Biryani is a premium rice dish cooked with spiced meats, vegetables, yogurt and sometimes nuts or boiled eggs.
Biryani is a classic of Mughlai cuisine, which developed when royal Persian cooks travelled south and incorporated Indian spices into their dishes more than 500 years ago.
Other foods like korma and naan bread come from this tradition.
More background on biryani from foodster.
What to try
In India the two key biryani camps are Lucknow in the north and Hyderabad in the south. The main difference is that with Hyderabad biryani the meat and rice are raw when layered together in the dish. The biryani is then sealed with a dough top to cook (this process is called ‘dum biryani’). It is more spice-laden than a Lucknow biryani. With a Lucknow biryani cooked meat is layered with rice cooked in meat stock; the spice is also more subtle and the delicate yogurt flavour is more prominent.
Where to eat
Paradise and Bawarchi do Hyderabad-style biryani in mutton/lamb, chicken or vegetable. Some come with whole boiled eggs. There is a new restaurant due to open in Sandringham specialising in Lucknow biryanis.
Bawarchi – 519 and 523 Sandringham Road – this won the top meat biryani award from the 2015 Best Biryani Competition for its chicken biryani. There are two shops two doors apart from one another; one for eat-in and one for takeaway. Hyderabad style biryani for around $10.
Paradise – 591 and 595 Sandringham Road – Hyderabad style biryani for around $12.
SOON TO OPEN… Jannat – 586 Sandringham Road – poster saying it will specialise in Lucknow-style biryani (on the former site of Top in Town, which was also a ‘biryani house’)