The dish is a meal by itself and is often made during celebrations or festivals. There are 2 styles of making a dum biryani; with cooked meat or raw meat. The raw meat style known as the 'Kacchi Biryani' calls for alternate layers of marinated meat and semi-cooked rice in a huge pot which is sealed with dough which prevents loss of steam that helps in cooking the dish. This style of cooking is known as dum and thus the dish gets its name. The cooked or 'Pakki Biryani' method is quicker, as it calls for cooking the marinated meat and rice separately and then finally layering it in a pot before serving. Dum Biryani was originally made with mutton but the chicken version is popular worldwide, some also add seafood or make a biryani with a combination of meats. Biryani made for weddings has good amounts of dry fruits and nuts added to it for richness, the rice is also colored to create a visual appeal.
Ingredients that go into making a dum biryani are long grain rice, especially basmati, meat, yoghurt, whole spices, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, ginger, garlic and fresh coriander.