Biryani is a traditional dish made with rice, spices, and meat or vegetables. There are countless versions of the delectable Biryani, made by substituting and alternating ingredients and spices throughout the Sub-Indian Continent because there is no set of the standard recipe in Indian cuisine. The method of making biryani include layering or Dum or steam pressure. Making a biryani is considered a form of art in itself. Each rice grain should have the flavors of all the ingredients, that’s the main idea of biryani.
Biryani – The origin story
Biryani originated in Persia and might have taken a couple of different routes to arrive in India. One of the stories goes that Mumtaz (of Taj Mahal Fame) was inspecting the army barracks during a campaign and found that the soldiers were undernourished and the food served was not good enough. She then commissioned the cooks to prepare a meal that would provide adequate nutrition as well as taste to motivate soldiers on these campaigns.
The cooks thus invented a dish where they would prepare the meal and rice and then slow cook them (dum style) to finish them off. The biryani would be cooked early in the morning and the camp would travel with the large containers to be consumed during lunch or dinner as possible.
Over time the dish was adopted in different parts and various versions of biryani have come to be. The variations amongst the cooking style have lead to these amazing creations:
Hyderabad – original dum style biryani
Old Delhi and Dhaka – Pulao style biryani
Irani – Less spicy but similar to the Old Delhi and Dhaka
Middle-east – Once again pulao style but with saffron rice
South Africa – Dum style but containing black lentils and potatoes
The Battle of the Cities
On Quora, The Biryani lovers presented the following traits of their favourite Biryani.
Writer Zafrullah Syed, Gives somewhat diplomatic answer citing the best of all states.
Hyderabadi: Kacchi gosht Biryani. Marinated raw meat is kept at the bottom and then rice is put and sealed completely.
Kerala: Malabar Biryani. A lot of cashews, completely different spices and coconut oil.
Bengaluru: Pakki Biryani. Chicken is slightly made as curry, then rice is layered.
Mumbai: Pakki and Kacchi gosht. Similar to Mughalai taste as that of Hyderabadi.
Lucknow: Rice and Meat are partially cooked and then layered alternatively with rice.
Kolkata: Lighter in spices, Lucknowi style of making, potatoes are mixed with meat.
Manickam Somasundaram writes-
Kozhikode Biriyani is the best due to the combination of Ghee rice+fried onions+Masala with all spices separately tucked under the rice, best served with Raitha + Pickle. Most of the hotels in Kozhikode/Calicut serve this.
Thalapakatti Dindigal Biriyani in which masala and the rice are steamed together differently spiced compared to Kozhikode. Best served with smashed Brinjal and Raitha.
Aritro Ganguly thinks,
Kolkata without a doubt has the best Biryani and Its not because he’s a native of this place but because of its distinctive taste, subtle use of limited spices and off course the ‘Aloo’ (Potato). They don’t consider a Biriyani as ‘The Biriyani’ without an Aloo & an optional egg.
Agree/Disagree? Do comment to let us know the variety that pleases your taste buds the most. Until then crunch your aroused appetite by trying this dish at your home .
Here’s a video to teach you how: