What Is Biryani Rice? (Alternative Names, Ingredients, Origins + More)

Since India produces some of the world’s finest rice varieties, it is no surprise that India also has some of the best rice-based dishes, such as Biryani rice.

If you’ve never heard of Biryani rice before, you might be wondering what exactly Biryani rice is. I looked into it, and here’s what I found!

What Is Biryani Rice?

Biryani rice is an Indian rice dish. Contrary to popular belief, Biryani rice is not a rice variant. Instead, Biryani rice is traditionally made of white Basmati rice and several spices including ginger, cardamom, onion, and saffron. While authentic Biryani is not vegan, there are modern Biryani recipes that cater to vegans and vegetarians.

In case you’re interested to learn more about what makes Biryani rice a great dish and how you can make the perfect Biryani rice, keep reading!

What Is Biryani Rice Called?

Biryani rice is also called ‘kuska’ or plain Biryani rice. These alternative names are more commonly used in South India.

What Rice Is Biryani Made Of?

Biryani rice is typically made using the following ingredients:

  • Basmati Rice
  • Vegetable oil
  • Diced onion
  • Powdered Saffron
  • Cardamom
  • Garlic
  • Cinnamon stick
  • Ground ginger
  • Chicken stock
  • Salt

Some recipes use additional ingredients to enhance the flavor of their Biryani rice. However, these are the staple ingredients used in the original recipe.

Is Biryani Rice White Rice

Biryani rice is a rice dish, not a rice variant. While white rice, specifically white Basmati rice, is the most common option for cooking Biryani rice, brown rice is also an acceptable choice.

Is Biryani Rice Fried?

Biryani rice is not fried. However, many of the ingredients used to make Biryani rice like tomatoes, ginger, onion, and garlic are fried first before the broth and rice are added.

Is Biryani Rice Indian?

Is Biryani Rice Indian?

Biryani is considered an Indian dish. Nonetheless, ‘Biryani’ comes from the Persian word ‘birian’, meaning ‘fried before cooking.’

As such, there is reason to believe that Biryani originated from or is inspired by Iranian cuisine.

Currently, there are many theories as to the origins of Biryani rice and whether Biryani rice is truly Indian. However, it is generally accepted that Biryani is indeed an Indian dish.

Is Biryani Rice Fattening?

Whether Biryani rice is fattening depends on how you prepare Biryani rice and how much Biryani rice you eat.

Generally, Biryani rice is high in calories, especially when paired with meat. A single serving of Chicken Biryani has as much as 400 calories.

While a single meal with Biryani rice is not fattening, eating Biryani rice every day increases the likelihood of weight gain.

Is Biryani Rice Vegan?

Traditionally, Biryani rice is not vegan because Biryani rice is made with chicken stock or chicken broth.

However, there are Biryani rice recipes that are vegan.

Is Biryani Rice Vegetarian?

Biryani rice is not vegetarian. Nevertheless, by replacing the chicken stock with vegetable stock and pairing Biryani rice with vegetables or fake meat, Biryani rice can be vegetarian.

Is Biryani Rice Good?

Biryani rice is a popular dish that appeals to the palate of many people. Consequently, Biryani rice is considered by the general populace as a good dish.

However, people who aren’t fond of rice or anything with a hint of spiciness may not like Biryani rice that much.

Is Biryani Rice Spicy?

Biryani rice is only mildly spicy. Additionally, Biryani rice doesn’t come close to the spiciness of many Indian dishes like curries.

Moreover, if you don’t want your Biryani rice to be spicy, you can simply lessen or eliminate the ingredients that make Biryani rice spicy.

What Does Biryani Rice Taste Like?

Biryani rice has no singular taste since Biryani rice is made up of different spices. Mainly, Biryani rice is savory, with a pleasant combination of floral, nutty, spicy, and umami tastes.

Additionally, Biryani rice is firm and dry, but when Biryani rice is mixed with meat that has been tenderized with yogurt, Biryani rice becomes slightly creamy.

How Is Biryani Rice Made?

To make Biryani rice, begin by rinsing and soaking Basmati rice for twenty minutes. Afterward, drain the water and set the rice aside.

Bring a pressure cooker to heat before adding oil. Next, add the spices and fry them until their fragrance comes out. Only then should you add the onions and fry them.

Once the onions turn golden, put in the ginger and garlic. After a couple of minutes, add the red chili powder, coriander, turmeric, salt, tomatoes, and curd.

Wait until the tomatoes turn mushy before you pour in the chicken stock. When the water starts boiling, add the rice and let it cook until there’s only a little water left.

Lower the heat until the rice is completely cooked, and remove it from the heat. Let the rice rest for around five minutes before fluffing the rice up.

Which Rice Is Best For Biryani?

Basmati rice is the best rice for Biryani. Apart from being aromatic, Basmati rice has long grains that do not stick together after cooking.

Consequently, this makes Basmati rice ideal for Biryani, as this allows the flavors to mix well together, especially when the meat is added.

How Is Biryani Different From Rice?

Biryani is spiced rice, meaning Biryani rice doesn’t have flavors that naturally occur in raw rice.

While some rice variants have certain flavors, they are not as strong, nuanced, and distinguishable as that of Biryani rice.

What Is Chicken Biryani Rice?

Chicken Biryani rice is an Indian rice dish that is made of chicken, Biryani rice, and several aromatics. Traditionally, Chicken Biryani rice is how Biryani rice is served.

What To Do If Biryani Rice Is Undercooked?

Undercooked Biryani rice will usually feel dry and hard. To fix this, poke holes through the rice and pour in some water or chicken stock.

Make sure that you don’t add too much water or stock because there is the possibility of overcooking Biryani rice this way.

Afterward, cook the rice again in medium heat and make sure that the lid is on so that the resulting steam will cook the Biryani rice thoroughly.

Read our related articles if you want to learn what broccoli rice is, what bulgur rice is, and what bullet rice is.


Biryani rice is a delicious Indian rice dish that is popular all over the world. A crucial factor in making successful Biryani rice is using the correct combination of aromatics.

Additionally, you’ll want to use Basmati rice for your Biryani rice, because Basmati rice has a fragrant aroma and a nutty flavor that complement the spices.

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