The Pulaos & Biryanis of your city
Updated: Jun 4
Dear biryani connoisseurs of Hyderabad! Guess what? Your Biryani is a fraud! Biryani lovers would turn snobs arguing about the best biryani place ever as if they wear Sabyasachi & encountered a fake lehenga in Chandni Chowk! Brace yourself- Biryani, at its inception, was riceless! The original Biryani involved boiling certain parts of lambs along with specific herbs, later chopped off in small chunks further roasted in the fire. The resultant meat snuggles into the curls of a holed naan-sangak (a kind of naan cooked inside a tandoor). Bam! The authentic, original, the Persian Biryani.
Thought for food, throughout the Indian history the wars, invasions, diplomacies for power brought us a sly rendezvous with a smorgasbord of culture, heritage and indeed, cuisines. It is claimed that rice was supplemented to the original Biryani from the royal kitchen of Mumtaz Mahal to make it a delicious & nutritious, a 'complete' meal to feed her husband emperor Shahjahan's army. Taj Mahal has its reasons!
There is a chronological evolution since then. Just like roasting the meat in original Persian tandoor has unfolded into heating it on a large spoon over direct fire, Biryani is cooked in different concoctions from chicken to fish, to diverse kind of spices and aromatic flavours.
While travelling across India, if you encounter a change in language, get ready for a different definition of Biryani. The Lucknowi Biryani also recognised as 'Awadhi Biryani', is known for its unique cooking style, namely dum pukht. Rice, soaked into the flavours of saffron, cinnamon and star anise is cooked separately from spice-infused meat. Layered into a handi (a deep-bottomed vessel) together, the mixture is left for hours unless the flavours are deeply penetrated into every grain. Adding a pinch of saffron, kewra & nutmeg does all the aromatic wonders. One relishes it when served with scrumptious 'Tari'.
Sticking up " Audi Rings" to an Alto 800 seems the concept of " Veg " in a Biryani to stern non-vegetarian Biryani lovers. Jaws drop when a simple potato, a supporting cast in every vegetarian dish, hails as a protagonist when you turn poetic for Kolkata Biryani. With thrifty usage of spices, characterised by a tinge of sweetness, the Biryani is cooked with light-yellow rice encrusted with yoghurt-based meat, soft boiled eggs and potatoes. It takes you to more of a sweet-smelling ride.
It seems like the intricacies of Biryani are no less than that of a Sabyasachi lehenga. Food is a severe art. No wonder people get paid to taste it. There is a heck lot of disruption in a recipe when a biryani is cooked aromatic in contrast when it is cooked spicy. Such is the difference discreetly focussed in Rayalaseema Ruchulu -Top Restaurants chain in Hyderabad when they cook Andhra Kodi Dum Biryani. The tenderness of chicken lies in its meticulous heating details under dum that ensure that the spices well pierce the meat. With a palette of hand-picked spices such as Bay leaf, star anise and strand mace require laborious efforts to serve Rayalaseema Ruchulu Hyderabadi Biryani in its best style.
The famous chain of restaurants in Hyderabad has another flair added to it along with Hyderabadi Biryani. Despite inadequate explanations of the distinction between Biryani and Pulao from connoisseurs, the restaurants, which see around 1000 footfalls a day acknowledge it diligently.
Hailing as their signature dish- the Pachi Mirpa Kodi Pulao has green chilli- flavoured chicken blended with long, smooth and sleek rice with a scrupulously right quantity of spices - just perfect for pulling your heartstrings. The course of recipe changes when one yearns to savour Gutti Vankaya Pulao which requires a couple of hours of preparation priorly stuffed eggplant. Detailed frying of natural spices is essential before tender rice is drenched in the marinated eggplants.
When you face too many "Elaichis" in your life "biriyani", you know you need a better taste of it. Take your tummy to a gastronomical excursion, have a stroll at Rayalaseema Ruchulu where around ten types of pulaos and biryanis are embellished with a diversion in nuts and bolts of every recipe.
We live only once, more severe- we eat only twice a day.