The Beauty of Biryani

Judging from my burgeoning belly, it is not hard to tell that food has a huge role to play in my life. Luckily for my gastric cravings, Bangalore has no shortage of phenomenal as well as affordable food options. That being said, there are certain foods that are far more delectable than others. One such item is the biryani. To be overly simplistic, biryani is a South Asian delicacy consisting of rice, meat and spices. However, Biryani is anything but simple. It is complex, nuanced and spiced to perfection. Rice that has been carefully boiled in a multitude of spices is layered upon marinated meat and is left to cook for hours. The flavor of each individual element blends into the next, but at the same time retains some of its uniqueness – this results in a true savory delight.


40917889_644838432576285_3486473774503559168_nDelicious Biryani in Hyderabad


Another incredible facet of biryani is that there are a number of varieties present across India and in the South especially.  Each state, sometimes even regions within specific states, would have their own characteristic biryanis. Examples of these included Karnataka’s Donne Biryani, which has shorter grains of rice and was served in a palm leaf. You also have Thalassery Biryani from Kerala which had a bit of a sweet tinge thanks to the inclusion of dried fruits. Then there is the ever famous Hyderabadi Dum Biryani in the rice is layered over the meat in a large dough sealed vessel. Despite its omnipresent nature across the subcontinent Biryani is not an easy thing to prepare. From maintaining a perfect ratio between the dozens of masalas and spices that go into it, to ensuring the meat is so tender that it just melts in your mouth, biryani is not an easy dish to make. As someone who has failed at making even a semi-decent biryani, I can attest to the technicalities involved in creating this dish. This difficulty in creating the perfect biryani translates into a number of restaurants serving subpar iterations of the dish. Thus, needless to say, in my quest for the perfect biryani, I did experience my fair share of disappointing ones.


40769081_398339847365150_5266640261592645632_n (1)Stuffing my face with Biryani


Nonetheless, my quest for the perfect biryani did not end in vain. Upon the suggestion of a co-worker, I ended up in this hole-in-the-wall restaurant called Khazana Food Paradise. With only a few items available on their already limited menu I decided to order a beef biryani. When the food arrived absent of any cutlery, I had to dig right in with my fingers to enjoy the authentic, biryani eating experience. My mouth burst with the flavors of spices and the ghee coated rice. But what really did it for me was the sheer tenderness of the large chunks of beef. Never before had I had such succulent meat that would just tear apart in my fingers. Needless to say, I demolished the meal in a matter of minutes despite my brain urging me to savor the tastes. After getting a hint of this exquisite blend of flavors,  I made it a weekly ritual to come back. It’s fitting to note that in Hindi khazana literally translates to treasure and this biryani was nothing short of that.


Screen Shot 2018-09-07 at 6.18.43 AMThe incredible beef biryani at Khazana


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About siddharthm2412

Penn Class of 2019 - majoring in History. Intern at Shahi Exports, Bangalore, in Summer 2018