A melting pot of different flavours is a royal quench for watering mouth. It’s a dish which is an evergreen classic that does not need any introduction because India offers many cutlery patterns for this one dish called ‘Briyani’.
According to the popular belief, Briyani originated in India but this word is derived from Persian word Birian meaning ‘Fried before cooking’. According to few sources the Turk-Mongol conqueror, Timur brought this dish with him on the conquest of Delhi, Briyani was the food for his soldiers. A dish like Briyani is also mentioned in Tamil literature around 2nd CE as ‘Oon Soru’- a mixture of ghee, turmeric, pepper, bay leaf and meat with rice to feed warriors.
The famous legend that related to the origin of Briyani is with Mumtaz Mahal –the beautiful; wife of Emperor Shah Jahan. It is said one day she went in the Mughal Military camp and saw the soldier were weak and underfeed, so she ordered the cook to make an amalgamation of rice, meat and spice to feed them.
The most famous method for cooking Briyani is by ‘Dam pukth’ method-a slow pot shape oven where Briyani is left to cook slowly over hot charcoal which is also placed on the top of the pot to increase the heat. The pot is sealed with dough which allows the meat to tenderise into its own juice while flavouring the rice.
Traditionally the first rice used in Briyani was long grain rice. Later on, fragrant Basmati rice was used. In down south, Briyani is still cooked with local rice like Zeera Samba, Kaima, Kala Bhaat, etc. The basic Indian Briyani contains at least 15 different Spices.
Like India, Briyani also has diverse flavours and ways of cooking. Though the basic ingredients remain same, a ‘tadka’ of the local flavours is added to it. The most famous Briyanis are Kutchi, Mughlai, Hyderabadi, Calcutta, Dindigul of Tamil Nadu, Lucknowi, Arcot, Tahari, Beary, Bombay, Sindhi, etc.
This unique dish of India is a complex blend of flavours, spices and aroma. Its taste differs from region to region, yet it is the crown of the Non-Veg Indian cuisine.
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