The Story of Biryani | Ep14 | History & Myth

First episode of the 2nd Season delves into a foody story about Biryani. 

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There are countless types of Biryani, each pertaining to the regional tastes.

Over here, I will talk about only few of those variations, the more famous ones.

Calcutta Biryani

  • Bengal got its Biryani in 1856, when the Nawab of Awadh, Wajid Ali Shah was exiled from Lucknow. The Nawab brought his chef and his royal recipes of biryani along with him, in the suburbs of Metiabruz, part of present day Kolkata. As the people were poor and could not afford to pay for the increasing prices of meat, the element of potato and boiled egg was added to it, which went on to become the signature style of the dish. A simpler variation of the biryani, Calcutta biryani is light and mild regarding spices. Due to a unique combination of spices used in the marinade, the biryani has a unique taste of its own compared to the other styles. It is further seasoned with rose water and saffron to add flavour and colour.

Lucknowi Biryani

  • In terms of taste Lucknowi Biryani as royal as they go. It has a mild flavour and is lighter on the stomach. Very similar to the Calcutta Biryani but without the potatoes. It uses less spices but makes up for it with its aroma and rich flavours.

Hyderabadi Pakki Biryani

  • This type of biryani was initially conceived as a dish under Asaf Jaha I, the appointed Governor of Deccan by Aurangzeb. The usual components of the dish are rice, meat and spices. The Hyderabadi Biryani is rendered spicy than any other form of Biryani.

Mughlai Biryani

  • Born out of the kitchens of the Mughals, this came into India when the Mughals first started ruling the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal Empire thoroughly spread across the entire country and taught all of their cuisine and various dishes, out of which biryani was one. This style of Biryani can be commonly seen in Delhi.

Sindhi Biryani

  • This type of biryani is from the province of Sindh in Pakistan, where I lived for just over a decade, it is a very famous style of biryani in Pakistan specially in Karachi, where a very famous outlet called Student’s Biryani sells it customers with special discounts for students hence the name. I dined there many a times.

Truly exotic in taste, this biryani is a treasure of sorts for its aromatic spices and flavour. The constituents of the dish are mainly rice, meat, vegetables and spices. In fact, the Sindhi Biryani has ended up to become a frequent meal on the international flights through Pakistan as well.

Bhatkali Biryani

  • Originating from the coastal town of Bhatkal, Karnataka, it has since its invention been an important part of the Navayathi cuisine. Although this preparation has been drawn from the Middle-East, it has evolved to become one of its kind. Here, the meat instead of a curd based marinade is marinated in a green chilli and onion masala mixture, along with which the rice is cooked. Once the biryani is made, it is topped off with mashed onions, garlic, spices, chillies, curry leaves which are what adds to its uniqueness. Furthermore, no oil or ghee-based additives are used in the preparation of this dish. The biryani is white with laces of orange from the masala.

Bombay/Mumbai Biryani

  • The Bombay Biryani is derived from the Irani style of Biryani. It is accompanied with a side of meat gravy. The Biryani in question is sweeter and contains more oil and fried onions than the other varieties. The base is similar to Bhatkali Biryani, while it also draws influences from Mangalore and Gujarat.

Memoni Biryani

  • This type is from the Memons of the Gujarat and Sindh region of India and Pakistan, it is known to be extremely spicy. How it differs in the recipe than the Sindhi Biryani is that it uses fewer tomatoes in the preparation. It also uses fewer elements of food colouring as opposed to other styles, drawing the real colours from the elements of the dish.

Sri Lankan Biryani

  • As Sri Lanka has a lot of Tamil population, a majority of their cuisines have also followed their way into the country and so has the Tamil Biryani. The first shop to sell biryani was known as Buhari’s which is how the Biryani is now known in Sri Lanka as Buryani. The Buryani any day is much spicier than any Indian variety.

Middle Eastern Biryani

  • There are lots of similarities in the cuisine palate of India and Middle East. Hence Biryani and Kebabs are a usual part of the staple diet in both of the regions. It is popular in Iraq, Bahrain and other Middle Eastern nations. Their Biryani differs from the Indian version as they use more saffron in quantity than the Indian kind.


  • This version of Biryani gathered immense popularity during the time of Safavid dynasty which was one of the most significant ruling dynasties of Iran from 1501 to 1736. The dish involved cooking of meat with various spices along with pomegranate, prunes and raisins which gave it a sweet-like taste, in an oven and then served with steamed rice.

Dan Pauk

  • This type of biryani from Burma has its name derived from the Persian dum pukht. It is a Burmese alternative to Indian Biryani and is very similar in taste.

Afghani Biryani

  • Afghanistan has its own variant of biryani. The Biryani there has a stronger use of saffron for colour and highly employs the use of dry fruits in the preparation.