BIRYAAAAAAANI! This Persian word which has been defined as an Indian dish made with highly seasoned rice and meat, fish or vegetables, can trigger drooling in most of my friends. But to me, this word strikes terror! It is not that I hate the dish or resent the fact that it is probably the workhorse of the Mughlai kitchen. It’s just that be it an office party, a church fellowship gathering, a school picnic or the building Christmas party, there seems to be one and only one choice of food – and that is the biryani!
Bordering boredom, my foodie tentacles have always sighed at the sight of the standard biryani and the post meal comments that go with it. Haven’t you heard the “its just too spicy – burning my tongue” comment, or the “I can’t seem to find any meat in this serving” comment? Ridiculously monotonous, I have loathed the sight of the biryani, and year by year it seemed to have gotten worse.
Well, that’s what I thought. And then came along Charcoal Biryani. Now, don’t ask me how I got dragged into visiting a place that specializes in biryani, when I am the typical non-believer. But it so happened that my husband turned out to be the culprit who was excited about trying a new eatery, and he narrowed down to this place. We arrived at lunch time to this self-service eatery, placed our order, and then waited. After a brief waiting period, here is what it looked like.
First up was the Tandoori Chicken biryani. The whiff of freshly smoked tandoori emanating from this box made this my favourite of them all. Juicy chunks of chicken, mingling with fresh basmati rice, not very spicy, but classically tandoori is what makes this biryani stand up from the rest. I’ve had tandoori biryanis several times, but none can compare to this one!
Next came the Afghani Chicken Tikka Biryani. This boasts of an earthy taste with a strong base possibly of pepper and turmeric, giving it an unsophisticated and simple profile very much for the delicate palate.
The Diliwala Butter Chicken Biryani seemed like the classic butter chicken pieces in rice, a tad little more spicier than the conventional makhanwala, but nonetheless a delight. I was almost tempted to order for a naan to go along this biryani…lol!
The Awadhi chicken biryani showcases Bhojpuri cuisine at its best. The spicy-sweet aromatic flavour of cardamom with the pungent honey flavour of saffron give it a unique aura, distinguishing it from the other biryanis I tried.
After four small biryanis we still had place for some more food, and ordered the Chicken Kalmi Tangdi Kebab, which was a huge juicy leg piece, sporting a whiff of cashew and mint. The flavour was outstanding, and we could have gone on for more had we not stuffed ourselves already. The Paneer starter was okay, average in taste.
So, at the end of my meal, I enjoyed the strawberry souffle the most for desert and I must relent to the fact that I could have been misled by the substandard biryanis I was exposed to all this time, into thinking that biryanis are boring.
Thanks to Charcoal Biryani, this has opened a whole new dimension to what a real biryani actually is!