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By Parul Shirazi

Biryani is always lamb {mainly goat}; any other meat makes a ‘pulao’! With that clear, hop on the biryani brigade and find the biryani you crave at a place closest to you! As much as Awadh would like the credit for developing the traditional meat and rice prep, almost every regional cuisine has a biryani included in the menu and each one has a unique cooking method and selection of spices. Which is what truly defines the biryani of a particular region; all of these trace their roots back to the Indian frontier where meat was plentiful and the terrain allowed little to be farmed. The convenience of a one pot meal isn’t therefore the product of a newly busy culture; people have been busy for a very long time! Cooking methods vary too – Katchi Gosht ki Biryani is not ‘raw’ as the name suggests, it is layered with raw meat and rice cooked together in one ‘handi,’ while ‘Pukki’ Biryani is when cooked meat and rice are layered in a casserole. Katchi Biryani has a larger fan following as it has deeper aromas and flavours and a certain finesse that is required to cook together, two ingredients that have drastically different cooking times – rice and meat. Either way there is no denying the love Indians have for their Biryani!

Awadhi/Lucknawi Biryani

The most famous and possibly the most flavourful of all, the Awadhi Biryani is the best example of the supposed Persian import and the preferred Katchi Biryani, but the most common recipes call for partially cooked rice and meat, combined to form a casserole, thus making it more of a ‘Pukki Biryani’. And contrary to popular belief, the dish is made with long grain rice and not Basmati. It is the light and aromatic spice blend which differentiates this type. Lucknawi biryani is made with whole spices, fried onions and practically no pungency. It lets the flavours of fluffy rice and tender goat shine, making it a lighter, more gourmet experience that other spice laden variants from other parts of the country.


Gurgaon: Karim’s, Al Karam’s Kebab House, A 133, Supermart 1, DLF; Contact: 9818838230, 9810087760

Delhi: Al Kauser, Vasant Place Market, Near Malai Temple, Sector 6, RK Puram; Contact: 01133105430

Mid Level:

Gurgaon: The Lucknow Pavilion at Culture Galli,  {Kingdom of Dreams}

Kitchen of Awadh, DLF Phase 4, A 208, Supermart 1, DLF Phase 4; Contact: 9910035805

Delhi: Gulati, 6 Pandara Road Market; Contact: 01123388836

Kitchen of Awadh, Behind South Extension 1, Contact: 9717682671, 9717682672

Fine Dining:

Gurgaon: Diya, The Leela, Ambience Island, Sector 24; Contact: 01244771255

Delhi: Dumpukht, ITC Maurya, Diplomatic Enclave; Contact: 01126112233

Jamavar, The Leela; Chankayapuri; Contact: 01139331380

biryani_blues-31 Awadhi, Hyderabadi and 3 Other Types of Biryani, and Where Best to Eat Them

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Hyderabadi Biryani

As much of a meal fit for royalty as it’s north Indian cousin, the Awadhi Biryani, the Hyderabadi Biryani is distinctive because it is spicy! It is also more of a ‘katchi’ biryani, usually cooked with layers of raw rice and spice marinated goat meat, but variations include recipes where cooked ingredients are layered and slow cooked as well. Most of the traditional recipes call for fragrant Basmati Rice and a boiled egg for garnishing. As much as one is related to the other {the royal connect!}, they couldn’t be more different. Hyderabadi biryani is fiery and pungent albeit not very ‘ghee’ rich, as the masalas do all the talking!


Gurgaon: Biryani Blues, order online here.

Viva Hyderabad, find one closest you, here. 

Delhi: Deez Biryani, Shop 94, Flyover Market, Defence Colony; Contact: 01141551515

Mid Level: 

Gurgaon: Indian Grill Room, 315, Suncity Business Tower, DLF Golf Course Road; Contact: 9910498787

Coriander Leaf, Ground Floor, Vatika Triangle, MG Road; Contact: 8800226915, Ground Floor, Block 3, Vatika Business Park, Sohna Road; Contact: 01244044495

Delhi: The Golconda Bowl, 26, First Floor, Hauz Khas Village; Contact; 9311725581

Raas, 9A, 1st Floor, Hauz Khas Village; Contact: 9350948000

Fine Dining:

Where:  Seasonal Tastes, The Westin, Sector 29, Gurgaon {on occasion}; Contact: 01244977777

Dakshin, Sheraton New Delhi Hotel, District Centre, Saket {on occasion}; Contact: 01133106191

mumbaikar_biryani_gurgaon-35 Awadhi, Hyderabadi and 3 Other Types of Biryani, and Where Best to Eat Them

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Bombay Biryani

 The Bohri influence over the culinary scene in Bombay is very obvious when it comes to Bombay style biryani. Combine that with co-habiting around Persians/Iranians who settled here in the 1900’s and you will have rice and meat find a way into a vessel, be slow cooked and be absolutely delicious! Bohri style biryani has a unique spice blend.

Where: Mumbaikar Biryani, G 39, Baani Square Sector 50, Gurgaon; Contact: 01244221221

biryani_the_toddy_shop-33 Awadhi, Hyderabadi and 3 Other Types of Biryani, and Where Best to Eat Them

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Kerala Biryani

The Thallassery Biryani of Kerala makes it to the most famous list, but it isn’t the one you usually find at Malayalee food joints in the capital. Most are variations, but close enough. Made with a special rice called Khaima, which is long and thin but not Basmati, this biryani brings together the distinctive flavour of the rice fried gently in ghee, then ‘dum’ cooked with partially cooked meat and masala! 


Where: Hotel Malabar, A 1312, Main Bazar Road, Opposite Pocket A2, GD Colony, Mayur Vihar and 37 A, Sarai Juliena, New Friends Colony; Contact: 9911944926 {Mayur Vihar},9911678330 {New Friends Colony}

Delhi: Anna’s Hotel, Shop No 204, Mohan Singh Market, Sri Aurobindo Marg, Contact: 9811183348

Kerala Hotel, 211 A, Mohan Singh Market, INA Market, Aurobindo Marg; Contact: 9810549978

Mid Level:

Gurgaon: Kerala Boat Bar at Culture Gully {Kingdom of Dreams}

Delhi: The Toddy Shop, 1 A Hauz Khas Village; Contact: 9560256426

Mahabelly, MA-A05, Behind DLF Place Mall, Saket; Contact: 9911462757

Kerala Express, Lower Ground Floor, Epicuria Mall, Nehru Place; Contact: 01126213089 

Fine Dining:

Gurgaon: Zambar, 3rd Floor, Ambience Mall and 19, Ground Floor, Cyber Hub; Contact: 01133105932 {Ambience Mall} and 01133105871 {Cyber Hub}

Delhi: Dakshin,Sheraton, District Centre, Saket; Contact: 01133106191

The Spice Route, The Imperial, Janpath; Contact: 01141116605

kolkata_biryani_house-34 Awadhi, Hyderabadi and 3 Other Types of Biryani, and Where Best to Eat Them

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Calcutta Biryani

Since most meat {and at times vegetables} and rice dishes are categorized as Biryani, then one of the oldest mentions of a fish and rice prep dates back centuries and takes us to Calcutta! This fragrant fish pulao was cooked by layering rice with fried fish, covering the ‘handi’ or pot and slow cooking till the fish flavours seep into the rice and the rice gets cooked. Sounds like ‘dum’ cooking once again! The staple meat being fish, this region adapted India’s oldest one pot meal with two of their favourite ingredients, rice and fish. Calcutta biryani also has mutton and chicken variants, which happen to be two of the most common favourites when it comes to serving Calcutta Biryani in Delhi!


Gurgaon: Ki Hangla, DLF Phase 4, A 201 and B 101, Supermart 1, DLF Phase 4, Gurgaon; Contact: 9717955956

Delhi: Kolkata Biryani House, Shop no 49, Ground Floor, Market 1, Chittaranjan Park; Contact: 01141749595

Mid Level:

Gurgaon: Kolkata’s Royal Biryani House, Shop 171, The Sapphire Mall, Sector 49, Sohna Road; Contact: 01244049522,

Calcutta Biryani, Shop 30, Vardhman Star Citi Mall, Sector 7, Dwarka; Contact: 01165185131

Delhi: Kolkata Biryani House, Shop no 49, Ground Floor, Market 1, Chittaranjan Park; Contact: 01141749595

Fine Dining:

Delhi and Gurgaon: Oh! Calcutta, International Trade Towers, E Block; Contact: 01130402415 and 9, First Floor, Cyber Hub, DLF Cyber City, Gurgaon; Contact: 01244948512


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