The much-loved Biryani is widely appreciated and devoured in India. Legend says Shah Jahan’s Mumtaz once visited the army barracks and found the Mughal soldiers looking weak. She asked the chef to prepare a dish that combined meat and rice to provide nutrition to the soldiers – the result was Biryani.

Derived from the Persian word ‘Birian’, which means ‘fried before cooking’ and  ‘Birinj’, the Persian word for rice, we have two broad varieties — the Kutchi (raw) biryani and the Pukki (cooked) biryani.

But there are numerous types of biryanis. Here’s a look at the most famous five.

Mughlai Biryani has succulent chunks of perfectly spiced meat, enveloped in kewra scented rice. A favourite of the Mughal Emperors who were very fond of lavish dining experiences.

Hyderabadi Biryani has the aromatic saffron flavoured rice as the star ingredient of the dish. It is said that when Emperor Aurangzeb appointed Niza-Ul-Mulk as the new ruler of Hyderabad, his chefs reportedly created almost 50 different versions that used fish, shrimp, quail, deer, and even hare meat.

Lucknowi Biryani involves making a yakhni stock from meat that is slowly boiled in water and infused with spices for about two hours or more resulting in a more moist, tender and delicately flavoured Biryani.

Tahari Biryani is cooked without meat. The rice is cooked with different kinds of vegetables in a handi with potatoes and carrots being the most used vegetables in this dish. Legend has it that this biryani was created in Mysore when Tipu Sultan hired vegetarian Hindus as his bookkeepers.

Sindhi Biryani is loaded with finely slit green chillies, fragrant spices, and roasted nuts. A distinctive characteristic is an addition of aloo bukhara (plums) in the spices and lots of khatta (sour yoghurt).