The different flavours of Biryani

New Delhi: Although the origin of Biryani is not known, it is believed to have come from Persia – where they cooked the dish for their soldiers – into India witha little help with the Mughals.

Whereas, some stories speak of Arab traders bringing in the flavoured rice to Calicut, Kerala, via the Arabian Sea or it was brought to South Asia by the Turkish during the Delhi Sultanate.

Biryani is derived from the Persian word ‘Birian’ meaning ‘fried before cooking’. This means the rice is fried (without washing) in ghee which gives it the nutty flavor and the burnt outside starch layer gelatinize it.

The intense influence of Mughal Arabic culture, on our country, made Biryani a popular delicacy in the Indian menu. Culinary experts here experimented and exposed varieties to this legendary aromatic preparation.

NewsMobile lists down the different flavours of Biryani available in Delhi and NCR that will make your taste bud crave for more.


Hyderabadi Biryani

The blending of Mughlai and Telangana cuisines in the kitchens of the Nizam, ruler of the historic Hyderabad state, resulted in the creation of Hyderabadi biryani.

The most famous biryani, it initially came when Aurangzeb invaded the South and installed the Nizam-ul-mulk who later as the Asfa Jahi ruler became the Nizam of Hyderabad. So, as the influence of the Muslim rule, Hyderabadi biryani became popular.

‘Hyderabadi biryani’ is made in different styles – ‘Kacchi’ biryani, where the meat is marinated in curd and then steamed with rice, and ‘Pakki’ biryani, where the meat is cooked with all the accompanying spices and then the rice added to the resultant gravy in a sealed handi.

Where: Biryani Blues, Viva Hyderabad, Deez Biryani, Indian Grill Room, The Golconda Bowl


Lucknowi (Awadhi) Biryani

Lucknow and biryani have an almost symbiotic relationship. The Lucknow (Awadhi) biryani is the footprint that the Muslims of the Mughal Empire left on the northern part of India.

Based on the Persian style of cooking, the Lucknowi biryani is made with the use of a completely different method, known as dum pukht. The Awadhi biryani is also known as “Pukka” biryani as the rice and meat are cooked separately and then layered.

Served in a sealed handi, Lucknowi biryani is light on the stomach as it is low on spices.

Where: Karim’s, Al Kauser, The Lucknow Pavilion at Culture Galli (Kingdom of Dreams), Kitchen of Awadh.


Kolkata Biryani

Kolkata biryani is far spicier than its cousins, and distinguishes itself by its use of potatoes. The whole, skinned potatoes in biryani take on all the nuances of flavour in the stock.

Even this has a history behind it.

This biryani originated from the Avadh royal family, which migrated to Kolkata with a coterie of cooks. The dish permeated from the royal family downwards to common households.

From Lucknow the biryani moved to Calcutta when, in 1856, Nawab Wajid Ali Shah was deposed by the British. His team of cooks moved with him and so did the biryani.

In Kolkata the biryani entered poorer homes, which could not afford meat every day, so the meat was replaced by potatoes which came to be known as the ‘Calcutta Biryani’.

Where: Ki Hangla, Kolkata Biryani House, Calcutta Biryani, Kolkata’s Royal Biryani House, Oh! Calcutta.


Bombay Biryani

The Bohri influence over the culinary scene in Bombay is very obvious when it comes to Bombay style biryani.

Combine that with co-habiting around Persians/Iranians, who settled here in the 1900’s, and you will have rice and meat find a way into a vessel, slowly cooked and absolutely delicious!

Bohri style biryani has a unique spice blend.

Where: Mumbaikar Biryani


Malabar Biryani

The Thallassery Biryani of Kerala makes it to the most famous list. Made with a special rice called Khaima, which is long and thin but not Basmati, this biryani brings together the distinctive flavour of the rice fried gently in ghee, then ‘dum’ cooked with partially cooked meat and masala!

Where: Hotel Malabar, Anna’s Hotel, Kerala Boat Bar at Culture Gully (Kingdom of Dreams), Mahabelly, Kerala Express, Zambar, Dakshin.



Tehri is the name given to the vegetarian version of biryani. The vegetable biryani was originally made for the Mahajan Hindus, who were the cashiers and financiers of the Nawabs.

The vegetarian version or ‘pulao’ has some textured vegetable protein-based balls to present the impression of a meat-based dish for vegetarians.

Where: Oberoi Biryani, Biryani Paradise


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