One cannot enjoy the fullness of life if one has not dined well. All of us are addicted to gratification that is rendered by our tongue. Biryani, a tasty mixed rice dish famous throughout the Indian subcontinent and its diaspora, without any argument is the favorite of all age groups in India. The dish is a delight to eat, filled with aromas of a variety of spices in combination with meat or vegetables. Biryani can be enjoyed alone or combined with any Indian curry enhancing its flavor.
‘Biryani‘ is derived from ‘Birian’, that’s the Persian word for “fried before cooking” and “Birinj” means rice. Biriyani can’t be compared to any other recipe in the world as flavoured rice cooked with Indian spices, like saffron, bay leaf, cloves, garam masala, etc. along with the layers of chicken, lamb, vegetables, or fish dishes with thick gravy makes it taste just mind-blowing.
Story of Biriyani
Many historians believe that biryani originated from Persia and was dropped in India by the Mughals. The Mughal cuisine has brought further developments in it. There are fascinating stories from history about the evolution of biryani. Popular one among them is the story related to Mumtaz Mahal, wife of Shah Jahan. During Mughal reign, Begum visited the army barracks, and she found that the Mughal soldiers were undernourished. In order to supply a healthy diet to the soldiers, she commandeered the chefs to make a wholesome meal with meat and rice. A delicious dish whipped up with spices and saffron, cooked over a wood fire was made by them, and thus, some say the biriyani was born.
Some historians claim that the dish was prepared in India before the first Mughal emperor Babur conquered India. There is a statement from another legend that Biryani was brought to India in the year 1398 by the Turk-Mongol conqueror, Taimur. Nizams of Hyderabad and Nawabs of Lucknow were also known for their appreciation of this delicacy.
Although there are so many stories and theories on how this dish was brought to India, it’s often accepted to have originated in West Asia among Muslims of India. Even though the origin of biriyani is uncertain, this hearty meal is very much appealing to every age group. Even when India is known for its rich and diverse culinary traditions, one of its most iconic foods is enjoyed throughout the country. Biriyani has its own version in almost every region in India.
Varieties of Biriyani
Over the generations biryani has been acclimated to suit individual’s particular liking or taste. Slowly it started detouring from an authentic way of cooking and brought out biryanis of indigenous styles We’ve illimitable types of Biryani in India; the twist of cultural imbrication and regional influences over the original styles.
A brief list of regional-flavoured biryanis
One among the many stories of biriyani affirms that, the nawabs in Calcutta tried to recreate their Awadhi biryani adding yoghurt, light spices saffron and kewra, giving a perfect balance between spices and aroma, and thus with its delicious flavour became the very popular Kolkata Biryani.
The Hyderabadi biryani is one of the most aromatic biryanis, and is a favourite of numerous food lovers throughout India and around the world. It again comes in two kinds, the pakka and the kaccha biryani. The method of cooking of the meat and the basmati rice separately is followed in the Pakka biryani whereas kaccha biryani involves a cooking system of putting raw marinated meat in-between basmati rice, followed by sealing the vessel with dough, which latterly allows the entire mixture get cooked slowly and gives the true fused sweet experience.
Lucknow / Awadhi Biryani
The royal biryani, coming from the city of Nizams, Lucknow, is also considered by numerous stories as the premier biryani which came during the Mughal empire. The Lucknow biryani is much softer than any biryani due to the gentle uses of spices which makes it relatively light as a meal. The meat is also cooked really slowly over hours, so the spices can sluggishly blend into it, while it’s soft and tender.
This Malabar biryani comes from the coasts, made of soft chicken wings, Malabar spices and Kaima rice. The rich flavoured biryani is garnished with dry fruits like sautéed cashew nuts, sultana raisins and fennel seeds.
As the name suggests this spicy biriyani is from the province of Sindh, and is one of the most consumed dishes of Pakistani cuisine and Sindhi cuisine. Spicier than most regional biryanis with masala-seeped potatoes, the tangy dried plums/prunes, mint and sour yoghurt, it renders a different taste. In comparison with the other biryanis, the amount of chopped chilis used in this version is quite a lot, along with the decent amount of coriander, fresh mint, onion and roasted spices.
This very delicious biryani of Maharashtra cuisine is commonly accompanied by a side dish meat gravy. The speciality of this biryani is the inclusion of dried plum and a good quantity of fried onions, and kewra water, which gives a sweetness to it.
This Biryani is a perfect mix of tender chicken and rice with dried fruits and Kashmiri spices. The Bhuna Gosht variation of the Kashmiri biryani is well famed.
Goan Fish Biryani
The very famous Goan fish biryani from the sea-land of goa is famous for a distinguished twist to the meat dominated dish, biryani. The Goan fish biryani offers a lighter taste with an abundance of flavours coming out from the fish, a perfect distinction for all fish and biryani lovers.
The Ambur biryani hailing from the state of Tamil Nadu, is a classic biryani with a twist on how the meat is cooked. Samba, short- grain rice is used in Ambur biryani with some whole spices, instead of spice powders therefore performing the flavour of the meat much stronger than the rice.
Kampuri biryani, a variety from Assam, is made with a combination of vegetables, chicken, rice and spices. The chicken is cooked along with the peas, carrot and potatoes and yellow bell pepper. In order to get a mild aroma, the cardamom and nutmeg is added to the preparation.
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