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The nine main kinds
9 kinds of biryani every food lover must know
Ashish Joseph & Sharanya CR,TNN | Feb 24, 2015 The Times of India
There are several ways to make biryani - each style loyal to its local gastronomic history. Here are the India specific ones that every rice or biryani lover should know about
There is the Awadhi biryani and its Bengali cousin with its interloper spud. Malabar biryani can come with prawn or fish. The Bohri biryani is mild. The Dindigul biryani prefers jeera samba rice and has the tartness of curd and lemon. The Bhopal biryani is said to trace its roots back to Ahmed Shah Abdali’s army. Moradabadi, Hyderabadi, Ambur, Bhatkali. (From Sandip Roy)
Hyderabadi Biryani (Telangana)
Hyderabadi biryani is one of the most popular dishes in south India. For many home cooks and chefs, this dish from Mughlai cuisine is quite a challenge to make, and each has his unique way of spicing it up. What makes it stand out is the usage of saffron and coconut. This biryani is cooked in layers - the most challenging part in its creation. While most other biryanis are always dominated by mutton and chicken gravy, here the saffronmixed-rice takes over.Serve it with brinjal gravy.
Dindigul Biryani (Tamil Nadu)
This one's a favourite in Chennai with many outlets dedi catedly serving just Dindigul biryani.The rice used in it is very different - jeera samba rice instead of Basmati, giving it an entirely new flavour. The biryani also uses cube-sized muttonchicken pieces instead of big chunks. Apart from the usual masala, a lot of pepper is used.
Ambur Biryani (Tamil Nadu)
It's hard to miss out on the Ambur biryani if you are in Tamil Nadu.Take a trip to the sleepy little town of Ambur and the first thing that'll strike you is the in numerable biryani stalls dotting the Chennai-Bengaluru highway. There's chicken, mutton, beef and prawn as options, with the flavour of mint and coriander standing out. The highlight of this biryani is the fact that chefs soak the meat in curd be fore adding it to the rice, which imparts a unique taste to the dish. Have it with onion raita and brinjal gravy.
Bhatkali Biryani (Coastal Karnataka)
Coastal Karnataka: Though low on spice, the Bhatkali biryani has the right amount of flavour. This particular style originated from the Nawayath Mus lim community of Bhatkal, in coastal Karnataka. They use a lot of onions, green chillies in their style of cooking - also in the layered format. Unlike Ambur biryani, in which mutton pieces are soaked in curd, Bhatkali biryani chefs cook muttonchicken pieces in curd. This eventually makes the biryani less spicy.
Lucknowi Biryani (Uttar Pradesh)
Uttar Pradesh: Based on the Persian style of cooking, the Lucknowi biryani is made with the use of a completely different method known as dum pukht. As is the norm with most Persian formats, the meat and gravy are partially cooked and then layered in the dum pukht style. Served in a sealed handi, Lucknowi biryani is light on the stomach as it is low on spices.
Kolkata Biryani (West Bengal)
West Bengal: Kolkata biryani has its roots in the Nawabi style biryani of Lucknow. The chefs from Awadhi kitchens brought the signature biryani recipe to Kolkata, which later got tweaked into the unique Kolkata biryani that we know today. The Kolkata biryani is unique, thanks to its subtle use of spices combined with ghee, Basmati rice and mutton. The addition of potatoes and boiled eggs also lends a different flavour to the d dish. Use of nutmeg along with saffron and kewra gives this biryani its signature aroma.
Malabar Biryani (Kerala)
Kerala: Malabar biryani, famous in Kozhikode, Thalassery and Malappuram areas of Kerala, is characterised by the unique variety of rice called khyma rice, the rich flavour of spices, and the generous usage of cashewnuts and raisins.Chefs in Kerala add these ingredients generously while preparing the biryani.The key difference lies in the method of preparation. The rice is cooked separately from mutton gravy and mixed well only at the time of serving.
Sindhi Biryani (Sind Province, now Pakistan)
Pakistan: Sindhi biryani, which originated in Sind, Pakistan, is quite spicy and zesty.Sour curd, generous use of spices and chilli mark this form of biryani. Usage of kewra or mitha ittr is another differentiating factor. Sindhi biryani recipes also use potatoes and prunes.
Bombay Biryani (Maharashtra)
Maharashtra: What makes Bombay biryani special is the use of potatoes in it.Be it vegetarian or non-vegetarian biryani, potato is a must. The preparation uses a layered method, where half-cooked basmati rice and cooked meat are put on dum-style.
Dindigul biryani recipe
Jeera Samba rice: 1 kg (for 10) I Mutton: 1.5 kg
Onion: 400 gm
Tomato: 400 gm
Mint leaves: 1 bunch
Coriander leaves: 1 bunch
Ginger-garlic paste: 6 sp (approx 30 gm)
Star anise: 4 pieces
Marati moggu (type of caper): 4
Curd: 250 ml
Oil: 200 ml
Ghee: 50 ml
Chilli powder: 5 tsp
Coriander powder: 7 sp
Pepper powder: 4 tsp
Cut the mutton into small pieces and soak it in curd for 20 minutes. Wash the rice and soak it in water for half an hour. Keep the biryani vessel in the stove and add oil, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, star anise, marati moggu, jathipathri, mint leaves (50%) and coriander leaves (50 %). Then add sliced onions. Saute well until it turns transparent. Add gingergarlic paste, followed by sliced tomatoes. Mix well until it merges together. Add the mutton pieces along with the curd, coriander powder, chilli powder and then add a glass of water. Add the required amount of salt at this stage and cook the mutton. Once it is cooked, add the pepper powder, soaked jeera rice, the remaining mint and coriander leaves. When it starts bubbling, put the lid on the fire and add the weight (in dum style). Leave it for about 20 mins and then add ghee.Serve it with raita or brinjal curry.
(Inputs by Chef Damu, R Rajesh and Hushmoin K Patell)
(Recipe by Chef Damu)
Biryani as a fast food/ takeaway
Which is the best biryani? It’s a question bound to bring tempers to a boil. The refined, restrained-on-spicing “pucci” Avadhi biryani has always battled it with its Deccani counterpart, Hyderabad’s bolder “kachchi” biryani, sometimes labelled a “pulao” by champions of Lucknow because rice and meat are cooked together in the same pot. A biryani, by definition, is a layered dish. Rice and meat are cooked separately, then layered and cooked on dum in the Avadhi version.
The Calcutta biryani holds up its distinct identity with potatoes and eggs intact. There is the Ambur biryani of the south, made famous ostensibly by a former cook of the Arcot royals who opened a shop in the small town of Ambur and had loyalists and imitators queuing up. There are the non-courtly varieties, such as from northern Kerala’s Moplah community, showing off spice and dried fruit bounty as well as connections brought by ancient trade. And there are hyper-local versions like Dindigul biryani which, loyalists say, is distinctive not only because of its shortgrained rice but the very water it’s cooked in, from a local lake!
This dum diversity is one reason why local biryani joints have never really been able to establish large-scale presence in other parts of the country. In Kolkata, where small biryani shops sprout in every lane, brands like Arsalan and Aminia have been expanding but only within the city and areas in Bengal. Hyderabad’s famous Paradise is trying to go national but yet to replicate its Deccan success all over. Dindigul’s best known Thalapakatti is a phenomenon in Tamil Nadu with 38 stores, and plans to expand in southern India but a nationwide presence is debatable.
Meanwhile, bolstered by middle India’s appetite for rice-with-spice, a clutch of startups without any culinary legacy have also entered the space, trying to emulate QSR scalability. One of the best of this lot, Biryani By Kilo, for instance sells 40-50,000 kilos of biryani per month, says its founder Vishal Jindal.
With an initial funding of Rs 10 crore, they hope to have a topline of Rs 100 crore-plus in the next two years. India seems to be biting, but the question is what exactly?
While Jindal says that “we follow (traditional) recipes, SOPs and processes very stringently”, commercial biryani inevitably lacks nuances and flavours that aficionados crave.
“There’s nothing wrong with commercial biryani but I don’t recommend it! Hyderabad has so many amazing home cooks, who cater. Their food is soulful, authentic, full of flavour and the ingredients are more carefully selected,” points out Upasna Konidela, vice chairperson, CSR, Apollo Foundation, known to be a fit foodie. Entrepreneur Shaaz Mehmood, who belongs to an old Hyderabadi family known for its biryani, adds: “The biryani recipe can never be set. It depends on andaz, the skill of the cook and how ingredients change with changing weather et al. Only one person is allowed to marinate the meat in our home, no two hands,” he says.
Dum Pukht’s Ghulam Qureshi, perhaps our top chef for traditional Indian restaurant food, confirms how making the biryani is an art. Cooking it is an elaborate process that begins with identifying and procuring prime cuts of meat and the best old basmati money can buy (for Avadhi biryani). “The aroma of basmati is what gives flavour. In the old days, the area around Tehri had the best rice and the story goes that the nawabs got rice from a particular village called Manjara there,” says Qureshi, as he cooks up a dish that is aromatic, restrained and just exquisite.
Pearly white grains of rice, each separate yet coated in flavour, glisten with ghee and milk. There’s no hodgepodge masala, so the saffron stands out. The meat falls off the bone with the touch of a fork. Finally, as the pot is unsealed, a beautiful fragrance escapes, beckoning us to lunch.
Take away these nuances and you realise, a biryani not so artfully crafted is not really biryani!