Pilaf or pulao, as it is known in the Indian Subcontinent, is another mixed rice dish popular in South Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine. Opinions differ on the differences between pulao and biryani, and whether there is a difference between the two at all.
According to Delhi-based historian Sohail Nakhvi, pulao tends to be (comparatively) plainer than the biryani and consists of either vegetables or meat cooked with rice. Biryani on the other hand contains more gravy (due to the use of yakhni in it), is often cooked for longer (hence yielding more tender meat or vegetables) and with additional condiments. Pratibha Karan states that while the terms are often applied arbitrarily, the main distinction is that a biryani comprises two layers of rice with a layer of meat (or vegetables) in the middle; the pulao is not layered.
Ingredients vary according to the type of meat used and the region the biryani is from. Gosht (of either chicken or mutton) is the prime ingredient with rice. As is common in dishes of the Indian subcontinent, some vegetables are also used when preparing biryani. Corn may be used depending on the season and availability. Navratan biryani tends to use sweeter richer ingredients such as cashew, kismis and fruits such as apples and pineapples.
In the kacchi biryani, raw marinated meat is layered with raw rice before being cooked together.It is also known as kacchi yeqni. It is cooked typically with chicken and mutton but rarely with fish and prawns. The dish is cooked layered with the meat and the yogurt based marinade at the bottom of the cooking pot and the layer of rice (usually basmati rice) placed over it.