The origin of India's favourite dish, biryani, is often a debated topic. While some credit the royal dish's origins to Middle East, particularly Persia, its popularity in India has left many wondering if the claim is true. If you had your doubts, it is for good reason. In fact, biryani indeed has Indian origin, rather than it coming from Middle East.

Origin of biryani

There are several theories that talk about biryani's origin. Historian Lizzie Collingham believes biryani came from the royal kitchens during the Mughal Empire in 15th century. But there's another theory that dates the origin of biryani back of pre-Mughal era. One evidence to support that is the 16th-century Mughal text, which made no distinction between biryani or pilaf, stating that the word biryani itself is of older usage in India.

Origin of biryani
Origin of biryaniIBT

Since it's a popular belief that biryani has Persian origins, the Sanskrit dish called "Mamsaudana" goes on to show that the dish is of Indian origin. The word Mamsaudana in ancient India refers to "cooked rice mixed with meat." Its mention can be commonly found in ancient dietary and culinary art literature, more specifically in the Indian book on food known as Pākadarpaṇa, an ancient text on cookery by King Nala. 

Pratibha Karan, who retired as Secretary, Ministry of Food Processing Industries and author of the book Biryani, said the dish is of South Indian origin, which is derived from pilaf varieties. She speculated that it was an army dish of medieval India.

In India, biryani is considered a trademark dish from the Indian subcontinent. It is a marvel of India's culinary heritage and there's no debate about that.

Non-meaty meat biryani, anyone?

While we are on the topic of biryani, the dish is not complete without meat. But what if there is and it's equally delicious. Here's an Indian brand that's giving a twist to biryani by taking away the main ingredient without actually taking it away. Plant-based protein brand Evolved Foods is creating healthy and affordable meat alternatives by using grains and plant proteins.

Origin of biryani
Origin of biryani

Evolved Foods' Plant Meat offers a delicious, protein-rich meat alternative with the same texture as meat. For vegetarians, this is the perfect protein substitute. As for those who want to cut down on their meat intake or plan to go vegan, Evolved Foods Plant Meat is the perfect way to go. There's a bonus - Evolved Foods offers low carb, low fat, no trans fat, and 0 cholesterol.

"Briyani being the one of the most favourite dish of Indians, we wanted to make sure our Plant Meat works very well with biryani. In our quest to experiment our food in Biryani's from various regions and biryani's authentic origins led us to Paka-Darpana. It was a big revelation to me. We have a documented evidence of the dish, dating back centuries before the Mughals popularised it again.. both deserve their credit, but I think its ok to feel proud of its origins being rooted in India," Pradeep Rao, co-founder and CEO of Evolved Foods, told International Business Times.

The next time you plan biryani, Evolved Foods gives a refreshing take.