Here are 7 Biriyani variants that you simply can’t miss:
It’s over a month since my last post on Android Oreo came out and, to be very true, I was overwhelmed by all your responses and post hits. Every time a post receives such unexpected appraise, I’m burdened with the responsibility of making the next post even better. However, making a post on Biriyani after the conclusion of the festival season may seem useless, but have you forgotten what time we are in?
Winter is here and so is the month of paradise for foodaholics. Can you name a better season to enjoy eating as much as you can do in winter? There won’t be an answer, probably, so stop putting stress to your brain and simply indulge in the rich delicacy of the king of dishes – Biriyani. But before I start my detailed discussion on the 7 top variants of the South-Asian dish, let me share an important fact with you. The restaurants I will be recommending at the end of each variant is strictly based in Kolkata, I being a dweller and lover of the city. So, don’t get angry if you aren’t here and instead, take this as a reason to visit the City of Joy. It’s time to dive into the world of Biriyani!
1. Mughlai Biriyani
The first, best and most popular among all other variants, Mughlai Biriyani is the prized treasure of the Mughals. The unique style of cooking rice and meat together was popularized by the Mughal emperors when they shifted their capital to Delhi. Since then, Delhi houses one of the best iterations of the dish that can make any food-lover go berserk. While every small or big restaurant in Delhi can serve you the dish, you can find the best Mughlai biriyani in Kolkata at:
2. Hyderabadi Biriyani
As the name suggests, this very iteration of Biriyani is the heart of Hyderabad, apart from Char Minar and all the other monuments. Considered to be one of the most authentic version of the dish, the Hyderabadi preparation is very spicy, yet rich in flavors. Unlike Mughlai Biriyani which is basically its primary inspiration, Hyderabadi Biriyani is cooked in slow-fire technique where raw mutton is marinated and prepared along with the rice. The dish also serves a flavor of the Andhra cuisine, thus, making it even more special. Hyderabadi Biriyani is the most popular type of the delicacy found in India and in Kolkata, no one can serve you a better preparation than:
3. Awadhi Biriyani
It is true that there’s a lot of confusion regarding which came first – Awadhi or Mughlai? But, although Mughlai won the race in my article, it doesn’t make Awadhi any less delicious. Influenced by the cuisine of the Nawabs who ruled over the State of Oudh, the Awadhi Biriyani is an enlivened combination of meat, rice, spices, saffron and plant extracts. If you are in search of a variant that is priceless in all aspects, Awadhi is what you should try. There are many restaurants in and around the country that serve Awadhi Biriyani and believe me, it’s exactly the same everywhere. However, if you are in search for a dining in Kolkata that offers the same, your search ends here:
4. Lucknowi Biriyani
Want to relish the fragrance of Biriyani minus the rich spices? Well, you ain’t out of luck (…yet) as the Nawabs of Lucknow had thought about you, hundreds of years ago, and created something sumptuous called Lucknowi Biriyani. It is almost a mirror image of the Mughlai version, only without the spices and strong aroma. So, if you are in a mild mood to taste some mild version of Biriyani, Lucknowi is the dish of your wish. There aren’t many restaurants in Kolkata that offer Lucknowi Biriyani but I was lucky to bump upon one. And? I wasn’t disappointed at all! The place is:
5. Kolkata Biriyani
A wise man once said (ya, it’s me), Biriyani without aloo is like bae without love. Such is the relationship we, Calcuttans, share with our favored dish. Its history dates back to, as old as, 1857 when the Nawabs were exiled to Kolkata after the Sepoy Mutiny and due to lack of materials (but no lack of taste buds), they started preparing the dish only with potatoes. Thus, the lip-smacking variant from Kolkata comes loaded with meat, egg, potato and, obviously, rice. It is a complete meal in itself and stands out from the other iterations in terms of taste and flavor. From Royal to Nizam’s, from Aminia to Dada-Boudi, you will find Kolkata’s pride everywhere. However, based on extensive research (in the form of eating), Kolkata Biriyani is now best served at:
6. Afghani Biriyani
Not only Indian improvisations, but Biriyani has also undergone modifications in other countries. The best example would be this version that is somewhat midway between Pulao and Biriyani and is prepared in the same way as that of Mughlai. The only difference in Afghani Biriyani lies in its contents as it has a lot of saffron and dry fruits, almost no rich spices and several small pieces of chicken. Afghani Biriyani is often called by different names like Moti Biriyani, Moti Pulao, Afghani Pilaf and so on. While you’ll find this dish mostly in Bhopal, Kolkata doesn’t lose the race, too. Heard about the following cuisine?
7. Middle Eastern Biriyani
Like Afghanistan, Middle Eastern countries have their versions of Biriyani, all these places being similar in terms of cuisine. The Dajaj Machbous (chicken in spiced rice) is the Middle Eastern iteration of Biriyani where saffron-based rice is cooked with chicken, fried onions, Persian dried lime and many other aromatic ingredients to provide a unique piquant flavor to the dish. Although I’m quite skeptical about its availability PAN India, you will always find a place in the City of Palaces that serves Middle Eastern Biriyani. The place of my choice is a bit costly but prepares authentic Dajaj Machbous that will surely take you to cloud nine. Where?
Excited enough to try all these variants? Put a rest to your hunger pangs by visiting a dining in your city, and if you are in Kolkata, I’ve already done half the job for you. Don’t forget to overflow this post with your love (through likes) and share it with other foodies in your social circle. If you think there’s another popular version that I have failed to list in my article, do mention it in the comment section below. That’s all for today. I will be back with my next post in early December. Till then, Eat.Sleep.Repeat!
Featured image via fwonline.com