Long grains of Basmati rice cooked with succulent pieces of meat, and occasionally with big chunks of potatoes and boiled eggs make for a perfect meal in India. The aromatic concoction that goes into preparing a good biryani usually depends on an heirloom recipe and practiced technique. But, who makes the best biryani in our metros?
We asked the foodie junta from across the country about their favourite biryani in their city. Here’s the verdict that came out.
Two eateries have been standouts when it comes to the ultimate biryani in Hyderabad - Shadab for mutton dum biryani, and Bawarchi at RTC ‘X’ Roads for the chicken version of the dum biryani.
The secret behind every delicious serving of biryani is the perfect concoction of spices and the right cut of meat marinated for several hours. The meat is cooked in dum style, handi layered with basmati rice, ghee and the marination cooked over the fire.
It is cooked in the residual heat of the vessel, so that it brings out even flavours. Best had with mirchi ka salan and yogurt, both these restaurants serve biryani in individual and portions that can be shared by a family.
Location: Shadab - 21, Opposite Madina Building, High Court Road, Hyderabad
Bangalore is quite a haven for biryani lovers. Picking one biryani is quite a difficult task, but if there is one I keep going back to for more, it is the Laham Mandi at Taa’am, a small non-descript restaurant in the basement of a building on Queen’s Road.
The Laham Mandi is an Arabian version of biryani. It comes on a huge platter - one mandi equals to two supremely satisfied people OR one supremely happy, ravenously hungry individual (keyword being ravenous here). The rice is soft, mixed with vegetables, on top of which is the hunk of meat. What you get is a really big slab. Along with this comes a bowl of mandi soup and mint chutney that will have you constantly asking more for.
The soup is cooked with stock of slivered onions giving it a fabulous flavour. You need to hold up the piece of meat, use your spoon and simple push the meat of the bone. That's how soft and succulent it is. This dish is cooking constantly in a huge vessel on the side and if you sit in the right place, you will get a peek of it. It’s of course heavy on ghee, but in a nice way.
The biryanis at Jaffer Bhai’s are the best in the whole world. The style is Mughlai and it has the perfect flavours. It is sour and spicy at the same time with a hint of sweetness. To enjoy it best, you need to have deep fried potatoes on the side!
The Bohri-style biryanis are also fantastic. I think Hyderabadi biryani is the most hyped, and for me, quite tasteless. Why would you need a Mirchi Ka Salan or for that matter any side dish with a biryani?
Locations: Mahim, Grant Road, Andheri, Dongri, Marine Lines, Mohd Ali Road, Navi Mumbai, Jogeshwari
Asli Alam Muradabadi
Mohit Balachandran, Chef, Restaurateur, Food Blogger at Chowder Singh
It’s hard to find good biryani in Delhi, a city that has had such a huge influence of the Mughals and other Muslim rulers. But, the biryani that I’d recommend if you happen to be in the capital is the Moradabadi style available at this tiny, hole-in-the-wall shop near the Tamil Sangam.
What I like about this style of biryani is the wonderful combination of the kaali and hari mirch that is used. It is a dum biryani and is not over spiced. It is topped with a hot salan, which makes the biryani delicious.
Location: Near Tamil Sangam, RK Puram, New Delhi
Kaniska Chakraborty, Advertising professional
Quietly and steadily, biryani has become a staple of Kolkata. To the extent that there are rumours of vegetarian biryani and paneer biryani rearing its ugly head. Kolkatans’ love for biryani is so great that they will love anything that has meat, rice and potato together. Yes good people. Potato is essential for a classic Calcutta biryani. In fact potato defines a Calcutta biryani ever since Wazid Ali Shah set up his residence here. And on that lies my great divide of biryani.
Royal, a byword for biryani for many does not stand a chance with me since it has no potato. I am willing to tolerate the next plate of biryani from the famed, albeit flawed, Arsalan as long as there is a large enough hunk of potato. But if I have to pick one biryani then it would have to be Aliyah. On the corner of Waterloo and Bentinck. It’s fun to write the location using two names that goes with Calcutta and not Kolkata. Aliyah is the only place where I would deign to have a chicken biryani because they make it with free-range chicken.
Lightly spiced, fluffy long grain rice perfectly separated, one boiled egg adding to the oomph factor, a whole leg of chicken, not ungainly bulky but delicately meaty, and like the crown jewel, the chunk of potato, nay alu. The very sound of it makes my mouth water.
While mutton biryani of Great Indian and Shiraz and Afza are much talked about, not too many has written about the humble chicken biryani. Funny anecdote. Once a friend of mine was invited to a biryani evening. His first question was “leather or feather?”
There's always been a debate over finding good biryani in Delhi. Kareem's does serve biryanis, but it is not their forte. However, I do have a favourite and that is Rumi's Kitchen in Gurgaon. I am quite fond of the Awadhi style, and the best thing about their biryanis is they use rich stock to prepare it.