My comfort food: Biryani

Biryani can never go out of fashion I know, but of late everyone is having Biryani festivals or at least serving special biryanis. But I am not complaining. I love biryanis. Can eat it daily. Chicken biryani made in the dum style is my favourite. Somehow this style of biryani popular inHyderabadcooked over slow fire in a sealed handi(vessel) is unparalleled. The aroma and flavour of the spices is retained, perhaps that’s why it tastes different. But the Bong style of Biryani with a piece of roast meat or chicken, along with an allo and a boiled egg in flavoured rice is also delicious. Hangla does a yummy one as does the newly opened Arsalan in Khar. Grew up on this type of biryani in Kolkata.

I make good biryani too. But somehow at home I prefer making fish or prawns biryani. The fish one is a bit tricky as the fish should not crumble, as it cooks very easily. It helps to fry the fish separately and add it later, once the rice is cooked. But fry it lightly, not deep fried. It is also interesting to substitute rice with poha in biryani. Have tried chicken biryani with poha and it turns out really well. But do not overcook the poha, else it will be soggy. The Resort is planning a BBQ and Biryani festival on weekends from this weekend till March 19. Must check it out. Recently sampled delicious biryani at Mirador Hotel in Andheri East as part of their Awadhi food festival. Chef Qureshi created magic. The mutton was so succulent and the spices in the biryani were simply unique. That man has the midas touch.

Even the biryani guys at Gulshan Nagar Jogeshwari West prepare lip smacking biryani. Star caterers with Maqsood bhai at the helm is my favourite. Check it out. I vouch for its quality and hygiene. Ofcourse it is home delivered. Relish it within the comforts of your home.

2 responses »

  1. There are many schools of Biryani in the Indian sub-continent. Each has its own USP and flavour. The Dum ki Biriyani -usually cooked in a pot (preferably earthen but even metal is fine) sealed with wheatflour dough is the most popular. There is also the Awadhi safed Biryani which doesn’t use any food colours and derives its golden streaks from the saffron used in it. The Hyderabadi Biryani is a little spicier and is usually served with a boiled egg on top and also use roasted meat. There is also the kacchi Biryani where the rice and meat is cooked together. The Kolkata style available today, unfortunately, lack a distinct character (and Kolkata people would vehemently disagree) and is a mixture of all styles, is served with both the boiled egg and the boiled potato. (Where the Aloo addition is its biggest Value addition). Which is why Kolkata is still searching for the perfect Biryani. I must accept that what is available is Kolkata is brilliant –from Aminia to Arsalan, they are all good but if you look at its origin, it may get a bit cloudy. But that’s how good food is, developed by individuals and developed by families.

    In Purani Dilli, there are several such families where there are brilliant varieties of Biryani which do not fall into any of the traditional styles, but are brilliant in their own right. I remember a Safed Biryani brought by my peon Ibrahim in Statesman during Id every year. That was not Awadhi, Hyderabadi or any classic style but is by far, the best Biryani I have had. A friend’s friend, a Bangladeshi, once treated me to a version of Biryani from his country, inspired by the nation’s famous Haleem and a judicious mixture of rice, dal and mutton. It was just great and full of life. But Biryani…

    Unfortunately, Delhi lacks the proper Biryani although there are several available, commercialised to the hilt and sold by kilos, none touching that particular point in the heart. But there is an old man, I hear, in some remote part of Okhla, who comes with just one handi and sells it out of his car. People swear by it, I do too, for not being able to reach him before he finishes his limited supply.

    Also, in today’s cholestrol filled lifestyle, Biryani has transformed into chicken from traditional goat meat as few are courageous enough to dash into the red. But that destroys much of the concept of this wonderful dish. Hope at least this one survives.

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