The word Biriyani brings an inadvertent smile to most food lovers in India.
This delectable one pot meal with aromatic rice, meat and potato ( the famous Calcutta ~ Metiaburj biriyani) is certainly ubiquitous in every celebration here..
So when Rajorshi told me that there are hundreds of variants of our beloved Biriyani, the feeling was a combination of curiosity, skepticism and excitement.
The idea of cooking flavoured rice and meat/ vegetables together as an one pot meal probably existed in various parts of the world and in India. Afterall our Pulao , Tehri and the various South Indian rice dishes were always in existence.
The word Biriyani perhaps came to India from Central.Asia and Persia via the Mughals and then later received many make overs , for e.g
the Awadhi Biriyani, the Hyderabadi Biriyani etc
But so much for academic interest, which although fascinates me as does all things Heritage, I was very interested and totally ready to eat.
The idea of new tastes with different types of Biriyani , not so readily available in restaurants, excited me..
The Biriyani Cafe Weekend Pop Up offered a choice of two types of Biriyanis , two types of Chicken side dishes and a sweet ending with Phirni.
I had ordered the Ceylonese Prawn Biriyani and Lahori Chargha.
A bright lemon yellowed hued rice with prawns that are so soft that they melt in your mouth.
A slight tangy taste , light yet fragrantly spiced with cumin, turmeric, cardamom and saffron, this Biriyani left me licking my fingers.
I am told that this Biryani comes from an area in the vicinity of Anuradhapura in Srilanka which has a mixed population of Ceylonese and Tamil and has influences of the tastes of both ethnic groups.
And then there was the Lahori Chargha
Whole chicken pieces, soft, tender , diced and lightly roasted, the Chargha or chicken tasted deliciously light and left you feeling full but not heavy.This beautiful kebab like item has originated from Lahore street food. Whole chicken is steamed with spices and then roasted in oil. Very like Chicken Tandoori but a much lighter and healthier variant.
The Dhakai Burhani which was served complimentary definitely deserves special mention. Burhani is a curd sorbet and is savoured as an accompaniment to the Biriyani and functions as a neutraliser and digestive. But unlike the burhanis that I have had earlier , this Dhakai variant had a tangy, sweet taste and was delicious on its own.
The Phirni too was perfectly textured, soft and tender with a lovely consistency.
A wholesome meal indeed and a great way to experience some new tastes. One must also mention the wholesome quantities delivered. , certainly a cut above most home delivery food items
Biriyani Cafe has just begun its adventure.
Let us look forward to more variants and more new tastes from its kitchen.