The Story of Biryani!
by Padmini Chintakayala on Feb 23, 2022
Biryani! The one dish that Indian food lovers around the world can't seem to get enough of. Be it the gullies of Charminar (see below) in Hyderabad to the one of many dine-in, delivery or takeout places in United States, Germany, UK or almost anywhere, this dish has made its way into the lives of so many.
So, what is this dish, Biryani?
Biryani is a rice dish that has vegetables or meat in layers. We're talking layers over layers of aromatic rice cooked in whole spices alternating with vegetables or meat. The word 'Dum' in 'Dum Biryani' refers to a specific type of cooking where all the layers of rice and vegetables or meat are sealed tight and baked until all the spices release their flavor giving biryani the unique sense of flavor.
What makes this dish so popular?
The beauty in the Indian Cuisine is the number of flavors and combinations that one can spin up with the use of hand full of spices.
That being said, countless variations of biryani have popped up over the years. There are two mainstream variations of this that are most popular in India and around the world. Chicken Biryani and Vegetable Biryani (below).
Although the exact origins of biryani are uncertain, for centuries, it is said to have been the preferred dish of royalty. A popular belief is that it is said to have been brought to India by the Persian Mughals during the invasion. Lavish feasts of Biryani and its most popular accompaniments raita and mirchi ka salan (both seen below) were served often during celebrations. Another belief is that it was brought to the Indian sub continent by the Arab traders to the South West region of Malabar.
Whatever the origin, it is unanimous among Indian food lovers that biryani continues to stand as one of the most all time favorites.