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What’s the difference between Biryani and Akni?

Read this to find out!

by: Chanté Felix | 08 Sep 2016

Biryani and Akni are classic flavoursome Indian rice dishes that you will often find on a Cape Malay table. They are quite similar. So much so, that many people end up confusing the two.

Here's what you need to know:

Both consist of mainly rice with your selection of chicken, meat or fish, paired with optional vegetables and most importantly a combination of aromatic Cape Malay herbs and spices.

Even though many people have similar ways of cooking and preparing these versatile dishes, I’ve pin-pointed some of the ways that you can figure out which is which. 

There are different ways of preparing the two, generally when cooking Akni it is required that your chicken or meat is marinated beforehand whereas with biryani recipes you aren’t always required to marinade. 

Lentils or no lentils
Lentils forms an important part of many Biryani recipes, so if you see lentils it’s most likely Biryani and not Akni.

The rice used
The type of rice used in Akni is usually (preferably) Basmati rice whereas you could use either Basmati or regular rice with Biryani. 

Potatoes vs no potatoes
Even though some Biryani recipes include potatoes, most of them don’t, so potatoes aren’t a necessity when it comes to Biryani, whereas it’s almost always used in Akni.

Added ingredients
Many people like adding funky variants, such as boiled egg, to their Biryani and wouldn’t do the same when cooking Akni. 

Look out for the key characteristics of each dish and you’ll distinguish between them easily.

Here are some tasty biryani recipes to try:

Cheats chicken biryani

Pakistani-style biryani

Lamb biryani

Quick vegetable biryani


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