The word "khana" in Indian Khana Made Easy means food. So come on, let's explore and cook some easy Indian food together including gluten-free and vegan dishes.


January 31, 2015

For the Love of Biryani

"Would you like to have a taste of  the BEST Hyderabadi Biryani?"

Balaji from Deccan Spice is serving up Hyderabadi Biryani at the 2012 Varli Food Festival
"Sure, I'll have a taste or two or maybe a plate full. Balaji watched me as I indulged in this savory rice dish filled with spices and saffron. There are different varieties of biryani. Hyderabadi biryani is the most famous and well known among all Indians. This dish originated during the Mughal empire and is made with Basmati rice, spices and goat. As it became popular, variations wee made with chicken instead of goat.

My first taste of Hyderabadi biryani was during one of my trips to Hyderabad, India in 2008. One of my cousins took my sister and I on this off the beaten path place near his apartment for dinner. The Megana Biryani Point wasn't much of a restaurant and more of a shack really, but one cannot mistake the aroma of roasted spices mixed with rice and meat for anything but biryani. We eagerly waited while this man behind a small kitchen was cooking our dinner. It's not Hyderabadi biryani if it's not spicy. 

When I got back to the States, I searched and searched for god spots to eat Hyderabadi biryani and finally found a few, which were comparable to Megana Biryani Point. Below are a few that I found to be good. 

1) Deccan Spice Restaurant - Jersey City, New Jersey - Really good! 

2) Paradise Biryani Pointe - Edison and Parsippany, New Jersey - This was the original restaurant that was famous for Hyderabadi Biryani in Hyderabad, India. 

Hyderabadi Biryani with chicken and egg
My only concern at Paradise was that it was either too mild or too spicy. It's not like in India where they only make it one way. Most places in the US, can make meals mild, medium or hot. However, I found that a couple of times, I found the biryani to be too spicy here. If you can take the heat, go for it. 

3) Rajni - Parsippany, New Jersey - The Hyderabadi biryani here is pretty good. Regardless of how spicy you order your dish, it is cooked well. The portion sizes are reasonable as well. The biryani is available with chicken, egg, goat, or plain here. Next time, I will share a picture. 

4) Urusi - The Taste of South India - Rockaway, New Jersey - A few weeks ago, I tasted a variety of biryani that I never came across before to this day. It's called Thalappakatti Biryani and it received its name from Mr. Nagasamy Naidu who owned the Anandha Vilas Briyani Hotel in Dindigul, Tamil Nadu (southern state in India). Mr. Naidu always wore a turban called Thalapa, which over the years became synonymous with his brand and cooking styles.

Thalappakatti Biryani from Urusi - The Taste of South India
This dish is prepared with Seeragasamba rice or short grain rice; spices, meat, and coconut milk. These ingredients are really what makes this dish unique and flavorful. I wasn't sure whether I would like it or not because it's not like any biryani I have ever tasted. However, I found it to be quite tasty and well seasoned. I also liked the presentation with the sprig of mint laid over the dish. It adds a nice refreshing flavor overall. 

For the love of biryani, I will continue my journey and seek out best and worst and give it to you as it is. Until next time, LIVE TO EAT not the other way around. Cheers! 

Quick Tips: If you like taking a ride on the wild side, then try making one of these biryani varieties.  You only need to go to your nearest Indian grocer like Patel Brothers or Subzi Mandi and look for brands such as Shah or MTR  biryani mix. 

Do you have a favorite restaurant that makes really good biryani? Share your experience with us. You can also connect with us on Facebook or Twitter

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