The Biryani Saga

Aaj Biryani Order Kare??

How many times have we asked this question to escape from the most mind boggling problem of What to Order. Be it a Team Lunch or a House Party, biryani has always come to our rescue.
It is a very popular food and is loved by people of all ages which makes it the best choice every time, besides, who gets tired of eating a biryani!
The moment I hear biryani, my eyes light up and my mouth starts salivating and I can sense the aroma and visualize a spicy piping hot biryani tempting me to go for it!!
Biryani is to Indians what Cheese is to Europeans, there is no person in this country who has not relished a flavorful biryani to satiate his taste buds. It has been a very popular dish for centuries and is associated with royalty due to its origin history.
As per the historians, the dish originated in Persia but we have to thank Mughals for introducing Indians to biryani as early as 1530 A.D. The Mughal rule has influenced the Indian history and culture and has been instrumental in introducing a lot of new things to India. Biryani was cooked for the first time in the Royal Mughal Kitchens for the Royal Feast. The traditional method of making biryani was to cook rice, vegetables, mutton or chicken and spices in an earthen pot over a slow flame so that all the flavors would be infused together to create a signature dish that continues to be loved, even after thousands of years. Dry fruits were generously added to give it a slight sweet and royal texture. The royal connection also explains why it is associated with celebrations and weddings.
Biryani fast gained popularity during the Mughal Rule and was introduced to all parts of the country as the preferred choice of food for royalty.
The biryani as we know today is a combination of traditional recipes and contemporary cooking methods. In this culinary journey of thousands of years, there have been many regional influences and improvisations which has given various forms to this humble dish and hence made it not only an Indian, but a global dish relished by one and all.
Let me take you on a culinary journey to find out about the different varieties of biryani and help you take a pick as to which one you will try first.

Mughlai Biryani

The original form of biryani, this is made by marinating pieces of Mutton or Chicken with spices and yoghurt. The rice is cooked along with the meat and garnished with Saffron Milk and Mint Leaves. The use of dry fruits is optional and the vegetarians can use seasonal vegetables instead of meat to make the perfect vegetable biryani.

Lucknowi/Awadhi Biryani

This is your quintessential Dum Biryani which is prepared by layering chunks of cooked meat and rice in a deep bottom vessel, sprinkled with saffron milk and fried onions. The lid is sealed with dough and the biryani is cooked on a slow flame on dum so that all the flavors remain intact. It draws its influence from the Nawabs of Awadh and is the most popular form of biryani today, the popular varieties being the Chicken Dum Biryani or the Mutton Dum Biryani.
My vegetarian friends, do not get disheartened, there is a vegetarian option too.

Calcutta/Kolkatta Biryani

The biryani originated in Northern India but its popularity soon grew across the country and caught the fancy of people in East and South India too. The food culture in these regions differs from North which resulted in variations of biryani being created in these regions to cater to the local taste and flavors.

The Calcutta/Kolkatta Biryani is a less spicy version of the Mughlai Biryani, using more yoghurt and the rice are flavored with turmeric giving it a yellow color. The twist in the dish is the addition of golden brown potatoes and boiled eggs which adds a little crunch to the dish.

Hyderabadi Biryani

Who has not heard of the world famous Hyderabadi Biryani and the equally famous Paradise Restaurant at Char Minar that serves the most authentic Hyderabadi Biryani. Located in the old part of Hyderabad city, this eatery has been the Go To place for the lovers of this Mutton Biryani wherein the goat meat is cooked along with rice and is seasoned with coconut and saffron. If you are not a Mutton Fan, the other choices include Chicken or Vegetarian Biryani.

A trip to Hyderabad is incomplete without trying this exotic dish synonymous with the city.

Malabar Biryani

Go further down south to Kerala and you are introduced to the local biryani called the Malabar Biryani. This is the only form of biryani eaten in Kerala and is prepared using Khyma rice mixed with large amount of ghee. This biryani is very popular with the Malabar Muslim community there however not very popular in other parts of the country.
There are other varieties too with minor regional variations but you already know the most popular ones. With so many options, selecting one sure feels like a tough task.
My suggestion, try all of them, a perfect excuse to dig into this scrumptious dish.
It is so fascinating to know that a simple dish of rice, veggies, meat and spices has been there for generations and has caught the fancy of people not only in India but across the world.
The evolution of this dish and the popularity that it enjoys in the food world speaks volumes about the happiness people derive by eating biryani.
All this talk about biryani has definitely got me in the mood to order one, what are you waiting for?
Cook at home or order online, let’s have a biryani day today.
Five biryani places which should be on the Have To Try List of every foodie.

  1. Chicken Tikka Biryani-Jaffer Bhai’s
  2. Prawn Biryani-Gazalee
  3. Mutton Biryani at Oh Calcutta
  4. Chicken/Mutton Special Biryani-Persian Darbar
  5. Lamb Biryani-Paradise
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