Why one dish reigns supreme during Ramadan in India

Why one dish reigns supreme during Ramadan in India

Hala Parveez, who runs Hala’s Dastarkhaan, a catering company specializing in biryanis and kebabs in the United States, said the name could be traced to the original Persian. Birinj Biriyani, literally, fried rice. “The Indian subcontinent has taken this rich dish and created up to 500 variations cooked regionally,” she said.

The Mughals introduced cooking techniques and ingredients that have become an integral part of biryani, such as saffron, which gives biryani its distinctive yellow color and aroma, and yogurt, which helps tenderize the meat and add flavor. spicy. They also introduced the silly cooking technique, which consists of cooking rice and meat in a closed pan over low heat.

In the 18th century, it was in the royal kitchens of the kingdoms of Awadh and Hyderabad that methods of preparing biryani were perfected, with the rest of India adding varied ingredients according to the preferences of local palates and taste. availability.

Awadhi Biryani is one of the most popular biryani varieties in India. “In the midst of the terrible famine of 1784, Asaf ud Daulah, the mogul [a Muslim ruler, similar to a prince] of Awadh, announced the construction of Asafi Imambara [a Muslim shrine in Lucknow]with 20,000 workers receiving a hearty meal of rice to endure the long working hours,” Fatima said.

The nawab, who was supervising the construction site, could not resist asking for a portion of biryani when he smelled the aroma emanating from the large cauldron. “Biryani immediately acquired royal status. To suit the king’s table, vegetables were removed and the dish was cooked with more refinement. Hence the addition of cream and saffron,” he said. -she explains.

More like this:
– Idli: Steamed rice cakes with lentils
– Gujiya: A flaky pastry to celebrate Holi
– Shirini zereshk palau (sweet barberry pilaf)

Decades later, in 1856, when Wajid Ali Shah, the 10th Nawab of Awadh, arrived in Calcutta after the British had banished him from Lucknow, he asked the cooks at his Metiabruz palace to prepare the heartier biryani by adding potato, then a vegetable not very common in India.

Today, this dish is a year-round favorite in India. Online food delivery platform Swiggy reported that biryani was the company’s most ordered dish for the eighth year in a row, with Indians ordering 150 biryanis per minute on the site in 2023.

Parveez believes there is a reason for the popularity of biryani, especially during Ramadan. “It’s a time when you want to cook and serve something that is desirable, satisfying and appeals to all types of palates. No-fuss biryani is the most popular choice.”



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