Journey of the Biryani

Hello Biryani Lovers...

I have a big soft corner for biryani.... and my tummy expands a little bit more at the sight, smell and taste of a tasty mutton biryani. I think that is the case for most of us...isn't it??

During my childhood days we lived in housing unit, race course in Coimbatore which is basically apartments built for government you can understand it was community living to the fullest form. There was no difference of Christmas, Ramzan or Diwali. We used to hang a huge star outside our home every Christmas and make a cake and biryani on the celebration day.

But on Ramzan, it was a different story. Our very kind hearted generous neighbour usually sends us a big tiffin carrier of yummy delicious biryani.....I can still remember the taste even now after so many years.We are very much in touch with each other even after they have moved to another city.

There is a lot of info about the origins and the history and so on and so forth.....but the ultimate thing is biryani is a wonderful wholesome dish.

Whoever came up with the idea first "BLESS THEM"....

Whoever modified it by adding ingredients to make it fantastically tasty "BLESS THEM TWICE".....

Whoever can cook a perfect biryani "BLESS THEM COUNTLESS TIMES".

It was cooked for the army during olden days believed to have come from Persia through the Moghals and taken to various cities in India where a different version came up.

Lucknow (Awadhi) Biryani is the footprint of the Moghals and from there the biryani moved to Calcutta which had potatoes added to it.

When the south was invaded and "Nizam of Hyderabad" formed, the Hyderabadi Biryani took shape which is spicy and hot than the other versions. It involved the marination of meat with raw green papaya, fried onions and cardamoms. 

Hyderabadi Biryani itself is made in different styles -- Katchi Biryani, where the meat is marinated in curds and then steamed with rice, and the Pukki Biryani, where the meat is cooked with all the accompanying spices and then the rice is simmered with the gravy which has mace, saffron, cardamom and kewra .

The Vegetable Biryani was derived for the Mahajan Hindus who worked for the king.Then the biryani travelled further south through the Nawab of Arcot which gave rise to Arcot Biryani where a smaller grain variety of rice known as "Jeeraga Samba" is used. 

Rice for the Biryani:

Biryani is derived from the Persian word "Birian" meaning "Fried before Cooking". This means that the rice was fried (without washing) in ghee which gave the rice a nutty flavor and it burned the outside starch layer gelatinizing it.

Usually in North India long grain rice and basmati are used extensively and South India especially Tamilnadu "Jeeraga Samba" rice is used.

Ingredients : bay leaf, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, ginger ,garlic, onions, tomatoes, poppy seeds, coconut milk, cumin, fennel seeds, mint leaves, rose water, saffron, vetiver..... the list is extensive but not exhaustive.

Varieties in India :Hyderabadi, Calicut Chicken biryani, Lucknow [awadhi], Sindhi, Memoni, Kashmiri bhuna ghost and Calcutta biryani to name a few in India 

Outside India: Thai, Malay, Sri Lankan, Turkish pilaf, Iranian, etc.

In Tamil Nadu: We have an equal number of varieties: Thalappakattu, Dindugal, Ambur, Arcot [Moghalai style], Vaniyambadi Mutton Dum Biryani, Chettinad Mutton Biryani, Chettinad Kari Dhania Biryani, Kongu Kozhi Biryani etc....

Writing this section has woken up the "Biryani Monster" in my tummy......I am going to take off and get some tasty mouthfuls to satisfy the biryani monster.....will be back soon with some recipes.

Chettinad Chicken Biryani 

Scribbled by Reva.
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