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Republic Day Special: Indian Biryani’s `Unity in Diversity’- 7 different types of Biryanis

On 26th January 1950, India pledged to be a ‘sovereign democratic republic’. Unity in diversity became one of India’s biggest challenges and here we are 68 years later trying every bit to uphold the motto.

Indian food has played its own sweet and savory role in doing so too. With 29 states and seven union territories, India is a foodie’s dream come true!

Biryani is one such dish, that in our view has truly stood the test of ‘Unity in diversity’. These different types of Biryanis from different states are sure to make you think so too.

1. Hyderabadi Biryani

The culinary treat was invented and mastered in the courts of Nizams. The Kitchens of Nizam saw the most wonderful confluence of Turkish, Persian and Afghani flavors and recipes. Hyderabadi Biryani comes in the class of Pakki Biryani. The meat that is marinated in eclectic spices overnight then soaked in yogurt before cooking. The gosht (meat) is then meticulously sandwiched between layers of long-grained basmati rice (and cooked on dum, after sealing the handi (vessel) with dough). Hyderabadi Biryani goes best with the spicy and decadent curries.

2. Lucknowi Biryani

Lucknowi Biryani originated in the Princely courts of Awadh and is often dubbed as a Pulav than a Biryani by food experts. But that is not going to stop us from acknowledging this culinary gem in all its glory. It tends to be meatier and less spicy. As you go down south, the spices start taking a character of their own in the rice delicacy. The rice is cooked separately in spices and marinated chicken is added later.

3. Kolkata Biryani

Kolkata Biryani is a sub-variant of Lucknavi Biryani. It was invented in the kitchens of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah soon after he was exiled from his Princely courts in Awadh. The addition of potato along with the meat in the rice is a specialty. According to popular legends, the genius idea of adding potato to the Biryani was a brainchild of a Khansama of Wajid Ali Shah.

In the times of this fiscal crisis, his Khansamas came up with the brilliant idea of adding potatoes to the meaty delicacy. The proportion of the meat came down too, owing to the scarcity of the money. What was not compromised was the absolute lip-smacking flavors of the rich delicacy? Another popular legend states that the addition of potatoes to Biryani wasn’t triggered due to the scarcity of money, but because potato was an exotic vegetable of the time. Whatever may be the reason, here we are 200 years later, and absolutely in love with the combination

4. Thalassery Biryani

Kozhikode biryani is perfect for all the spice-junkies out there. What makes this Biryani special is the use of Khyma or Jeerakasala rice. This variant of rice is fragrant, thinner and shorter and is cultivated in Kerala. The rich Biryani is cooked in oodles of ghee and a heart-warming mix of spices and onion to make it a lip-smacking treat.

5. Bhatkali Biryani

Hailing from the coastal region of Karnataka, the rich Biryani is made with juicy chunks of meat, the fiery mix of masalas and the sweet taste of sauteed onions. Bhatkali Biryani is in fact loaded with the generous amount of onions, tomatoes, and spices.

6. Sindhi Biryani

Packed with roasted spices, fresh mint, finely slit chilies, tomatoes and topped with dry fruits, nuts, and onion rings, Sindhi Biryani is all about flavors. Like all Pakki biryani preparations, the cooked meat and meat curry are prepared separately and added to the rice afterward. Sindhi Biryani goes best with accompaniments like raita.

7. Ambur Biryani

Ambur is a small town in the Arcot region. Once a region ruled by Nawabs of Arcot in Tamil Nadu, the courts of Ambur were known for their culinary masterpieces. One such masterpiece you should all try once is the Ambur Biryani. It is known for its biryani with unique meaty flavors made with dried chili paste and whole spices. The locals generally eat Brinjal Masala as an accompaniment. This dum mutton biryani includes curd and mint leaves, making it almost similar to its counterpart- Lucknawi Biryani.


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