Every time a friend or an acquaintance describes a pulao and biryani as the same, my foodie-self always beams at their use of words. And well, to me, an adamant fan of Biryani, it becomes easier to get into a certain level of an argument regarding the difference between both. Both of them have spices, rice, vegetables, and meat. Right? The basic difference between both starts with the method of preparation itself. Not only this, but there are many more on the list. Here, is my take on the difference I oversee between biryani and pulao.
Method of preparation
Pulao is made with the help of the absorption technique. Here, the meat and the spices come together, where they are cooked mildly, after which rice is added. It is cooked with the help of a predetermined amount of water. Biryani is made with the technique of layering. Here, the meat is cooked separately, where the rice is parboiled and then layered upon the meat. It is slowly cooked for a long period.
Apart from specific dry fruits and whole species the pulao doesn't indulge in the richness of spices into it. It is just a state preparation of rice and meat together. The preparation of biryani soulfully depends upon the mixture of all the spices in its powder form. The aroma of the dish comes from the mixture of various spices in itself.
Depending upon the demography, the taste of biryani keeps on changing. Be it a Hyderabadi biryani, Sindhi biryani, Lucknowi biryani, etc. all of it varies from taste to texture and the method of serving the same as well. Whereas, the difference in the taste and texture of a pulao comes from the ingredients added to it. For example, a pulao containing only peas and spices can be called as pea pulao and will taste accordingly. So, the next time someone serves you a combination of meat or vegetables and rice, know your food dish! And, being a hardcore biryani fan, I would give you this one old age test I read somewhere, "Drop a handful of biryani on a hard floor; if no two grains of rice stick to each other, you've probably got the real thing."