The mouth-watering concoction of meat with long grain basmati rice, aromatic masalas, curd and onions makes a delectable and finger licking preparation called Biryani. A must have for any Mughlai food lover, for that matter any foodie, biryani is much more than ‘just a biryani’!
Dig a bit deeper into knowing more about it and you shall be amazed by the different types of biryanis that are found in our country. Each using different flavours and slightly different techniques of cooking. We went on a biryani trail and just couldn’t help sharing our findings with you.
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Origins of Biryani
Before we set out to unveil the study we have undertaken to understand biryani, let us first delve into its origin. The very fact that it comes under Mughali food makes it understandable that it owes its origin to the Mughal era. Biryani is derived from the Persian word – Birian.
The dish originated from Persia via Afghanistan and North India, Lucknow to be precise which was known as Awadh during the Mughal reign. The very first variant of biryani that gained popularity was the Awadhi Biryani. The origin of biryani dates back to 1800s.
Types of Biryani
The most popular biryanis can be classified into –
1. Mutton Biryani (goat or lamb meat)
2. Chicken Biryani
3. Egg Biryani
4, Prawns Biryani
Vegetarians too have their version of biryani which they called as Veg Biryani but for those who know that biryani is all about meat will never want to associate biryani with veggies! PS: On our list, there is a type of biryani that is made only with vegetables.
Biryani can be cooked in two key styles, one by layering raw rice and raw marinated meat together in a vessel and cooking it together. The other by cooking the components separately and then layering them together. Other than that there are flavour differences based on the region the biryani originates from. Here are the different kinds of biryanis from different parts of India:
This perhaps is everyone’s favourite. The Mughlai biryani owes its origin to the kitchens of the Mughal Empire. According to food experts, the Persian Kings brought with them a secret recipe of cooking meat and rice in rich spices to create the authentic Mughlai Biryani.
Here is a recipe with flavours closest to the original Mughlai Biryani savored by the Moghal Kings that you can try at home.
This one is from the land of the Nizams – Hyderabad. Hyderabadi Biryani has a huge fan following. It’s spicy and rich in flavours. As history goes, it developed under the rule of Asaf Jah I, who had been appointed as the Governor of Deccan by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb.
There are options of Hyderabadi biryani to choose from but the most common is Kachay Gosht ki Biryani where mutton is marinated and cooked along with the rice. Slow fire technique is used for the cooking where it is left on slow fire or dum for a fragrant and aromatic flavour.
Prepare Hyderabadi Biryani at home using this recipe.
From the Nizams we now move on to the land of Nawabs – Lucknow. The Nawabs liked their biryani to be a bit mild. Thus the Lucknowi biryani is less spicy as compared to the other variants of biryanis around.
For the recipe to prepare Lucknowi Biryani at home click here.
For those who love their potatoes and meat both, there is Kolkata Biryani. As history goes, the Nawabs of Lucknow were exiled in Kolkata after the 1857 Sepoy Mutiny. This was a period when meat wasn’t readily available. This led to the cooks to add potatoes to the biryani and now that is the trend throughout Kolkata. When you order for biryani in Kolkata don’t be surprised to find equal amount of potatoes and meat in your biryani!
Here is a recipe of Kolkata Biryani you can use.
If you are under the impression that Tamilians do not have a palette for biryani than here is a little surprise for you. A Tamilian version of biryani that is simply delicious and extremely mouthwatering.
Called Ambur Biryani, this biryani owes its origin to a tiny city called Ambur in Tamil Nadu. You may find it amusing but Ambur has more biryani shops per km than any metropolitan city across the globe!
Prepare Ambur Biryani at home using this recipe.
Mumbaikars have their own version of Biryani and it can be relished at any local non veg restaurant. The best would be to go to some Chilia-muslim run restaurant. A bit oily and with a dash of sweetness, the Bombay Biryani is totally dhamakedar!
Prepare Bombay Biryani at home using this recipe
Goan Fish Biryani
Goa is haven for sea food lovers and biryani fans need not be disappointed. Goa has a version of biryani made with fish (obviously!) that you are going to relish for life. Light yet with a bang of flavours, Goan fish biryani is not for the weak hearted.
Here is a recipe of the delicious Goan fish biryani you will love.
Prepared using Kaima/Jeerakasala rice instead of basmati rice, Thalassery Biryani is a specialty from Kerala. Originated in a small town called Thalassery in Kannur, this biryani is enticingly spicy!
Prepare Thalassery Biryani at home using this recipe.
Sindhi Biryani is loaded with curd and that is what sets it apart from the other variants of biryani. Of the many different types of biryanis, this is the only one that uses yogurt in large amounts. A must try!
Here is a fabulous recipe of the Sindhi Biryani
This is a specialty from Bhopal. It is more on the lines of a pulav. But then the name puts all debates to rest – Its Biryani Pulav! Meat used in biryani pilaf is mainly mutton, but occasionally chicken is also used. It is a South Asian version of Mughal Biryani.
To prepare the Biryani Pilaf at home use this recipe.
Here the meat is deep fried and the amount of spice used is minimal. Malabar Biryani is mostly prepared on the coasts of Kerala.
Prepare Malabar Biryani at home using this recipe.
Very similar to Bombay Biryani, Bhatkali Biryani is prepared using a lot of onions. It is very popular in the Konkan belt and the adjacent coasts of Karnataka. Since the meat and rice in the Bhatkali biryani are cooked in an onion gravy, it is very flavourful.
Prepare Bhatkali Biryani at home using this recipe.
Tahiri – Vegeterian Biryani
This one is especially for our vegetarian friends. Tahiri is an Awadhi dish popular in Uttar Pradesh. Many UP brahmins did not eat meat, thus they started preparing a vegetarian version of biryani called tahiri.
Get the recipe of Tahiri biryani here.
Now that you know all the different versions of biryani available across the length and breadth of our country, make sure to try each of these when you are in one of the above cities. After all, variety adds some spice in life!
And if you are looking for a biryani fix, here are a list of coupons from GreatBuyz you can use to grab discounts on your biryani orders across the country or you can download our app here to get access to thousands of biryani deals across 17 cities.