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The rice in a biryani should be so dry and fluffy that when you throw a handful on the floor, all the grains should separate. The secret is to parboil the rice so that the surface is soft and cooked but the centre is still hard, and also to make sure that the main ingredient, i.e. the chicken, mutton, seafood or vegetables, is intensely flavoured but not surrounded by too much ‘gravy’, which will make the rice soggy when the final cooking in a sealed pot takes place.