One of the most popular foods in India may be biryani. Despite having its origins in a Mughal kitchen, the dish now has a significant influence on India’s culinary tradition. If you look around, you will discover each location has its own special biryani. This biryani has been modified to suit the regional tastes. Hyderabadi biryani, Lucknowi biryani, Muradabadi biryani, and more varieties are available. Kolkata biryani is a popular variation of the biryani dish.
As varied and rich in flavor as Kolkata’s history is its cuisine. Since the beginning of time, West Bengal has been influenced by various places and cultures. Biryani is undoubtedly one such ideal example of how this has directly influenced the state’s eating habits, particularly in Kolkata. We frequently forget to emphasize how great the biryani is in the midst of all the discussions about mishit, mach, and bhaat. This raises the question, what distinguishes Kolkata biryani from other dishes? The key is in the aloo.
Story Behind Adding Potato (Aloo) in Kolkata Biryani
Along with rice and meat, Kolkata biryani packets also contain one large, soft, and flavorful aloo and occasionally an egg. Kolkata biryani is a popular Lucknowi/Awadhi sub-variant of biryani, according to food experts.
Nawab Wajid Ali Shah, the King of Awadh, is said to have been exiled to Kolkata. The British overthrew him in 1856 from his capital city of Luckow. He traveled to Kolkata with his team of cooks to maintain his culinary standards at the time. That was known as khansamas and bawarchis. But finding the money for his regular extravagance became a problem.
Kolkata Biryani more Delicious than that of Lucknow
According to food historian Kalyan Karmakar’s book “The Traveling Belly,” “Money was hard to come by. The spices were reduced, Kolkata Biryani becomes more delicious than that in Lucknow. Additionally, the proportion of meat decreased to the rice. The kitchen staff had an epiphany. They opted to add potatoes to the rice to provide contrast. Because the meat was pricey.” Some historians claimed that potato was once thought of as an alien vegetable. The Portuguese brought the potato to India in the early 17th century. Regardless of the past, we adore this indulgent addition to the biryani!
Manzilat Fatima, the great-great-granddaughter of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah, said the unique selling point of Kolkata biryani. The biryani is prepared in mustard oil, which makes the biggest difference in terms of scent and flavor. And unlike other biryani varieties, that are eaten with raita and salan. This dish provides a complete meal and does not require such a side. However, many individuals adore chaap (slow-cooked beef in a hot gravy) when served with Kolkata biryani.
That seems really intriguing, doesn’t it? Given the majesty of the dish, we have put together a list of famous locations in Kolkata that you just must visit if you want to taste Kolkata biryani in all its authentic glory.
5 Places if You Want to Know History of Kolkata Biryani
Royal Indian Hotel, Burra Bazar
Ahmed Hussain founded the Royal Indian Hotel, widely regarded as the city’s first restaurant serving biryani, in 1905. It is located amid Burra Bazar’s bustling streets and maintains its old-school aesthetic. This restaurant serves biryani prepared in the Awadhi manner without potatoes. To appease the tastes of the people, the restaurant began providing Kolkata biryani over time.
Shiraz Golden Restaurant, Park Street
The people of Kolkata hold a special place in their hearts for this restaurant, one of the city’s oldest biryani eateries. They add mutton chaap and pasinda with the biryani served in Kolkata.
Even by itself, this location is historic. Why, you inquire? Let us inform you that Manzilat Fatima, the great-granddaughter of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah, is in charge of this establishment. Chef Manzilat claims that she still cooks the traditional Nawabi biryani according to the royal kitchen’s recipe.
Aminia, New Market
Authority founded Aminia in 1929. Currently Aminia has locations throughout the city as well as Delhi – in CR Park. Here, the biryani is fragrant and light, with side dishes of aloo and succulent beef. Aminia is a well-liked option for everyone due to the biryani’s well-balanced spices.
ZamZam, Park Circus
ZamZam is another choice for those who prefer their biryani to be flavorful and light. We assure you that the mutton’s flawless combination of flavor and texture is the highlight.
You must be hankering for some biryani after all these debates about it. In order to fully experience the flavors of Kolkata biryani, we advise you to try out these restaurants on your next trip to Kolkata.