Biryani

ORIGIN OF BIRYANI: HOW BIRYANI WAS BORN?

There’s nothing in the world that a plate of hot piping biryani can’t fix. But have you ever wondered where this miraculous dish came from?

Biryani, originally a west Asian recipe, travelled to India long ago.

The word “Biryani”is derived from the Persian word Biryān, meaning ‘Fried or Grilled’.

Biryani
Chicken Biryani

This is basically a very spicy dish that comes in layers of rice along with meat or fish or prawns chicken and vegetables. Hence the names Mutton Biryani,Chicken Biryani, Fish Biryani, Prawns Biryani and Veg Biryani.

The spices added to the meat are various in numbers, and quantity of spices varies with the tastes and style.

Long scented Basmati rice is specialty of Biryani and this particular rice is mainly used to prepare all types of Biryani, so much, that very often scented Basmati Rice is also called as “Biryani Rice”.

The washed Biryani rice is usually treated in Ghee, Oil, boiling water with spices, to give the rice a distinct taste.  Special care is taken while preparing, such that every grain of rice retains its shape after cooking.

According to a legend, the credit for the original Biryani, definitely in crude form, goes to King Temur.

King Temur
King Temur

He arrived on the frontiers of India in 1398. It is said that the initial form of Biryani was actually a soldier’s diet, cooked to feed an entire army. King Temur’s army invented the way to cook meals for their soldiers, which was later cultivated into the art of cuisine, and came to be known as Biryani.

The usual process of cooking Biryani for Temur’s army was as following:

1. Firstly, a large hot pit would be dug up.

2. Then, an earthen pot would be filled with rice, spices, mutton and whatever available.

3. These earthen pots would later be buried in hot pits.

4. When cooked and ready, these earthen pots would be dug up.

5. The cooked meal would then be distributed amongst the soldiers.

This is how, according to the legend, Biryani was cooked in crude but initial form.

Underground Cooking Technique
Underground Cooking Technique

That’s not all.

Then came another legend, who believed that the preparation of Biryani was the Mughal Queen Mumtaz Mahal’s idea. It is said that it was she who ordered the military mess to prepare a special, nutritious, meal for soldiers, which became popular as Biryani.

Mumtaz Mahal
Mumtaz Mahal

It is also said that Mumtaz Mahal, when once visited the army barracks, felt that her soldiers are not as healthy and smart as the Mughal soldiers are ought to be.

So, she ordered special diet for the army that contained rice, fried and cooked in Ghee, combined with Mutton, cooked with various aromatic spices and saffron.

Thus, Biryani was born in the Mughal Army kitchen.

Later on, Biryani was refined and experimented through the subsequent periods. The Nizams of Hyderabad and the Nawabs of Lucknow patronized Chefs, who contributed immensely to popularize Biryani all across the globe.

Arab Nomad's Cooking
Arab Nomad’s Cooking

According to another legend, Biryani style of cooking reached Malabar through some Arab travelers. It is said that the style of Biryani preparation has its basis in Arab Nomad’s style of cooking, who would bury an earthen pot full of rice, meat, spices into the pit and it would be dug up when fully prepared.

This was the history, now let’s get back to present and order some biryani right now to celebrate its existence, shall we?

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