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What is biryani?

Biryani is a one-dish rice-based meal that consists of layering cooked rice and meat in a casserole, before baking it in the oven. Originating in Persia and popular in India and the Middle East, biryani can be made with chicken, seafood or meat, and can also be made as a vegetarian casserole.

Biryani is normally made with basmati rice and flavored with cloves, cinnamon, cardamon, bay leaf, coriander, mint, ginger, garlic and onions. Traditionally, orange saffron milk was sprinkled on the top of the dish before baking, so that the rice grains had a variated white and yellow-orange color and a subtle saffron flavor; today the high cost of saffron means that many restaurants unfortunately use yellow food coloring instead.

Biryani is often served with a yogurt-based condiment such as raita or a tomato, onion and cilantro relish. It is good for crowds and a favorite at Bangladeshi wedding receptions, Indian family dinners and Muslim dinner tables in Thailand.

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