There is no one definition for biryani! A dish that travelled to India centuries ago and is celebrated with much fanfare stirs up many a debate. India Food Network's editor-at-large, Kalyan Karmakar says, "It is a dish that both unites and divides India!"
This week, we saw some interesting chatter revolving around a dish that has no single recipe and distinctly different across the country. The battle of the biryani saw food writers Shirin Mehrotra, Ashis Nayak, Amit Patnaik and restaurateur Mohsen Husaini fight it out on Adda With Kalyan.
Every state and even each city has its own unique recipe for the biryani. While Bombay biryani is characterised by the use of spices, Kolkata biryani on the other hand is quite the opposite.
"What sets the biryani in Lucknow apart is the cooking technique; in this rice and meat are separately prepared and then put on dum or slow cooked," says Lucknow girl Shirin, who is the features editor of Burrp.com.
Hyderabad on the other hand is famous for its Kachche Gosht ki Biryani, where raw meat and rice along with aromatics is slow cooked over several hours. Another interesting fact is the amount of meat used is always in proportion to the rice.
"The best thing about the Hyderabadi biryani is that the rice takes more time to cook than the meat", reveals Ashis Nayak, who writes a blog called Fooddrifter. The city is also known for its layered version of the biryani.
When it comes to Chennai, did you know that the city has a biryani shop in every 500 metres? "However, there is nothing extraordinary about the type except the rice used is smaller in size and subtle in flavours," says Amit Patnaik, a food writer based in Chennai.
Biryani in Kolkata on the other hand is treated as a special occasion food. If you are in the City of Joy, do head to Shiraz and Nizams for some original Kolkata biryani. To find out where to grab some of the best biryanis across Lucknow, Chennai, Hyderabad and Mumbai, catch the full chat here.