Original article published at TasteAtlas.
Biryani is a group of classic dishes which date back to the Mughal Empire. It is believed that Mumtaz Mahal, Emperor Shah Jahan’s queen inspired the dish in the 1600s. The word biryani is derived from the Persian word birian, meaning fried or roasted, and it is believed that the dish made its way from Persia to India via groups of traders and immigrants.
The main ingredients of biryani are rice (ideally basmati), spices, a base of meat, eggs, or vegetables, and numerous optional ingredients such as dried fruits, nuts, and yogurt. Over time, the popularity of biryani spread throughout India and other countries, so there is a huge variety of biryanis today, such as sindhi biryani (made with yogurt), Bombay biryani (with lots of spices and kevra), or Lucknowi biryani (made with a special technique of cooking the meat and rice separately, then together until fully cooked).
What was once a dish reserved for royalty is today served in almost every Asian restaurant as one of their specialty dishes, seasoned with cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaves, coriander, or mint leaves, giving it a unique flavor and making biryani a top choice for many customers around the world.