10 Glorious Versions Of The Biryani And Where To Find Them In Bangalore
There are very few dishes in this world that can claim to balance flavours, indulgence, and deliciousness as well as a good biryani can. In fact, when we ran an Instagram poll asking our followers to vote their biryanis in Bangalore, most of our favourites made that made to this list also made to the voters top choice as well. And while we readily acknowledge that are several versions and endless favourites among biryani lovers, we plate up our pick of the best regional biryanis in Bangalore.
The chilli-heavy Andhra Biryani is more of a Bangalore invention rather than an Andhra contribution, experts will say. But who cares about geography when the dish is so delicious. In restaurants like Nagarjuna, you can settle in for mounds of fragrant biryani that’s studded with tender chunks of meat and glistening chillies that add a fair bit of punch to your meal. We also love the Bheema’s version because the long-grained is generously spiced and meat has a melt-in-the-mouth-consistency.
It may have originated in Maratha land but the Donne Biryani found itself loved and cherished in namma Bengaluru. Cooked over coal and ladled into cups made from areca nut palm leaves (donne), the biryani, mostly found in military hotels, is made from short-grained rice that sees a generous showering of coriander, mint, and other spices. If you are looking for an unforgettable plate of donne biryani, in the city, head straight to Shivaji Military Hotel. At this iconic eatery, you can pair your biryani with other meaty treats like mutton chops, liver, and chicken dry. If you want a slightly upmarket version, hit up The Permit Room, for their divine version.
A tiny town wedged in between Bangalore and Chennai, Ambur’s claim to fame has always been its biryani and its leather products. Having first been cooked in the royal kitchens of the Nawabs of Arcot, the popularity of the biryani has only grown through the years. Many say that it is the unique style in which it is made (the meat and the rice are first cooked separately and then they are brought together in a sealed, ‘dum’ vessel) that infuses the dish with deliciousness. If you can’t be bothered to drive down to Ambur, just join the crowds at Koramangala’s Ambur Biryani Point for a tasting.
In the 17th century, Nawab Wajid Ali Shah found himself banished from the glamorous courts of Lucknow. He was packed off to Calcutta where he arrived a pauper. When biryani cravings came calling, the impoverished Nawab started adding an egg and a potato to make up for the meat he couldn’t afford to buy. It is this version that went on to be embraced by the people of Calcutta and, today, the traditional version of the biryani comes with a piece of meat, one aloo, and an egg. In Bangalore, you can order up plates of authentic Calcutta-style biryani at a no-frills joint called, well, Kolkata Biryani.
The Nawayath people, who call Uttara Kannada home, take immense pride in the culinary traditions that they have crafted over time. At the cornerstone of their cuisine is the Bhatkali Biryani that has captured the affection of biryani lovers from all over. What sets this style apart is the onion and tomato gravy that is first made using a range of spices. Once this gravy is ready, the meat is then added in and layers of rice are then heaped on. While Bhatkali biryani is not found easily in Bangalore, the Alibaba Cafe and Restaurant, in Frazer Town, has been dishing it out for long.
Lightly spiced and still brimming over with flavour, the Hyderabadi Biryani ranks high on the popularity charts. The meat and rice are slow-cooked and are sprinkled with spices, saffron and fried onions. There are plenty of restaurants in Bangalore that serve up the Hyderabadi Biryani but it is Meghana Foods that rakes in all the votes. Especially their Boneless Chicken Biryani!
Meat that falls off the bone, the rice slightly greased with the fat from the protein and a subtle hint of spices are what makes the Muslim Biryani in Bangalore so irresistible. You’ll find it in small stalls and at fancy restaurants, all over the city, but we suggest you try the one from Kale Pehelwan Ki Gardi in busy Shivajinagar. Don’t forget to order plates of their kababs or their shammi to better your meal. Sharief Bhai in Koramangala also dishes out a Bangalore-style Ghost Biryani that comes with melt-in-your-mouth meat!
One of the earliest and most enduring version of the biryani, the Lucknowi-style is a rich dish that is befitting of the royal kitchens it was first developed in. Chunks of meat and rice are first cooked partially before going into a sealed pot to be slow-cooked. The fragrant Lucknowi biryani that is served at Lucknowiz, in Koramangala, remains one of the city’s favourite.
This peppery version originates in rural Karnataka and is also known as Gowdru biryani. Found in many military hotels and local eateries around town, the spice quotient is mild and often features nati koli (country chicken). You can try it at the 60-year Ranganna Military Hotel that serves mutton and chicken versions. To make your meal more special, you can pair your plate of biryani with their robustly-flavoured Kheema Ball Curry and Thale Mamsa (goat head meat).
Part of the celebrated Malabari cuisine, the Thalassery biryani is made from the short-grained Khaima rice that’s distinct to the region. Low on chilli, the biryani is however packed with flavours from the use of cloves, cinnamon, and onions. And is enriched further with dollops of ghee and generous sprinklings of cashew nuts and raisins. For an authentic plate of Thalassery’s finest, you can drop by Thalassery Restaurant in Kammanahalli.