The word ‘biryani’ in itself is enough to waken all your taste buds…for an Indian there is no meal that holds more universal appeal than the biryani. Vegetarian or non-vegetarian, everyone can enjoy this delicacy equally.
Biryani is derived from the Persian word “Berya” meaning roasted or cooked in plenty of oil and biryani originally came from the Middle East. The Hyderabadi Biryani is the most popular form of biryani in India. This ever-popular dish is a mélange of rice and loads of exotic spices that blend together to give it that unforgettable taste.
It takes a lot of practice and skill to make the biryani correctly. The basic ingredients that go into making this scrumptious dish are Basmati rice, coriander, cloves, bay leaves, mint leaves, ginger, garlic (lots of it), cinnamon, cardamom and yogurt.
If you are a vegetarian, you can add any vegetable you like to your biryani, and if you’re a meat lover, the list is endless– even sea food can be added, though I’ve yet to come across pork biryani. But then this is because biryani is basically a Muslim dish, and Muslims do not eat pork.
The most popular form of biryani in India is the Hyderabadi Biryani. It is not limited to Hyderabad, but is accessible to every Indian living in India. The other popular favorite is the Kashmir Mutton Biryani, which is equally delicious but is cooked mainly with mutton and loads of spices. The Awadhi biryanis of Lucknow, Turkish Pilaf, Iranian Biryani, and Sindhi Mutton Biryani are all other acknowledged forms of this simple dish cooked with rice. It is a known fact that one form of Biryani actually crossed the Arabian Sea along with the Arab traders to Calicut; this biryani is called the Calicut-Arab Biryani. This biryani is served with delicious pickled vegetables and papads that are deep fried in coconut oil and is the least spicy of all the varieties.
Even in Hyderabad the biryani is made in many different ways – the meat is sometimes marinated in curd and then mixed with rice, and sometimes all the ingredients are mixed together to culminate in a dish that is enjoyed by millions. Of course, they may be a hint of difference in the ingredients from state to state, but, on the whole the biryani is cooked with the same ingredients around India. The biryani is usually served with loads of onions, tomatoes, chillies and lime all mixed into yogurt; this unique fusion is called “kachumbar”
If you haven’t tasted the biryani, it’s not too late. There are Indian restaurants all over the world that can whip up the perfect biryani. If they don’t get it right at the first place, try another, then another till you find the restaurant that serves it perfectly…how will you know if it’s the correct one? It’s the feeling of satisfaction you’ll get after you’ve eaten it, and the fact that you won’t be able to stop licking your fingers!
So have you ever tasted this delicious combination of rice and spices? If you haven’t, what are you waiting for? It’s a perfect concoction designed to bring alive all your taste buds and help awaken any sleeping sensations.
Have you tried any unusual variants? What kind of biryani is your favorite? Tell us about your favorite biryani joints or share a recipe for perfect home-made biryani!