Saturday, September 13, 2014

TOP TEN BIRIYANIS you must try before you croak!

From the perplexing grain of culinary variations lapping across the subcontinent, if one were to pick a national dish for India, it would be sacrilegious to overlook the prospect of the ubiquitous Biryani as a strong contender with its countless variations conforming to a generous rate of not less than one from each province. There’s not another exclusive dish from the diverse cuisine of the fiery Indian palette that stands a fighting chance against this phenomenon as far as popularity and countrywide consensus goes.

If one were to superficially examine the many versions of its famously disputed origin, Biryani has two unrelated derivations, one that leans more towards the royal rearing in the Mughal kitchen and the other that it swam across the Arabian Sea to the Malabar Coast with the Arabs, and although it traditionally started off as a spicy lamb-based rice dish, there came into being, chicken, beef, egg, fish, prawns and vegetable variants of the same over time. They also spread through the length and breadth of the peninsula adapting to local tastes resulting in a range of remarkable offshoots, each speaking volumes about the province it comes from. Following is the top ten of the best regional variations available... plunge in!

10. Moti Biryani

In this biryani from the Nawabi Kitchen, the customary chunks of meat is replaced by small koftas (dumplings) made from minced meat that is first steamed and then coated with chandi vark (edible silver), and without simmering in the masala, is assembled in layers before the final baking with saffron flavored rice. These small beads of meat that melt in your mouth and resemble pearls (moti) with the silver coating, gives the biryani its name. 

9. Bhatkali Biryani

A Karnataka specialty from the Konkan coast, this variant uses more than any else, a generous amount of onion in the masala, and often cooked in the non-dum style as well. Apart from the fact that it employs curry leaves, which is a common South Indian practice; the rice here is cooked without a drop of ghee or oil! Good news for the really health conscious Biryani lovers! The only sad part is, there are very few restaurants that serve it, and to get a genuine portion, one might have to take a ride to the coastal town of Bhatkal for all you know.

8. Sindhi Biryani

This Biryani variant hails from Sindh province in Pakistan and has potatoes and prunes as characteristic departures in the ingredients, which along with mint and sour yoghurt are prepared in a spicy hot masala. The masala to rice ratio here is slightly more than any other type.
Sindhi Biryani is perhaps the most consumed dish in Pakistan and is very popular in India as well.

7. Bohri Biryani

When compared to Sindhi Biryani, the Bohri variety is more fragrant and less spicy. This type comes from the Bohra Muslim community in Gujarat, most particularly from Surat, and has largely migrated to Bombay making it a present day stronghold. Bohri Biryani is generously sprinkled with cashews and apricot, typical of the enigmatic Bohri cusine, and could only be trusted for an original right from a Bohra household.

6. Moradabadi Biryani

Coming from Moradabad, in Uttar Pradesh, known for the brass and handicraft industry, this genus is liberally dotted with cumin seeds and is hot with the zing of whole green chilies. Every essence of the taste here except the fire of the chilies is so subtle that even the change in water apparently makes a difference to the end result. Bastardized version of this type is the most popular street side Biryanis available in Delhi.

5. Kolkata Biryani

This type of Biryani from the eastern state of West Bengal, like the Sindhi and Bohri versions, uses diced potatoes along with meat and rice in addition to the regular mixture of spices used in the Nawabi Biryani of Lucknow. But Potato was initially used as a cheaper substitute for meat, which stayed on even when the patrons prospered.

4. Ambur Biryani

Coming from the Ambur region of Tamil Nadu, that essentially has more number of biryani shops per square kilometer than any other town in India, the difference in this type primarily lies in the small-grained Seeraga Samba rice that is used here as opposed to the long grained basmati rice. Here the flavors are subtle, and is more often than not eaten with a spicy brinjal curry.

3. Malabar Biryani

Variously known as Thalassery Biryani and Kozhikodan Biriyani, this Malabari variant of Biryani uses a small-grained fragrant rice (Khyma) similar to the one used for the Amburi variety, and is predominantly relished throughout the southern state of Kerala. Another important factor is the omission of yoghurt and the increasing quantity of fresh mint and coriander leaves in the meat masala. This type however has no association to the Mughals whatsoever, instead came via Arabs through the Arabian Sea.

2. Awadhi Biryani

Also known as the Nawabi Biryani as well as Lucknowi Biryani, the Awadhi kind involves the baking of alternate layers of half cooked rice and half cooked masala over slow flame. Marinating the meat is a key to make it succulent in the end. This is also the best form of the Mughlai types that has retained the ‘subtlety in richness’ of their cooking.
This subtle flavored type is also where the Kolkata variant took off along with an exiled ruler.

1. Hyderabadi Biryani

No prize for guessing this one, as this particular gastronomical delight is the only species that made it to the comprehensive Top Ten Indian Dishes you must try before you croak list. The Nizam’s of Hyderabad are credited for this lip-smacking outcome of the blend between the original Mughal recipe and the ethnic Andhra cuisine.

Now for the real Biriyani buffs, there are lot more different varieties you must dig into, just in case you haven’t already, that is! Beary Biryani, Memoni Biryani, Vaniyambadi Biryani, Andhra Biryani, Bombay Biryani, Kolhapuri Biryani, Kalyani Biryani, Cubbonpet Biryani, Ranipet Biryani, Delhi Biryani, Punjabi Biryani, Virani Biryani, Palakkad Rawther Biryani and many more including a host of non-Indian ones as well.

In addition to these there is also the Tahri biryani, which is vegetarian alternative to any of the variety mentioned above.


  1. Love this dish in any form, any variant and at anytime. Mouthwatering post!

  2. I love biryanis once in a while. But now with the news coming that chicken carry antibiotics I have decided to suppress my love, occasional though it is. My brother-in-law told me yesterday he buys chicken now more frequently as it is cheaper than antibiotic capsules :)

  3. Yummmm..... Nice post.... How many of them have you able to have?!......
    Remember the chawla biriyani.... Ofcourse not for their quality but quantity.... And also the one from deez....

  4. Whoa! So what if i can't eat this post, I am saving this post. :)

  5. Have you tried them all? Is there is veggie version available :(

  6. Yummy... I can gorge on any type of biryani!!

  7. Hello beautiful people and awesome writers, they say we write to inspire others and for sure you have inspired and motivated me to write some more. Hence, I nominate you for "Very Inspiring Blogger Award" and for more details check this link
    Congratulations :)


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