Biryani – History & Types Of Biryani


The common people love it and any festival is incomplete without it – the delightful biryani is one of the favorite delicacies of India. Biryani is the world famous rice feast from India which is native to the city of Hyderabad. It is an authentic Hyderabadi non-vegetarian rice preparation that is a meal in itself. Immersed with flavorful spices and is blended delicately with chicken and rice, provides an aromatic flavor which is hard to resist.  The dish has two primary ingredients –basmati rice and chicken with an assortment of spice mix for creating this savory delight.

Brief History about Biryani

It originated from Persia and has taken several routes before arriving in India. The word Biryani is derived from a Farsi word ‘Birian’. Living to its name and the style of cooking, it can be concluded that the delicacy originated from Persia. It might have traveled from Persia to Afghanistan before reaching northern parts of India. The recipe might have also been carried by the traders from Arab through the Arabian Sea to Calicut.

In a homemade biryani, the meat marinated overnight together with some spices and is soaked in good quality yogurt before cooking. The meat is squeezed in between several layers of the long-grained fragrant basmati rice and is cooked on dum which basically means steaming over the charcoal. It is a tedious task as it requires careful attention to temperature and time for avoiding under or overcooking of the meat.

Types of Biryani you must try!

1. Hyderabadi Biryani

Hyderabadi biryani is the most popular biryani preparation in south India. Most of the chefs and home cooks consider this Mughlai cuisine a challenging task and everyone has their unique way of flavoring it. What makes this form of biryani stand out from the rest is the use of coconut and saffron. It is cooked in several layers which are the most perplexing thing while preparing. Where most of the biryani varieties are dominated by the presence of chicken and mutton gravy, the saffron flavored rice is the distinguishing feature of a Hyderabadi Biryani.

2. Dindigul Biryani

Dindigul Biryani is unarguably the favorite Biryani for Chennaites with several outlets dedicated to serving only Dindigul biryani. The basic difference in this Biryani form is the rice which is used in its preparation. Here instead of using the normal Basmati rice, jeera samba rice is used which gives the biryani an entirely distinctive flavor. Also, this biryani preparation uses cube-sized chicken or mutton pieces instead of large chunks. Pepper is used in heaps which are essential to Chettinad cuisine.

3. Ambur Biryani

It’s difficult to miss out on Ambur biryani in case you are in the state of Tamil Nadu. If you take a trip to the small town called Ambur, the first thing which will blow you away is the in uncountable stalls serving biryani over the Chennai-Bengaluru highway. You will find mutton, beef, chicken, prawn and several other options together with the flavor of coriander and mint.

4. Bhatkali Biryani

With a low on spice, this form of biryani offers the precise amount of flavor. This particular form of Biryani was invented by the Nawayath Muslim community of Bhatkal. Here, they use a large amount of green chilies and onions in their cooking in a layered format. Contrasting from the Hyderabadi or the Ambur biryani where the mutton or the chicken pieces are soaked in curd before cooking, the Bhatkali biryani requires cooking of the mutton or chicken chunks in the curd. Using this technique, the spiciness of the biryani is kept under control and is very calm for every palate.


5. Lucknowi Biryani

Based on the cooking style of the Persians, this Lucknowi biryani is prepared to employ a totally different approach known as the dum puki ht. Unique to most of the Persian norms, the gravy and the meat are cooked partially and are layered in dum pukht style. It is then served in a sealed container referred to as a “handi”, this traditional preparation of biryani is subtle on your palate and light on your stomach.

6. Kolkata Biryani

Kolkata biryani finds its roots from the Nawabi style of Biryani which is native to the city of Nawabs, Lucknow. The cooks from the Awadhi kitchens carried this signature recipe to Kolkata, which then got twisted into Kolkata biryani. This form of biryani is bit unique due to its delicate use of spices blended with Basmati rice, ghee and chicken or mutton. The adding of boiled eggs and potatoes also offers a distinct flavor to the Biryani. Application saffron, kewra, and nutmeg give this form of biryani its signature fragrance.


7. Malabar Biryani

Malabar or Kerala biryani is the famous variety of Biryani in Thalassery, Kozhikode, Malappuram and several other regions of Kerala. This Biryani is characterized by the generous use of raisins and cashew nuts, unique rice variety known as khyma rice and the rich assortment of spices. Home cook and chefs in Kerala use all of these ingredients big-heartedly in their Biryani. The basic dissimilarity is in the preparation method. Here, the rice is cooked individually from the chicken or the mutton gravy and is then mixed while serving.

8. Bombay Biryani

Bombay biryani is special due to the use of potatoes. Whether it is a vegetarian or non-vegetarian form, use of potato is a must. Here, the Biryani preparation employs a layered approach, where the cooked meat and the semi-cooked basmati rice are left on dum till it’s ready to be served.

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