a prosperous one where people are valued for what they are ………….rather than the value that Burma carries now ….’a supplier of natural raw materials’. Change needs to come and it is high time the international community gets its act in place and push for change there. When the neighbours of Burma are all prospering in one way or the other ………….this great nation is left behind ………….and the people left to just ‘aspire’ and nothing else.

Greenhouse and the way downhill

It really purturbs me to think of what’s happening around us and where we would end up in ……. say another 10 years.   Been thinking about it for a long while now and …………..sadly there isn’t much I can do about.  On a slightly positive note ….I was reading about these 4 young guys in Jayanagar 8th block who went around town planting trees ……using some scientific methods ………..and have succeeded 65%!!!!!! Heartening reads.  But beyond that ……….the future is really bleak 😦

I had posted an earlier article on this on my earlier blog in Yahoo  That was last year.

But todays article on BBC gives me the jitters: 

Seeing the movie ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ – makes you wonder how vulnerable you are in nature’s scale of things.  We never know ……………one fine day (maybe within a week/month) the whole of mankind could get wiped out.  Maybe some remote tribes in deep amazon or somewhere in the pacific could survive to start civilisation all over again.  A very likely possibility.  Or maybe like the dinosaurs ……………….there would be no ‘humans’ at all.