Nasi Briyani (biryani or beriani) is a wholesome rice-based dish prepared with spices, rice (eg basmati) and meat, fish, eggs and vegetables. The popularity of this exotic dish is attributed to its aromatic flavors and distinctively rich taste.
The name ‘briyani’ is derived from the Persian word ‘berya(n)’ which means ‘fried’ or ‘roasted’. From Iran (Persia), the dish was brought to S.E.Asia by Iranian merchants and travellers who shared the ‘secret recipes’ with the locals. The main ingredients of ‘nasi briyani’ include spices and condiments such as ghee, nutmeg, mace, cumin, pepper, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, bat leaves, coriander, mint leaves, ginger, onions and garlic. Non-vegetarian nasi biryani, the more popular version, has meat as the main ingredient and this is usually beef, chicken, mutton, fish or shrimp. Most nasi biryani dishes are served with dahi chutney, korma, curry, a dish of eggplant, boiled egg and salad.
In Malaysia and Singapore, the dish is called nasi beriani, nasi biryani, nasi briani and even nasi minyak. Here, the dish is served with Rendang and accompanied with Sirap Bandung as a thirstquencher, especially among the Malay Muslim community. Nasi beriani gam, an improvised version originating in Muar and Batu Pahat, has spread to other parts of the country, while specialty restaurants and indian muslim food stalls serve the dish in their own inimitable way. Here the chicken, mutton or fish versions are companied with ‘achar’(a pickled combination of cucumber, onions, red chilies and pineapple) and hard-boiled eggs. Some local entrepreneurs have even started ‘franchising’ this popular food item in urban centres of the Klang Valley.