An invitation from Smoked House Biryani ,Noida, got me into thinking mode. I am an avid biryani fan and having spent half of my life in Allahabad, where, every weekend we ended up eating our meal in Lucknow, whether it was idris ki biryani or wahid khan ki biryani.
Well, so this time I decided to do a bit of research on biryani and let me tell you that it has actually changed my view on biryani. I have been planning to hunt for various biryanis that we get in Delhi. While I was compiling a list of all the available places where you can get biryani from street vendors to five star restaurants, I realized that most of the places in Delhi do not serve the kind of biryani we used to get, back in Lucknow. Most of them are actually kind of pulao, where meat and rice are cooked separately and then mixed and put on fire and we call it dum – biryani, which in my opinion is not true. These can’t be considered as biryani. They fall into the category of pulao where instead of vegetables they have added meat/chicken to be able distinguish it from veg pulao.
History of biryani is still not clear in india and we have numerous theories. Pulao originated from pilaf which is originally a Turkish dish and had been brought in India by Muslim invaders who came to India during different times. If we look at current Irani dish pilaf,i.e cooked rice and meat – put on pot for some time and then garnished before served. This is also popular in Afghanistan, which is believed to be carried by Muslim invaders, who couldn’t reach central India and for them Afghanistan (now) was part of hind(then). Another story about biryani, states that it was invented by Muslim invaders as cooking meat and rice and other stuff was like pot meal that was convenient too.
Pratibha Kiran’s book “BIRYANI” is considered to be a small encyclopedia on biryani in India and it states that real biryanis are actually south indian biryani and every region has a unique and different way of preparing Biryani. In Hyderabad there are two types of biryani – Kacchi biryani, pretty famous, is believed to be the original form of biryani where rice and raw meat are cooked together. Another one is called pakki biryani where rice and meat is cooked separately and then layered together and then garnished with sautéed vegetables and kewara or rose water added, to give it distinct flavor.
According to a popular belief, Muslim cooks, during Mughal region used to cook food for kayashta and they never hesitated to eat non-vegetarian food cooked by muslim cooks/khansamas. They inspired their biryani from khichdi which is very popular in eastern part of UP(earlier Bengal state). They used meat instead of vegetables and called it biryani to differentiate from veg pulao. Well, and hence rice cooked with or without vegetables, became pulao and with non-vegetarian became biryani.
According to an article written by Vir Sanghvi in 2009 it states that there is no such thing as pakka biryani. Muslims of Gujrat(bohari and others) and mumbai call it pulao which is nothing but spicy pulao. There is no clear indication on how and when biryani was invented and how did it get its name. The more I read, more theory and history unveils and if I write about it, there will be no ending! Rock Mohan the famous cook book author and afood lover commented when I posted this question on Delhi Gourmet Club (the famous group on fb) – he said” it’s never ending debate between pulao and biryani. “
I am also sharing some of the article which I found on internet, couple of them is actually written by Vir Sangvi for your reference.
Some article which is on biryani
Smoked House Biryani , Sector 18, Noida
It’s essentially a place which not only serves hydrabadi biryani but they also serve some of the famous hyderabadi dishes there. Chicken 65 was excellent – Delicious, deep fried, spicy and flavors of chilly and curry leaves, makes it all the more excellent! . Great dish indeed though I prefer it with bone. They also have chicken lollypop which is similar to this and hence they kept chicken 65 as boneless. Apollo fish had everything right except for the fish which was Basa. I suggested to change the fish and this dish will do wonders! Dum ka murg and Andhra mutton curry was perfect and we loved it.
Now – the Biryani – unfortunately it didn’t work for me. It was too smoky for me. It had more flavor of sautéed onion than mutton/chicken and hence I found it too sweet for my taste. But I am sure they will make it perfect soon, as they are just 6 weeks old. I chatted with their chef, who is from Hyderabad and we discussed on biryani. In desserts, kaddu ka kheer was outstanding. Overall a great promising place which is run by young passionate people and I am sure they will make it right as their first restaurant Tab is already doing well in Noida and Gurgaon.
Smoked House Biryani Sector 18, Delhi NCR,
G 35, 1st & 2nd Floor, Sector 18, Noida