“There’s no sincerer love than the love of food!” – George Bernard Shaw
The Emotion Called ‘Biryani’
Today, for our Muslim Brothers, is the breaking of fast, a celebration of peace and brotherhood, and the day of the crescent… but for us who have Muslim friends, Eid is synonymous with only one utterance that inadvertently makes us drool! No points for guesses – it’s Biryani. (You can stop drooling now!)
Biryani, though incepted in Persia, found its perfection only in the subcontinent.. And that ‘perfection’ has diversified into so many genres that there are too many ‘perfect’ biryanis other than the ones that you’d have had today! In the awesomeness of Biryani, there are a few places that have carved a niche for themselves. A few of them are:
1) Hyderabad – The Raw Spice:
Ask any Biryani Aficionado, and they’ll swear by the awesomeness of the uncrowned king of Biryanis – the Hyderabadi Dum biryani. With a spice mix that strikes your every sense in a raw form, and with the signature ‘salan’ and ‘raita’ Hyderabadi Biryani is something really special – so special that people who tour Hyderabad include Shadab, Paradise, Bawarchi or Bahar as agenda-items in their itinerary!
2) Thalassery – A li’l sweet:
When it comes to Indian states, Kerala stands out in almost all aspects, and Biryani is not an exception. It’s made with relatively smaller rice, an excess of Ghee, the spices of their ‘God’s own country’ and coconut oil, which gives it a very distinct aroma and taste! It’s made with a variety of meats and even the forbidden ‘b’. More than that, if you’re lucky, you’d get to try it with a very special variety of pickle made of dates!
3) Lucknow – Biryani’s Own Nostalgia:
When Biryani came from Persia to India, people gave a lot of local flavor to it, but for some strange reason, it retained its originality in and around Lucknow – what we know today as the Awadhi Biryani. Predominantly made from Mutton, this Biryani, though has the texture of Hyderabad, differs in the taste and in the combination of spices! There are a few places around Delhi that have been serving this awesome Biryani for generations together!
4) Lahore – Cross-Border Biryani:
Let’s not forget that our ‘brother’ Pakistan has its own share of Biryani as well. The Peshawari cuisine deploys a lot of nuts and spices in their Biryani, and the biryani is surely a melange of tastes and feels – the spice of the mix contrasting with the raisins, and the fluffy rice contrasting with the cashews that pop in! This biryani is so awesome that it has started to mark its presence, not just in the west of India, but even in the Western Coast of the USA!!
5) Dindigul – More than Thalapakatti:
For most people, Dindigul biryani is the Thalappakatti biryani, which is largely true, though there are other distinct Dindigul tastes as well – like the Venu biryani. Made of the ‘Seeraga Samba’ rice (which many consider to be on par with basmati), this rice has a more even spread of spices, is soft on the teeth, and is served with a mix of aubergine and lentils, locally referred to a ‘daalcha’!
Biryani – it’s one dish that makes people happy… and it’s a dish that makes Eid more universal in reach – something that Eid stands for!! Let’s not forget that most of our friends, when we say ‘Eid Mubarak’ would surely understand it as ‘Where’s my Biryani?’!