India is known for its diverse culture, which is best depicted in the food. One such dish is Biryani.
Biryani- a word that awakens the senses and soul.
Mutton, chicken, beef, fish, prawns, vegetable and many more… are the variations that one can have.
Some say that the modern Biryani was created in the Mughal royal kitchen, as a confluence of the native spicy rice dishes of India and the Persian pilaf or pulav. One theory is that it originates from “birinj”, the Persian word for rice. Another theory is that it derives from “biryan” or “beriyan” (to fry or roast).
Rice or roast all I know is that Biryani means awesome.
Biryani may include ghee (clarified butter), nutmeg, mace, pepper, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaves, coriander, mint leaves, ginger, onions, and garlic. The premium varieties include saffron. For a non-vegetarian biryani, the main ingredient that accompanies the spices is the chicken and mutton; special varieties also use beef, and seafood.
The dish may be served with dahi chutney or raita, korma, curry, a sour dish of aubergine (brinjal), boiled egg (optional), and salad. Wow, is your mouth watering already?
The different varieties of Biryani we get in India:
Sindhi Biryani: Sindhi Biryani is prepared with meat and an amalgamation of Basmati rice, vegetables and various types of spices.
Hyderabadi Biryani: Hyderabadi Biryani is one of India’s most famous Biryanis. There are various forms of Hyderabadi biryani. One such biryani is the kachay gosht ki biryani or the dum biryani, where the mutton is marinated and cooked along with the rice. It is left on slow fire or dum for a fragrant and aromatic flavour.
Thalassery Biryani: Thalassery Biryani, is the only variation of Biryani found in the Indian state of Kerala. It is one of the many dishes of the Malabar Muslim community, and a very popular one at that.
A pakki biryani, the Thalassery biryani uses a small-grained thin (not round) fragrant variety of rice known as Khyma or Jeerakasala. The dum method of preparation (sealing the lid with dough (maida) or cloth and placing red hot charcoal above the lid) is applied here.
Calcutta Biryani: The poorer households of Kolkata, which could not afford meat, used potatoes instead, which went on to become a specialty of the Calcutta biryani. Now meat is also served along with it. The Calcutta biryani is much lighter on spicesThe rice is flavoured with ketaki water or rose water along with saffron to give it flavour and light yellowish colour.
Ambur/Vaniyambadi Biryani: Ambur/Vaniyambadi biryani is a type of biryani cooked in neighboring towns of Ambur & Vaniyambadi in the Vellore district in the north-eastern part of Tamil Nadu, which has a high Muslim population.
The Ambur/Vaniyambadi biryani is accompanied with ‘dhalcha’, a sour brinjal curry and ‘pachadi’ or raitha, which is sliced onions mixed with plain curd, tomato, chillies and salt. It has a distinctive aroma and is considered light on stomach and the usage of spice is moderate and curd is used as a gravy base. It also has a higher ratio of meat to rice.
Bhatkali/Navayathi Biryani: The is an integral part of the Navayath cuisine and a speciality of Bhatkal, a coastal town in Karnataka. Its origins are traced to the Persian traders who left behind not only Biryani but a variation of kababs and Indian breads. Bhatkali Biryani the meat is cooked in an onion and green chilli based masala and layered with fragrant rice. The Bhatkali biryani has a unique spicy and heady flavour, the rice is overwhelmingly white with mild streaks of orange. Though similar to the ones in Thalassery and Kozhikode, the biryani differs with lingering after-notes of mashed onions laced with garlic, a few chillies and spices littered with curry leaves does lend a unique flavour to Bhatkal Biryani also not a drop of ghee or other oil additives on any morsel of rice.
Memoni/Kutchi Biryani: Memoni biryani is an extremely spicy variety developed by the Memons of Gujarat-Sindh region in India and Pakistan. It is made with lamb, yogurt, fried onions, and potatoes, and fewer tomatoes compared to Sindhi biryani. Memoni biryani also uses less food colouring compared to other biryanis, allowing the rich colours of the various meats, rice, and vegetables to blend without too much of the orange colouring.
Dindigul Biryani: The Dindigul town of Tamil Nadu is noted for its biryani, which uses a little curd and lemon juice to get a tangy taste.
The Bohri biryani, prepared by the Bohris is flavoured with a lot of tomatoes. It is very popular in Karachi.
Kalyani Biryani: Kalyani biryani is a typical biryani from Hyderabad. Also known as the ‘poor man’s’ Hyderabadi biryani, the Kalyani biryani is always made from small cubes of buffalo meat.
The meat is flavoured with ginger, garlic, turmeric, red chili, cumin, coriander powder, lots of onion and tomato. It is first cooked as a thick curry and then cooked along with rice. Then given dum (the Indian method of steaming in a covered pot).
The Kalyani biryani is supposed to have originated in the Bidar during the reign of the Kalyani Nawabs, who migrated to Hyderabad after one of the nawabs, Ghazanfur Jang married into the Asaf Jahi family. The Kalyani biryani was served by the Kalyani nawabs to all of their subjects who came from Bidar to Hyderabad and stayed or visited their devdi or noble mansion.
I wish to try all the variations of Biryani in India. If I have missed any variation please let me know. I would like to include the same and try it as well. 🙂