Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Differences Between Pulao and Biryani

Both pulao and biryani are common dishes that people consume on a daily basis. In fact, we love these types of foods. However, many people cannot tell the difference between pulao and biryani and occasionally eat one for the place of the other. What is important for one to note is that pulao and biryani are not the same.


  • What is Pulao?

    Differences Between Pulao and Biryani

Pulao refers to cooked rice, which is brown in color with the significant components of broth and other spices. The dish is commonly used in the Middle East and India. It is worth noting that other food products or additives, which include meat and vegetables, are added to make the food tastier and appealing.


  • What is Biryani?

Also referred to as biriani, biryani comprises of rice mixed with other food products, which can trace its origin in the South Asian region. It is worth noting that the Muslims of the Indian subcontinent mostly use the rice dish. In addition, Indians in their native country and other parts of the world are known to use biryani as their favorite dish. The product is popular in the world, which has made people from other parts of the world to start eating it.

Differences Between Pulao and Biryani-1

Differences Between Pulao and Biryani

  1. Time Taken to Prepare Pulao and Biryani

One of the distinguishing aspects is the time taken to prepare both pulao and biryani. Preparing biryani takes much time as compared to the period taken to prepare the same quantity of pulao. This can be explained by the fact that very low flame is used when cooking biryani so that it can provide the most appropriate texture, flavor, and sweetness. It is also important to highlight that biryani is prepared using a sealed container to prevent flavor from escaping from the food while at the same time conserving energy. On the other hand, less time is used when preparing pulao, which makes it take less time to be ready.

  1. Layering during Preparation of Pulao and Biryani

Another distinguishing aspect between pulao and biryani is the use of layers during preparation. During the preparation of biryani, layers are used with each layer comprising different constituents of the dish while the preparation of pulao does not involve the use and formation of layers. When one is preparing a biryani, there are layers of rice, meat, vegetables, and another layer of fried onions. However, the preparation of pulao involves mixing all the components and later cooking them with a predetermined amount of water. This explains why many people prefer biryani because they can eat the layer of preference while leaving the other layers, which is not possible while eating pulao.

  1. Method of Cooking for Pulao and Biryani

Another significant difference between biryani and pulao is the technique adopted during preparation. Biryani is prepared through the drainage method of cooking while pulao is prepared by the use of absorption method of cooking. While one is preparing the biryani, the rice is boiled until it is ready upon which all the water remaining is completely drained to make it dry after which other food components like meat, vegetables, and fried onions are added in layers. On the other hand, pulao is prepared by ensuring all the water used in boiling rice and other vegetables in the dish absorb all the water. This explains why people experiencing dehydration prefer to eat pulao instead of biryani so that they can supplement water shortage in their bodies.

  1. Spices Used in Pulao and Biryani

The number of spices used during the preparation of both pulao and biryani can be used as a method of distinguishing between the two rice dishes. Biryani comprises of more spices while pulao comprises modest or no spices at all. Large amounts of spices and aromatics are incorporated during the preparation of biryani. Some of the mainly used spices in preparation of biryani include chili powder, garlic, ginger, and green chilis among others. On the other hand, pulao does not incorporate a large number of spices except for dried raisins and nuts. This explains why allergic people tend to prefer pulao to biryani due to the low composition of spice ingredients, which are known to be associated with allergies and other health issues.

  1. Origin of Biryani and Pulao

Despite both biryani and pulao being similar to a larger extent, the two rice products share different places of origin, which can be used to explain the differences discussed above. Different research studies have attributed the invention of biryani dish by the Mughals. This is highly consistent with the fact that biryani is believed to be very famous in Lucknow and Hyderabad are which are two of the major cities ruled by the Mughals.  It is important to note that the Mughal emperors were located in the present day India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan where biryanis are the favorites. On the other hand, pulao is believed to have originated in both Turkey and the Indian subcontinent. It is worth noting that there is no significant difference between modern day Pulao in India and Pilaf in Turkey.

Table Showing Differences Between Biryani and Pulao


  Biryani Pulao
Time Taken to Prepare


Takes Much Time to Prepare Uses Less Time to Prepare
Layering during Preparation


Uses Many Layers of Rice, Meat, Vegetables, and Onions Partially or no Layers
Method of Cooking


Uses Dehydration Method of Cooking Uses Absorption Method of Cooking
Spices Used


Uses large Number of Spices Uses Few ingredients and Spices
Origin of Biryani and Pulao


Invented by Mughals Originated from India and Turkey
Smell Heavy Smell Due to Spices Moderate Smell

Summary of  Pulao and Biryani

By appearance, biryani and pulao do not show a significant number of differences until one tastes the two dishes. Due to the number of spices used, biryani is believed to be very tasty than pulao which is likely to be plain rice with few spices.

It is important for one to understand the differences between pulao and biryani because one will make a rational decision on what to consume because the two dishes offer varying benefits due to their composition and the method of preparation.

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References :

[0]Ashfaq, Muhammad. "Basmati–Rice A Class Apart (A Review)." Rice Research: Open Access, vol 03, no. 04, 2015, OMICS Publishing Group, doi:10.4172/2375-4338.1000156.

[1]Dr. Riar CS, Bhat FM. "Health Benefits Of Traditional Rice Varieties Of Temperate Regions." Medicinal & Aromatic Plants, vol 04, no. 03, 2015, OMICS Publishing Group, doi:10.4172/2167-0412.1000198.

[2]Ismail, Maznah et al. "Antioxidative Effects Of Stabilized And Unstabilized Defatted Rice Bran Methanolic Extracts On The Stability Of Rice Bran Oil Under Accelerated Conditions." Grasas Y Aceites, vol 61, no. 4, 2010, pp. 409-415. Department De Publicaciones Del CSIC, doi:10.3989/gya.110309.

[3]"Image Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pulao-indian-rice-4.jpg"

[4]"Image Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hyderabadi_Chicken_Biryani.jpg"

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