Biryani is a mixed rice dish originating among the Muslims of the Indian subcontinent. It is made with Indian spices, rice, and usually some type of meat (chicken, beef, goat, lamb, prawn, fish), and sometimes, in addition, eggs and potatoes.
Biryani is one of the most popular dishes in South Asia, as well as among the diaspora from the region. Similar dishes are also prepared in other parts of the world such as in Iraq, Thailand, and Malaysia. Biryani is the single most-ordered dish on Indian online food ordering and delivery services.
Let’s try this delicious biryanis recipe with Pritish Kumar Halder and make it at your home by yourself.
The exact origin of the dish is uncertain. In North India, different varieties of biryani developed in the Muslim centers of Delhi (Mughlai cuisine), Rampur, Lucknow (Awadhi cuisine) and other small principalities. In South India, where rice is more widely used as a staple food, several distinct varieties of biryani emerged from Hyderabad Deccan (where some believe the dish originated as well as Tamil Nadu (Ambur, Thanjavur, Chettinad, Salem, Dindigal), Kerala (Malabar), Telangana, and Karnataka (Bhatkal) where Muslim communities were present.
Ingredients for biryani vary according to the region and the type of meat and vegetables used. Meat (of either chicken, goat, beef, lamb, prawn or fish) is the prime ingredient with rice. As is common in dishes of the Indian subcontinent, vegetables are sometimes also used when preparing biryani. Corn may be used depending on the season and availability. Navratan biryani tends to use sweeter, richer ingredients such as cashews, kismis and fruits, such as apples and pineapples.
The spices and condiments used in biryani may include fennel seeds, ghee (clarified butter), nutmeg, mace, pepper, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaves, coriander, mint, ginger, onions, tomatoes, green chilies, and garlic. The premium varieties include saffron.
The main ingredient that usually accompanies the spices is chicken or goat meat; special varieties might use beef or seafood instead. The dish may be served with dahi chutney or raita, korma, curry, a sour dish of boiled egg, and salad.
Believed to have originated from the kitchen of the Hyderabad’s Nizam, there are two types of Hyderabadi Biryani – Pakki (cooked) and Kacchi (raw). The Pakki Hyderabadi Biryani involves cooking of basmati rice and meat separately and then layering them together. While the kacchi Hyderabadi Biryani is made from the raw marinated meat (chicken or lamb) placed between the layers of basmati rice infused with saffron, onions and dried fruits, both are slow-cooked in a dough-sealed earthen pot over charcoal fire, which results in rich, aromatic and punchy biryani. If you go out for a meal with a local, more likely than not, you will have either one of the variants of Hyderabadi biryani.
Also known as the ‘Awadhi biryani’, the Lucknowi Biryani stands out due to its cooking style, known as dum pukht. The meat (or chicken) infused with spices is partially cooked separately from rice, which is flavored with saffron, star anise and cinnamon. Both the meat and rice are then layered together in a handy (deep-bottomed vessel) and cooked for hours until the flavors deeply penetrate. The end result is soft Lucknowi biryani with mild flavors.
Calcutta Biryani originates from Kolkata, although it has roots tracing back to the Awadhi style biryani of Lucknow. Characterized by subtle flavors with a tinge of sweetness and more sparing use of spices, it is cooked with light yellow rice, which is layered with yogurt-based meat, soft boiled eggs and potatoes. Add to that, saffron, nutmeg and kewra, which lends a soothing aroma to the biryani.
Bombay Biryani is worth the trip to Mumbai in itself. It is composed of chicken (mutton or vegetables), fried and spiced potatoes, kewra water (screw pine) and dried plums that make the flavor distinctively sweet, tangy and aromatic.
Ambur Biryani is an unmissable travelling experience in itself when visiting Tamil Nadu. Like other variations of biryani, this one also has meat (chicken or mutton), but what makes it different is the way the meat is prepared. The meat is soaked in curd and flavored with coriander and mint, and then added to the cooked Seeraga samba rice, along with other spices. Savouring it with brinjal curry, ennai kathirikai, is every biryani-lover’s delight.
The traditional biryani is made from meat, but Tehari biryani is served without it. Legend has it that this biryani was created for the vegetarian Hindu bookkeepers at the Mughal court, and since then, it has become one of the popular dishes among vegetarians across the North India region. This biryani consists of potatoes, carrots, several veggies and an array of spices, making the taste hearty and savoury.