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31 Mar, 2023
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The Journey Of Biryani: From Persia To Your Plate!

Biryani is an ancient evergreen variety that needs no introduction. India offers a lot with its cooking plate but the one dish that Indians loves to indulge in is the mouth-watering biryani. With several variations that have evolved into different styles of biryanis, one will be spoiled for choice when it comes to finding this pot that melts the flavor. 

The word Biryani is originated from the word Birian, meaning ‘fried before cooking’ in Persian and Birinj being the Persian word for rice. There are many theories related to the origin of this extremely delicious dish. 

Many historians believe that Biryani was originated from Persia and was brought to India by the Mughals. There are several legendary stories associated with the evolution of Biryani. One of them is the story related to Mumtaz Mahal, wife of Shah Jahan. It is believed that once Mumtaz visited the army barracks and she felt that the Mughal soldiers looked weak and tired. She asked the chefs to prepare dish with meat and rice so that the soldiers are properly nourished. The dish was made exciting with spices and saffron and was cooked over wood fire. 

Another story states that Turk-Mongol conqueror, Timur, brought Biryani to India in 1398. Even, Nizams of Hyderabad and Nawabs of Lucknow were known for their appreciation of this extremely delicious dish. Traditionally, Biryani was cooked in the earthen pot using charcoal.

There are several types of  Biryani served all across India with different recipes, different methods, spicing it up in their own way. Some of the very famous and mouth watering biryanis are: 

Mughlai Biryani: The Mughal Emperors were very fond of the luxury dining experience and also appreciated the art of cooking. The traditional Mughlai Biryani is served with perfectly seasoned meatballs and a delicious kewra-flavored rice that would make anyone very hungry.

Lucknow Biryani: Biryani made in Lucknow is known as ‘pukki’ Biryani. In the ‘pukki’ style, meat and rice are cooked separately then layered in a copper vessel for the final finish. It is also known as Awadhi Biryani because the cuisine is widely influenced by the Nawabs of Awadh, who were of Persian origin.

Kolkata Biryani: After the British expulsion, Nawab Wajid Ali Shah re-established Biryani in the city of Calcutta (now Kolkata). Since they could not afford to buy meat, the local chefs made the biryani with putting golden brown potatoes. Simple in spice, Kolkata Biryani is made using marinade based on meat yogurt, cooked separately from light yellow rice.

Bombay Biryani: Bombay Biryani is a melting pot of delicious and hot flavors. The use of dried plums and kewra water gives it a slightly distinct taste.

Hyderabadi Biryani: The famous Hyderabadi Biryani came after Governor Aurangzeb appointed Niza-Ul-Mulk as the new governor of Hyderabad. It is believed that his chefs made about 50 different species that used fish, shrimp, quail, deer and even rabbit meat. The fragrant saffron ingredient is the star of this meal.

Bangalorean Biryani: Cooked in weddings and in many Banglorian homes, the Biryani uses only special jeera Samba rice.

Thalassery Biryani: Both delicious and nutritious, Thalassery Biryani is one of the most popular Biryani in India. Soft chicken wings, Malabar spices and kaima rice are used to cook this particular type of biryani.

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