- Biryani has over 40 distinct versions in Hyderabad alone.
- It is believed that Mughals first introduced Biryani in North India
- Here are some of the best versions of Biryani from across the country
Biryani Recipes – Who doesn’t love a plate of flavourful Biryani? Biryani, an evergreen classic, really needs no introduction. It’s aromatic, it’s heavenly and one of the most loved delicacies not just in India but across the globe. It is believed that Mughals were the first to introduce biryani in North India whereas South India was exposed to its brilliance through the Arabs. Biryani flourished in some of the notable Muslim centres throughout the country – including Lucknow, old Delhi and Hyderabad, to name a few – after which it was gradually embraced by all.
The style of cooking Biryani in North India differed from the Southern states. Since a large part of North India was inhabited by vegetarian communities like Brahmins and Marwaris, North Indians successfully experimented with it to arrive at the vegetarian versions. Vegetable Biryani, colloquially called ‘Tehri’ is a classic Sunday meal in most North Indian homes.
Rice is widely consumed in the Southern part of the country owing to which one can find a miscellany of mouthwatering versions. South India boasts of a wide variety of Biryanis over any other part of the country. Hyderabad itself is said to cook up to 40 distinct versions. The fiery chettinad cuisine of Tamil Nadu exhibits magnificent Biryanis. Some of the most celebrated Biryanis of South include – Hyderabadi Biryani, Coorgi Mutton Biryani, Bhatkali Biryani and Mangalorean Fish Biryani.
The Western part of the country bristles with a fantastic collection of Biryanis, one of the famous being the Bombay Biryani – a hearty combination of spices, meat and rice, studded with kewra. The Khojas and Boris Muslim communities kept alive the tradition of cooking Biryanis. When in Western India, one must try the Sindhi Biryani, Gujarati Biryani and Memoni Biryani. Aurangabad is also a centre where one can get a taste of Mughlai Biryani in Maharashtrian style.
In East, Biryani is mostly cooked in Bengal. They combine rice with meat, fish and prawns and cook it with heart-warming spices and ingredients. To talk of North-East India, one of the most notable Biryanis is the Assamese Kampuri Biryani.
Unlike Pulao, Biryani involves cooking rice and meat separately and finally cooking them together by forming layers of each in a vessel. One of the most famous ways of cooking Biryani is the dum method. It involves sealing the vessel thoroughly and keeping the lid closed to trap in the aroma. The Biryani is then cooked over slow fire/dum.
Traditionally, Biryanis can be classified under two categories – Pakki, wherein cooked meat is coupled with half-cooked rice and further cooked – and Katchi which involves raw mutton pieces, marinated in yogurt and spices, cooked together with uncooked rice.
Biryani is a complete meal in itself, apt to suit all occasions; whether a hearty meal on a lazy Sunday afternoon or a grand, scrumptious indulgence at the dinner table – there are varieties available to please one and all.