Biryani, a Mark Left by the Mughal Monarchy

Antara Dey

Biryani…one of the most mouth melting dishes. A platter of Biryani comes with an awe-inspiring flavor and texture. Different theories exist, about the history and origin of this delicious dish. It is believed that this great dish came to the subcontinent India with the Mughals. But the name seems more like Persian. The word ‘Birian’ means fried before cooking, in the Persian language.

Being prepared in the royal kitchen of the Mughals, the taste has been spread out all over the country. It is a delicacy, which Begam Mumtaj Mahal is involved with. The story says, once she went to the army barracks and noticed that the soldiers are not getting proper nutrition from their foods. Therefore, she asked the chefs to prepare a dish for them with rice and meat. The ultimate result was nothing, but Biryani.

Another belief is there, i.e. the concept of Biryani came to India with Turk-Mongol conqueror Taimur, in 1398. Whatever be the history of origin, a plate of this flavored delicacy can make people feel, full of appetite.
From North to South, people of India fill their stomach with a plate of this delicious food. Although the taste, flavor and cooking styles vary, craziness for the yum remains same. Here is how the taste is different from each other.

Mesmerizing Mughlai Biryani

Lavish dining with nawabi khana was much preferred by the Mughal emperors. For them, cooking was an art. The taste of spiced meat, the flavor of rose water and kewra, the aroma of long grain basmati rice- these are the secrets behind the royal look and feel of this scrumptious food.

Saffrony hue in Hyedrabadi biryani

Niza-Ul-Mulk, the man, with whom Biryani came to Hyderabad. He was appointed as the ruler in Hyderabad, by Aurangzeb. The chefs of the Hyderabadi emperor tried to make different flavored Biryani with the meats of fish, quail, deer, shrimp and even hare. The hue and the heady scent of saffron can enhance one’s hunger, as the rice is cooked with saffron. Here lies the uniqueness of a plate of Hyderabadi biryani.

Here is the bliss…Kolkata Biryani

The twist in the story of Kolkata Biryani is the golden brown colored, and perfectly cooked pieces of potatoes. Although the concept of adding potato was innovated, driven by the less affordability of meat due to budget constraint, the taste of ‘aloo’ is bliss for all Bengali biryani lovers. The light yellow colored dish is less spicy. The journey of Kolkata Biryani began when Nawab Wajid Ali Shah was banished to Kolkata, by the British. He loved the dish very much and strived for recreating the dish. From the Shahi kitchen, it is an all-time favorite today, to the Bengalis.

Exquisite Lucknow Biryani

The spice is less. The texture is so soft. This is nothing but the delightful dish of biryani, from Lucknowi gharana. As the spice is used milder, than the other regions, so the texture is lighter. The meat is slowly boiled in water with the spices, for hours. Containing more moisture and tenderness, this delicacy becomes more delectable.

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