Birth of Biryani in Incredible India

Biryani was originated in Persia and it might have taken different routes to arrive in India. Biryani is derived from the Farsi word ‘Birian’. Based on the name, and cooking style (Dum), one can conclude that the dish originated in Persia and/or Arabia.

In the olden days, rice was fried (without washing) in Ghee (Clarified butter). It did two things:

1) It gave the rice a nutty flavor. 2) It burned the outside starch layer gelatinizing it. After the rice is stir-fried, it was boiled in water with spices till half cooked.

Based on the name, and cooking style (Dum), it is also called as Dum Biriyani. It is believed that, it could have come from Persia via Afghanistan to North India. It could have also been brought by the Arab traders via Arabian Sea to Calicut, Kerala.

How did Biryani spread in India?

Lucknowi (Awadhi) Biryani: During Mogul empire, Lucknow was known as Awadh, giving rise to Awadhi Biryani. The Awadhi Dum biryani is also known as “Pukka” biryani as the rice and meat are generally partially cooked separately; then layered and cooked by Dum Pukht method.

Calcutta Biryani: In 1856, British deposed Nawab Wajid Ali Shah in Calcutta, giving rise to Calcutta Biryani. Due to recession aloo (potato) had been used instead of meat. Later on that has become the specificity of Calcutta biryani, though meat is also served along with it.

Hyderabadi Biryani: Aurangzeb installed Nizam-ul-mulk as the Asfa Jahi ruler of Hyderabad, as well as a ‘Nawab of Arcot’ to oversee Aaru Kaadu region (Six Forrests) south of Hyderabad. These moves gave rise to Hyderabadi Biryani and Arcot Biryani. The Nizam’s kitchen boasted of 49 kinds, which included biryani made from fish, quail, shrimp, deer and hare. A type of Hyderabadi biryani called “Kacchi Yeqni” biryani involves cooking the marinated meat and the rice together.

Tahari Biryani: The Biryani spread to Mysore by Tipu Sultan of Carnatic. They hired vegetarian Hindus as bookkeepers leading to the development of Tahiri Biryani.

There are many differant styles of Biryanis like Turkish Pilaf, Iranian Biryani, Quaboli, Malaysia and Singapore Biryani, Indonesian Biryani,Daal biryani, Sindhi Biryani, Mauritian biryani, Idiyappam Biryani from Sri Lanka and Kashmiri Yakhni Biryani.

Image Credit: Flickr

Categories:   India