Thursday, February 03, 2005

O Darling Biryani...

Biryani, a ubiquitous cocktail-food made up of rice, spices and meat, is relished by millions of people of the Indian sub-continent; and, I personally have a lot of appetite for it, too.

Over the years, Biryani has been quite an experience. My early memory of Biryani goes back to the festival of Eid, when my mom would prepare a Hyderabadi style ‘Dum-ki-Biryani’ – never ever any Biryani can be more toothsome, as cooked by her.

Raipur, where I hail from, has a very modest Biryani offering, all the more when you compare it to Hyderabad: the undisputed Biryani capital of the world. But then, when you grow up with a certain taste, it acquires a sensitive place in you. I still crave for the moderately cooked ‘Degh-ki-Biryani’ along with the ‘Dalcha’, which was often served on religious and social occasions. My visits to Raipur are never complete without visiting the age-old Habib Hotel, for their simple, but superb Biryani.

The Biryani I have had at Cochin and Trivendrum was relatively different. It tastes great with the salad (which can be safely called ‘Raita’ in North India, as that “salad” is a mix of curd, cucumber, tomato, and onion, etc) that is served along. But yes, I must admit that Malabari Biryani is quite exotic.

Coming to the Biryani bastion, Hyderbad – there are several ways a Biryani is cooked here. But, you will get the best of Hyderabadi Biryani not at any restaurant, but in old and traditional Hyderabadi families and nobilities. Although, several restaurants in the city do serve Biryani at affordable prices, and calling that delicious will not be any exaggeration (provided you know the right places). Biryani is typically served along with ‘Mirchi-ka-saalan’, an exclusive Hyderabdi serving.

Going Northwards, I once had a Biryani at the famous ‘Kareems'’, in New Delhi, and it was awesome. I am yet to experience the Lukhnow – Awadh chapter of Biryani; perhaps, sometime my friends from Lukhnow might oblige.

Actually, Biryani is like a dialect, which changes every few miles in India. But, be it Tanveer - Nagpur, or Dilli-Durbar, Bombay; be it Lazeez - Indore, or Zam Zam – Trivendrum, or Hyderabad House in Hyderabad, Biryani has always succeeded in elating my spirits. I don’t say that I live on it, but then it’s almost an inevitable part. Biryani, for me, is a food that symbolizes energy, passion, exuberance, and lots of vigor.

I can never have enough of it!

More on Biryani at:


Anonymous joel said...

Five Star Indian Recipes...A collection of more than 1000 chosen Indian recipes.
Great site for Indian food lovers.

11:35 PM  

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