Here’s one food that both unites and divides us and yet ties us all together in its aromatic fervour.
The Biryani, a mixed rice dish that has been adored and adorned across kitchens in India, however, has a mysterious past.
In North India, different varieties of biryani developed in the Muslim centers of Delhi (Mughlai cuisine), Lucknow (Awadhi cuisine) among other small places. In South India, where rice is more widely used as a staple food, several distinct varieties of biryani emerged from Telangana (specifically Hyderabad), Tamil Nadu ( Ambur ), Kerala (Malabar), and Karnataka.
Here are 10 types of biryani you must know about:
Hyderabadi Biryani: Believed to have had originated from the kitchen of Hyderabad;s Nizam, the rice dish here can be of two types – Kacchi and Pakki. The Pakki rendition involves cooking the basmati rice and meat separately and then layering them into a mouth watering finish, 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.
Lucknowi Biryani: The ‘Awadhi’ or Lucknowi Biryani is cooked in its dum pukht style. The meat (or chicken) infused with spices is partially cooked separately from rice, which is flavoured with saffron, star anise and cinnamon. They are then layered together in a handi (deep-bottomed vessel) and cooked for hours until the flavours deeply penetrate creating a mild flavoured dish.
Calcutta Biryani: While it traces its origin back to the Awadhi style, it is characterised by subtle flavours 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.
Thalassery Biryani: Hailing from the Malabar region, the Thalassery Biryani makes use of an indigenous variety of rice – Khyma or Jeerakasala – instead of the basmati rice that is used traditionally. They also use Malabar spices, meat or chicken, fried onions, fennel seeds, sauteed cashews and raisins. The rice is cooked separately from the meat, and mixed together only at the time of serving.
Bombay Biryani: It is composed of chicken (mutton or vegetables), fried and spiced potatoes, kewra water (screw pine) and dried plums and has a distinctive sweet, tangy and aromatic flavour.
Sindhi Biryani: Originating in Sindh province (now part of Pakistan), this biryani is made from the generous use of chopped chillies, roasted spices, mint and coriander leaves, onions, nuts, dried fruits and sour yogurt, making the flavour piquant and aromatic. Plums and potatoes are also added to this dish.
Kalyani Biryani: The ‘Poor man’s Hyderabadi biryani’ consists of buffalo meat and an array of spices, coriander and tomatoes.
Dindigul Biryani: Found in Chennai, it is strong and tangy in flavour, which is derived from curd and lemon, mixed with cube-sized meat (mutton or chicken) and jeera samba rice.
Ambur Biryani: This version of the biryani sees the meat being soaked in curd and flavoured with coriander and mint, and then added to the cooked Seeraga samba rice, along with other spices. This is one dish that is often accompanied by a brinjal curry.
Tehari Biryani: Tehari biryani is served both with or without red meat. 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 and consists of potatoes, carrots, several veggies and an array of spices.