We all can agree to the fact that Biryani = LOVE.
Be it Hyderabadi, Mughlai or Lucknowi, this irresistible concoction of rice prepared by using a multitude of spices is an absolute delight to the taste buds. But, Biryani is not any ordinary dish. It has got a rich history to its credit, inundated with several interesting facts which you would be amazed to discover.
Let’s begin to trace the journey of everyone’s favorite with these interesting facts about Biryani:
1. The origin
Our humble Biryani has been satisfying the hunger of the human kind not only for years, but centuries. Biryani is a native of Persia. Various theories indicate that it got its name from the Persian word ‘Birian’ which means ‘fried before cooking’ and ‘Birinj’ which means rice. We can thank the Mughals for bringing this dish from Persia to India and developing it further by adding Mughlai ingredients to it in their royal kitchens.
2. Biryani’s connection with Mumtaz Mahal
Talking about Mughals, there is much talk about the association of Mumtaz Mahal and the dish. She once visited an army barrack and found the army men looking undernourished. She ordered her chefs to prepare a dish using rice, meat, spices and saffron. Voila, that’s what Biryani is! No wonder her husband built the Taj Mahal in her memory.
3. Myriad of varieties
Biryani received many local and cultural twists in its preparation wherever it went. Roughly, there are as many as 25 famously well-known varieties of the dish like: Mughlai Biryani, Hyderabadi Biryani, Lucknowi Biryani/Awadhi Biryani, Kashmiri Biryani, Kolkata Biryani, Goan Fish Biryani, Kozhi Biryani, Assamese Biryani, Tahiri Biryani, Bombay Biryani, Bangalorean Biryani, Thalassery Biryani, Kalyani Biryani, Ambur Biryani, Dindigul Biryani.
4. Topping the charts
Chicken Biryani was the most ordered food dish online in 2018. And why not? It checks all the points: taste, quantity, texture, price, nutrition, value for money. Not only that, Biryani has been the most googled dish of 2019 in India.
5. The best method
A number of methods for preparing Biryani have been developed with time. However, the traditional and the most famous one remains cooking the Biryani in an earthen pot. It is known as ‘Dum Pukht,’ which involves sealing the biryani and cooking it on a slow fire.
6. Biryani in Britain?
Indians are well-known for their love for Biryani, but even the British relish this mouth-watering dish. The credit goes to the Bengali population in bringing and popularizing this preparation to the mainland of the UK. However, the spices of the dish were toned down to suit the taste buds of the English.
7. Type of rice used
It is a myth that Biryani can only be made from Basmati rice. The widespread use of thin and long variety of rice has contributed in developing this mindset, but in reality, there are an abounding number of Biryani dishes prepared from other varieties of rice. For example, Ambur Biryani is prepared by using Seeraga Samba rice instead of Basmati. Similarly, the very famous Malabar Biryani is made using Mullan Kazhama rice.
8. Kolkata biryani
The city of joy, Kolkata, has a unique style of preparing Biryani. It is prepared by adding flavored potatoes to it. The origin of this style can be traced back to the time when the Nawab of Awadh, Wajeh Ali Shah, was exiled to Kolkata by the British, and he started serving Biryani with potatoes to his staff because it was relatively cheap. But, anyway, we found our magic ingredient to replace meat with.
9. Record-holding restaurant
Hyderabad’s restaurant chain, Paradise, has entered the Limca book by setting world records for serving 70,44,289 servings of biryani in a year (2017). Well, now you know where to head to in order to enjoy your next serving of Biryani.
10. Veg Biryani is not Pulav!
Yes, this long-running myth needs to die now. Biryani is prepared using a complex and time-consuming method; however, Pulav is much simpler to prepare. Also, a lot of spicy and flavorful ingredients are added to Biryani which are knowingly skipped in Pulav. So, please don’t commit this crime again by mistaking either of the two as synonyms.
I can feel what you are thinking right now. You want to have a plateful of deliciously cooked basmati rice all by yourself and get lost in its aroma and heavenly taste. So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and start romancing with rice!