B...for the dish whose aroma and sight tickles the palates of every food loving Indian, the dish is a magical combination of spice, flavour and taste and simply capable of a sensual revelation!!
Yes B is for Biryani...once designated as the epitome of good food rather food of kings and Nawabs...and over the years it has reached slowly to middle class homes from fancy restaurants to street joints and has become the ubiquitous Biryani...simply the name causes a sensation of breathing in the aroma and i can invariably feel the hunger pangs !!
Well basically rice and meat cooked together, yes we do have a veggie version which does taste good...but i guess the delight lies in this aromatic combination of rice and meat..though i agree vegans might differ. Anyway coming from a rice loving part of India since childhood i had rices of all kind and yes difficult to believe but three meals a day constituted of rice and yet it still does in my husband,s hometown ( guess that's the magic of abnormally high triglycerides in my lipid profile report). And gradually in our part of the country we learnt that long grained rice ( basmati) was costlier and had this magical flavour and which most of the times normal middle class families cannot afford. Eating out was not much a concept in vogue in those days and normally we did with three time home cooked meals...first it was common Indian snacks and sweets available plenty in the market, gradually rolls, noodles , momos later burger pizzas...the fast food brigade made their entries and with it gradually the concept of eating out..and i guess first tryst with Biryani...
Spices sauteed in clarified butter and this heavenly combo of rice and meat cooked in each other,s juices in a sealed pot..in short is the mystery of Biryani...then comes Hyderabadi, Awadhi ,Pakistani and my favourite Kolkata Biryani. Nizami and Awadhi are often too rich in spices to be relished with the modern frail digestive system...but Kolkata adds a mildness or a fall from royalty just for the masses... a juicy combination of rice and meat and yes the USP..marinated potatoes with the dish...i heard when the Nawab fled from Lucknow with his chef to Kolkata..he used potatoes in lieu of meat in days of financial crisis...and yes potatoes cooked with mutton or chicken...dipped in rice and covered with fried onions...are a mini heaven in themselves and the boiled egg adds to the extra layer of fats you need to coat yourself with!!
Served with Raita ( yogurt flavoured with spices cucumber etc), mirchi ka salan ( in hyderabad) or some meat gravy the Biryani is unparalleled. No way humble or mild...rich, extravagant , sensual, hot all would fail to complement her and for Indian foodies B would always be exclusively for her!!