Biryani. From busy “order in” weeknights to lavish Sunday meals that’s prepared with meticulousness- Biryani has carved a spot in Indian palate like no other. Often than not, we find ourselves turning to Biryani- yes, on countless occasions and mood so it should come as no surprise that India offers 17 major variations of Biryani!
In this post, we will look into 8 best biryanis in India and their differentiating factors or ingredients:
Hyderabadi Dum Biryani – Hyderabad
One of the most popular, Hyderabadi Biryani stands out with its usage of saffron and coconut. While other biryanis showcase a dominance of marinated mutton, Hyderabadi biryani aces it with its layers of saffron rice. The biryani is slow cooked in layers and is served with brinjal or eggplant gravy.
Sindhi Biryani – Sindh
A type that originated in Sindh province- which is now in Pakistan- Sindhi Biryani is noted for its generous use of spice and curd. Kewra or mithaittr is a dominant factor that sets this biryani apart. Some also use potatoes and prunes in it.
Dindigul Ginger Biryani- Tamil Nadu
On our way to kodaikanal we stopped at a place for lunch and settled for something called Dindigul Biryani. We had no clue what it was but we trusted biryani so we called for it. To our surprise, it’s very unlike biryani and more like a good fried chicken rice with cube size meat pieces and a whole lot of pepper. What stands out is the jeera samba rice that this biryani uses as opposed to Basmati, which gives it an entirely new flavour.
Malabar Biryani – Kerala
Famous in Kozhikode, Thalassery and Malappuram, this Biryani is characterized by the unique variety of rice called khyma rice, and uses cashew nuts and raisins. The key difference though is in the method of preparation: the mutton gravy and the rice are cooked separately and are mixed well at the time of serving.
Lucknowi Biryani – Lucknow
Now this is what a real Biryani would look like. Unadulterated Persian cooking made with the use of a completely different method called dumpakht. Keeping with the norms, the meat and gravy are partially cooked and then layered to cook fully. The vessel is sealed and is left to cook in its own steam.
Kolkata Biryani – Kolkata
Now, this biryani has its roots in the Nawabi style of Lucknow Biryani. It is said that the chefs from the Awadhi kitchens brought the signature recipe to kolkata which later suffered a small tweak. You’ll find boiled potatoes and boiled egg along with mutton or chicken in this Biryani in Kolkata. Noted spices like nutmeg, saffron and kewra give this Biryani its signature taste and flavor.
Bhatkali Biryani- Coastal Karnataka
Now who would’ve thunk! Low on spice, with just the right amount of flavor Bhatkali Biryani originated from the Nawayath Muslim community in Bhatkal. This biryani is noted for its use of onions and green chilli. Additionally, in Bhatkali Biryani the meat pieces are first cooked in curd to balance the flavors out.
Fragrant and low on spices, our biryani follows the Dum Pakht method of the Awadhi style. Long grain, basmati rice is cooked in large handis with layered meat and is put to “Dum” with a generous sprinkling of fried onions. We serve it with raita and crunchy, fresh onions. What really makes it stand is its availability pan India and its quality to walk up from the kitchen and come right to your table without you having to move a bit!
By the way did you know the word Biryani actually derived from Persian language which was the official language of medieval India? Researchers believe that Biryani is derived from the word “Biryan” which means to fry or roast or from “Birinj” which is the Persian word for rice.
Food for thought!