Dhaka’s Biryani – A Taste of Aristocracy

Sometimes it’s greasy and sometimes it’s dry. But it’s always spicy. It’s a dish full of long-grain rice that will not stick together and holds a succulent piece of meat inside it. It’s pleasantly aromatic, but not too sharp. The lovely aroma of spice and the delightful sight of the dish bring water to your mouth. And when you taste it, the subtle flavor and taste of the spices mildly and pleasantly come through. It’s well-cooked, flavorsome, succulent and delicious. And once you start eating, you will end up cleaning your plate down to the last grain of rice.

That is a plate of delicious Biryani placed in front of you. Biryani is perhaps the most popular rice based dish in the world that is available in many forms. Though, this dish is known as a traditional famous Indian cuisine to the world, Biryani from Dhaka means something very special to the food lovers. Traditional Indian Biryani has a number of variants like Hyderabadi Biryani, Afghani Biryani, Sindhi Biryani, Lucknowi Biryani etc. which clearly represents the different preparation for different states of India. But Biryani from Dhaka has mostly two variations, Kachhi Biryani and Chicken Biryani. Kachhi Biryani is cooked with mutton (and rarely with beef) while Chicken Biryani has chicken as its meat ingredient. In the Indian preparation, the long grain Bashmati rice is used for Biryani. But most recipes of Biryani from Dhaka use the Bangladeshi ‘Kali-Jira’ rice, very fine polao rice which is produced only in the northern districts like Dinajpur.

Biryani is derived from a Persian word ‘beryan’ which means ‘fried’ or ‘roasted’. It is believed that Biryani was brought to the Indian subcontinent by the Muslim travelers and merchants from Arab. However, there is also another saying regarding the origin of Biryani. In the war time during the Mughal period, the soldiers were provided one item meal. Rice and meat were cooked together and served. Later, such recipe was introduced more formally in the royal dining and eventually become immensely popular throughout the rice-eater community in Indian subcontinent.

There are numerous fast food restaurants throughout the city of Dhaka these days and the number is just growing up. Even voot mod free premium apk international fast food chains like KFC and Pizza Hut has a number of their outlets at different city points. Despite the dominance of fast food, particularly with the young generation, Biryani still has its very special place in the heart of the citizens. “Almost each Friday morning we have a special cricket match with our college mates and the losing team has to treat the winners a special meal with Biryani. We visit different restaurants each week to taste different Biryani. But we just never get enough of it!” said by Sabbir Iqbal, a 29 year old executive who is working with Banglalink.

Biryani is so popular at this part of the world that wedding or any other ceremonies will almost certainly have Biryani in its menu. “I got married almost 34 years back. By that time, Dhaka was not today’s Dhaka. Things have changed so much since then. But few things do remain same as it was decades before. Menu of my wedding receptions had Biryani then and it still has today. My younger daughter is about to get married in next January and surely Biryani is going to be served as main course. We ‘Dhakaiya’ (residents of old Dhaka who lives there for many years) people cannot think of our any celebrations without dishes full of delicious Biryani,” proudly said by Fazley Noman, a 60 year old retired person who has been living in the Rankin Street, Wari ever since he was born.

Although, Biryani is counted as the heritage food of old Dhaka, there are a number of food shops around the new city as well which serve fine quality of Biryani. “We like fast food menus like pizza, pasta or burgers while we hang out with friends but whenever there is any special occasion to celebrate like birthday or something, Biryani from Malancha or Khushbu restaurant is our first preference,” this is the statement of Nusrat Khandker, a 21 year old student from University of Dhaka. Dhaka’s Biryani is not only available in Dhaka. It has spread through hundreds of sub continental restaurants in many big cities of the world. Nishat Afza, a 34 year old NRB living in London and currently visiting her homeland mentioned, “Once in a while, we go out for a meal and often we ended up visiting the famous Dhaka Biryani House located at Mile End Road to get a taste from Bangladesh.”

 

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