Biryani: Its History & Variants

Biryani is a perfect mix of spices (chillies, mace, saffron, and cardamom etc), basmati rice, onions, lemon, meat (chicken, lamb or goat) etc. This dish is special as it is prepared in an intricate way. Meat is marinated for 10-12 hours and then it is soaked in yoghurt and sandwiched between rice and is cooked in a handi and is cooked on wood/charcoal. The perfectly cooked meat is irresistible and has good taste, fragrance.

Restaurants usually serve the dish with flavored yoghurt, salads and chilli sauce, thus making it a complete meal and a great value for money. For the vegans, there is a veg pulao version available which is loved by all.

Although it looks like the dish originated in India, but the fact is that it originated from very far away. Biriyani is derived from Persian word Birian, which means ‘fried before cooking’ and Birinj, which is a Persian word for rice. It is believed that biryani originated in West Asia.

It is believed that the Turk-Mongol conqueror, Timur, brought biryani to India in 1398. The dish, which is believed to be the war campaign diet of Timur’s army, an earthen pot which is full of rice, spices and any meats which were available would be buried in hot pit before being dug up and served to warriors.

According to another legend, the dish was brought to southern Malabar coast by Arab traders who visited there frequently. According to records of Tamil literature, a rice dish called Oon Soru. Oon Soru was prepared with rice, meat, ghee, coriander, pepper, turmeric and bay leaf. It was used to feed military warriors.

The most popular story of biryani traces its origin to Mumtaz Mahal, who was the beautiful queen of Shah Jahan and inspired Taj Mahal.

According to legend, Mumtaz once visited the barracks of army and found that the Mughal soldiers were weak and undernourished. She asked the chef to prepare a special dish that contained meat and rice, thus providing balanced nutrition to soldiers. The resulting dish was biryani. At that time, rice was fried in ghee, thus giving it a nutty flavour. Before cooking, meat, spices and saffron were added to it.

Biryani was also given promotion by the Nizams of Hyderabad and Lucknowi Nawabs. Throughout the world, their chefs were known for their signature dishes. These rulers had their own versions of biryani.

A perfect biryani contains a lot of ingredients. Biryani was traditionally prepared with dum pukht method(slow breathing oven). In this method, the ingredients are loaded in a pot and slow cooked on charcoal. The edges of pot are sealed around edges. This allows the steaming meat to tenderise and also flavours the rice.

Spices also play a major role in making good biryani. Some recipes use limited spices while others use more than 15 spices. The main ingredient is often meat or chicken. In some coastal varieties, crabs, prawns and fishes are also used. Some other commonly used ingredients include rose water, kewra and sweet edible ittar.

Biryani was traditionally prepared with long grain brown rice in the north. Today, it has been replaced by fragrant basmati rice. In the south, the biryanis are prepared with different kinds of rice like kaima, zeera samba, kaala bhaat and jeerakashala that give a distinct texture, taste and aroma to it.

There are 2 kinds of biryani, the kutchi biryani and pukki biryani. In kutchi biryani, the meat is mixed with raw rice in handi and cooked. If we consider pukki biryani, cooked meat and rice are layered in handi, thus giving it great flavours.

Some great variants of biryani include: –

  • Mughlai Biryani

The Mughal Emperors were fond of great dining and cooking was an art for them. Mughlai Biryani is a perfect dish that is prepared with delicious chunks of spiced meat that is kept in kewra scented rice. Due to its smell, you become instantly hungry.

  • Hyderabadi Biryani

This famous biryani came into being when Niza-Ul-Mulk was appointed by Emperor Aurangzeb as the ruler of Hyderabad. Almost 50 different versions were created by his chefs. These versions used quail, deer, shrimp, fish and hare meat. Most other biryanis are filled with flavoured meat. While, Hyderabadi biryani is filled with aromatic saffron.

  • Calcutta Biryani

The legendary gourmet Nawab Wajid Ali Shah tried to recreate his beloved dish in Calcutta. Due to budget constraints, the recipe was given a tweak by local cooks and they replaced meat with perfectly cooked potatoes. The dish, which has very low spices uses yogurt-based marinade which is cooked separately. Like most Bengali dishes, Calcutta biryani is sweet in taste.

  • Lucknowi Biryani

The dish, which is cooked in royal Awadhi style has softer textures and milder spices. The first step involves making yakhni from meat that is boiled slowly and is filled with spices for 2 hours or more. This makes the biryani more tender, moist and delicately flavored.

  • Tahari Biryani

Tahari biryani is usually cooked without meat. Rice is usually cooked with different vegetables in handi. Potatoes and carrots are the most used vegetables of India. According to legend, this biryani was created in Mysore when Tipu Sultan hired vegetarian Hindus as bookkeepers. Thus, a vegetarian version of this cult dish came into being. Tahari is also a very popular street food of Kashmir.

The Origin and Cooking Techniques of Awadhi Cuisine

The origin land for Awadhi Cuisine or Lucknowi Cuisine is the capital of Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow and its nearby places. In the early stages, the British termed Awadh as “oudh” which was derived from “Ayodhya”, a region in the state of Uttar Pradesh. This region was ruled by many rulers but the history was made during the reign of “Nawab of Awadh“. Nawab Asaf-Ud-Daula was the first known ruler of Lucknow who began to change the city into a city of culture and enhance its cuisine. During his time is when they had gastronome of cuisine and many cooks began to arrive. During those days the experience cooks who cooked food for big gatherings in large quantities called “Bawarchis” who were brilliant at what they do. At that time lots of competition has happened where cooks used to compete with each other to show their culinary skills by providing with a wide variety of food to please their Masters (Daroga-e-Bawarchikhana).

It takes an Awadhi chef a long time to properly understand how to correctly use spices, how to select, toast and blend the spices together to create a proper flavour. It is much harder than it sounds. There are easily fifty spices used regularly, but in total it’s more than 150. The most common are Hing, Liquorice, Black Peppercorn, clove, Caraway Seeds, Cumin, Coriander, Chilies, Fenugreek, cinnamon, saffron, green cardamom, and mace.

‘Dastarkhwan’ is where people sit around and enjoy the food prepared by the bawarchis. This is the place dining spread is laid ceremonially. It is said that the richness of Awadh cuisine not only lies in the variety but the type of ingredient used to make the dish.

Some of their authentic cooking techniques include:

  1. Baghar:

    Baghar is a method of tempering a dish with spices in hot oil or ghee when making any curry dish. Tempering is done before the curry is made or before any dal preparation with the help of a ladle at last to give a finishing taste.

  2. Dhungar/ Dhunger:

    A smoking procedure used to flavor meat dishes, dals, and rice. A live coal is placed in the center of a betel leaf or shallow onion peel and placed along with the other ingredients to smoke it.

  3. Dum Dena:

    Dum means breathe, the process is done by cooking in a sealed large pot, wherein a semi-cooked ingredient is placed in a vessel which is cooked over slow charcoal fire. One of the famous dish cooked by this process is Biryani or Dum Pukht Biryani.

  4. Galavat/ Galawat:

    The process of adding softening agents to meat in order to tenderize it. One such preparation is Galavati Kebab. Papain, Kalmi Shora are few softening agents which are used in this process.

  5. Ghee Durust Karna:

    This is the process of removing the raw flavor from the ghee or oil so that it does not overpower the flavor and aroma of the dish. The ghee is reduced after adding the kevra water and cardamom and then stored after straining it for further use.

  6. Loab:

    It is a term used to refer a final stage of cooking when the oil used in the cooking rises at the surface and floats on the top giving a finished appearance to the dish. Roganjosh is one such preparation in which oil floats at the top after the dish is done.

  7. Moin:

    The process of shortening a dough by kneading the flour with fat. This makes the final product crisp and flaky. This process is used to make parathas and pooris.

  8. Gile Hikmat:

    A Persian influenced method where the whole meat is stuffed with nuts and spices and wrapped using a banana leaf, covered with a clay and buried deep about 4-6 inches deep, a slow fire is then placed on top for cooking. It is cooked for about 6-7 hours.

  9. Ittr:

    Using perfume in many dishes is the key factor in Lucknowi cuisine, mainly they use perfume taken from the musk deer.

The Lucknow dastarkhwan would not be complete unless it had the following dishes:

  1. Qorma (braised meat in thick gravy)

  2. Salan (a gravy dish of meat or vegetable)

  3. Qeema (minced meat)

  4. Kababs (pounded meat fried or roasted over a charcoal fire)

  5. Bhujia (cooked vegetables),

  6. Pasinda (fried slivers of very tender meat in gravy)

  7. Gullati (rice pudding)

  8. Kheer (milk sweetened and boiled with whole rice to a thick consistency)

  9. Sheer khurma (a rich, sweet rice dish boiled in milk)

  10. Muzaffar (vermicelli fried in ghee and garnished with saffron)

As we dig deep into the Lucknowi Cuisine we discover the Characteristic taste and flavors of this region, this will make you recreate the authentic flavors of the Awadhi cuisine at your kitchen. It is often said that Awadhi cuisine is Mughlai cuisine but it is not, Awadhi cuisine may have a slight influence from Mughal but both the cuisine varies. Awadhi cuisine is one of the old & richest cuisines of India has now become limited in a small region.

History of Authentic Mughlai Recipes | India Canteen

In the 16th century, Mughlai recipes originated in the royal kitchens of the Mughal Emperor Babur. Authentic Mughlai recipes were rich and cooked with aromatic spices, nuts, and dry fruits during that time in Indian history. The flavors of Mughlai can range from mild to spicy and are associated with their distinct aroma and use of whole, dried and ground spices.

Evolution & Distinct Features:

The autobiography of Babur named ‘Babarnama’ mention about various Mughlai recipe items including Kebab prepared out of sheep. Authentic Mughlai recipes have an extreme influence on the culinary styles and regional cuisines of present-day India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan and its cooking style are applied in traditional Indian Cuisine, particularly in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh as also in the South Indian city of Hyderabad. The cuisine also marks its influence in Karachi (Pakistan), especially among Muhajir who migrated from different regions of India during the Partition of India and Pakistan. The Mughal cooking techniques also had a deep influence in the Awadh region which eventually led to the development of the Awadhi cuisine of Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh).

The Mughals were Muslims by religion and thus did not eat pork and as Hindus did not consume beef thus meat of these two was not a part of Mughlai cuisine. The primary non-vegetarian dishes would comprise of meat of goat, sheep, and venison. The most special feature of Mughlai cuisine is the unique use of ground and whole spices and the remarkable aroma that gives each dish a different and exotic taste. Extensive use of dairy products like milk, cream, and butter in various gravies and curries makes the traditional Mughlai cuisines quite rich and heavy and also make the dishes mouth-watering with foodies ending up licking their fingers.

Making of Indian Mughlai Food

The making of Mughlai food is likely time-consuming and involves a number of flavored sauces and butter based curries. Nowadays most Indian restaurants convert Mughlai dishes as mild to medium-hot cream and nut-based gravies, rice dishes with lots of nuts, dried fruits, and rich creamy desserts where you should expect spices like cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and nutmeg. These famous Mughlai gravies pair well with rice and bread.

The Mughlai dishes vary with both vegetarian and non-vegetarian, common dishes that feature traditional Mughlai flavors include biryani, kebabs, kofta (meatballs), pulao (or pilaf), and different tandoori items. Examples of these traditional dishes include Mughlai chicken, Mughlai biryani, Mughlai paratha, malai kofta, reshmi kebab, kadhai gosht, and murg tandoor. A wide range of traditional Mughlai sweet dishes like bread pudding shahi tukra, barfi, kalakand, and falooda.

Let us have a quick look at some of the most famous recipes:-

Popular Mughlai Dishes:

Biryani:

Biryani is a mixed rice made with aromatic spices and seasonings among other ingredients and prepared with great accuracy giving it a yummy and exotic taste. There are two major categories of Biryani like vegetarian and non-vegetarian that vary in ingredients used according to different regions they belong to or according to the meat used. Hyderabadi Biryani is the most famous variety of Biryani, also a signature dish of the Hyderabadi Muslims. The vegetarian biryani is also called Tehari. It was developed so that the Hindu who works for the Muslim Sultans can taste this rice delicacy.

Haleem:


Haleem also known as Khichra is a very famous casserole prepared with wheat, barley, lentils, rich spices, rice, and meat. This dish is cooked very slowly that takes up to seven to eight hours and ensures a fine blend of all the ingredients to give it a perfect paste-like consistency. This dish is a street food and occupies a special place across the globe during the months of Ramadan and Muharram.

Mughlai Paratha:

Mughlai Paratha is prepared with whole-wheat flour stuffed with a mix of ingredients including keema or minced meat, eggs, chopped onions, green chili and pepper among others. This bread delicacy remained among many Mughlai cuisines that made their way to the undivided Bengal and today counts among the most popular heavy snacks items of Kolkata, India as well as in Bangladesh.

Murg Musallam:


Murg Musallam is one of the most exquisite Mughlai dishes that according to sources was a favorite dish of the Sultan Muhammad bin Tughluq of Delhi at that time and also remained popular among the royal Awadhi Mughal families. The dish comprises of a whole chicken prepared with different spices and seasonings with the main ingredients like egg, tomato, ginger, and onion.

Navratan Korma:


Navratan Korma is a vegetarian delicacy from the Mughal kitchen, a vegetarian korma that is prepared out of vegetables, nuts, and paneer. Navratan means nine gems and this dish is usually prepared out of nine different vegetables.

Kebabs:

The origin of the variety of Indian Kebabs that are usually eaten as snacks or starters trace back to the Mughalai cuisine that includes appetizing dishes like Boti Kabab and Reshmi Kebab. Traditionally each of these dishes based on grilled meat has a distinct set of ingredients including an exclusive combination of spices and unique cooking procedures. With time, cooking procedures including grilling and roasting developed in preparing varied forms of kebabs, some of the popular ones being shish kebab, shammi kebab, doner kebab, Tunde ke kebab, and tikka kebab.

Rogan Josh:


Rogan Josh is originally a Persian lamb dish that was brought to Kashmir, India by the Mughals and has now become one of the staples of Kashmiri cuisine. Traditionally it is a gravy dish comprising of braised lamb chunks prepared with browned onions, ginger, garlic, and yogurt and seasoned with spices like clove, cinnamon, cardamom and bay leaves.

Pasanda:

Another delicacy from the royal Mughal kitchen is Pasanda, the name of which is probably derived from the Urdu word ‘pasande’ which means favorite. It is traditionally a rich lamb curry made of lamb legs that are flattened into strips and marinated with ingredients like chili powder, yogurt and a combination of spices for hours. The marinated lamb legs are then fried with other ingredients like onions, coriander, and chilies among others.

Sweet Dishes/Desserts:

Kulfi:


Kulfi is a popular frozen dairy-based dessert that probably originated in the 16th century during the Mughal Empire. The term Kulfi is derived from a Persian word which means a covered cup. It is a mixture of thickened milk seasoned with saffron and pistachios that is frozen in a metal cone and later served with falooda, a kind of noodles prepared from starch, and garnished with pistachio nuts, saffron and ground cardamom.

Sheer Khurma/Korma:


It is a very popular Muslim vermicelli pudding that is prepared during festivals like Eid ul-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. The main ingredients of this dish, the name of which literally means milk with dates, are whole milk, vermicelli, dates, and sugar, while rose water, almonds, raisins, pistachios, saffron, cloves, and cardamom are added depending on the choice of the region.

Firni:

Firni is a kind of rice pudding that is set and served in a shallow earthen dish. This rice-based sweet is garnished with saffron, pistachios and chopped almonds.

Shahi Tukra:

Shahi Tukra is a rice bread pudding that is especially prepared during Muslim festivals like Eid and on the month of Ramadan. The ingredient of this delicious dessert includes bread, dry fruits, and condensed milk and is seasoned with cardamom.

Indian Cuisine: It’s History and Evolution

In the 5000 years of Indian history, India has welcomed many settlers from around the world. Indian cuisine has evolved into different forms due to its homogeneous nature. India’s food has been divided according to different religions and regions. Different areas and regions in India have their own cooking recipes, spices and ingredients. With a population of over one billion, the food in India is as diverse as its people.

Photo Courtesy: Catch News

Indian cooking has been mostly influenced by Hindu and Muslim style of cooking. Each of the settlers who migrated to India have given their own culinary methods to India. In India, two cultures of cooking are practised i.e. Hindu for vegetarian food and Muslim for cooking of meats. Mughlai food, Kormas(curry), nargis kaftas(meatballs), rogan josh and biryani are some of the favourite dishes that are prepared in a clay over tandoor. If we talk about South India, the cuisine is mostly prepared with rice and a thin soup called Rasam is added to it. Most South Indian recipes have coconut as their main ingredient. Some favourite Hindu dishes of South India include Idli(steamed rice cakes), Dosa(rice pancakes) and fermented rice.

The Indian cooking is largely influenced by Persians, Portuguese and Britishers. For example, the Britishers brought tea/chai into India. Most Indians love Chai.

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Indian cooking has four main regional styles i.e. East, West, North and South. North India was largely influenced by Moghuls. They ruled India for about three centuries and then were replaced by Britishers in 1800s. The Mughals gave us Saffron and rich gravies prepared from cream and pureed nuts. The Naan, which is a tandoori dish is not of the Indian origin. It came from Afghanistan where it is a staple food. Although, most of the people think that Naan is an Indian dish.

The South Indian food is totally opposite to that of North India. Their unique rice crepes and steamed rice cakes are a favourite among South Indians. Rice can be had in any meal and lunch usually has three dishes which can be served with rice.

Photo Courtesy: www.whatsuplife.in

Hindus are divided into two categories i.e. meat eating and non-meat eating. In the West, states like Gujarat, Goa and Maharashtra have their unique food. In Gujarat, most of the population consists of Parsis, Hindu, Muslims and Jains. Each of them have their own style of cooking. The Parsis have very rich non-vegetarian diet that contains seafood and chicken while Jains are vegetarian. Most people in Gujarat are vegetarians and it’s vegetarian food is very famous.

The sea-food of Mumbai, Maharashtra is very famous. Most of the hotels and restaurants in coastal areas of Maharashtra serve seafood with a little of red chillies and coconut. Eastern states like, Bihar, Orissa, West Bengal and Jharkhand are very different from each other. Bengali cuisine is very delicate and contains fish and rice as its staple food. The Bengali cuisine is famous for a variety of dishes including mixed veg and milk based sweets.

Photo Courtesy: HungryForever

Orissa is famous for its squash blossoms which are dipped in paste prepared with rice, deep fried/turned to patties. Some other prominent foods of Orissa include seafood and fish. Bihar and Jharkhand are known for beans and vegetables. But they have Western influence with chicken, beef, goat and pork in their diet.

The Indian cuisine is largely influenced by Indian history. Each historical region have its own unique dishes with many ingredients. But there is a common thing about every region: a fondness for spicy snacks and sweet desserts. Besides being influenced by history, Indian cuisine is also influenced by religion, culture and traditions of India.

There is no other country which offers such a wide variety of exotic dishes with such a large variety of tastes for taste-buds.

Top 10 Indian Rice Preparations

Rice is a staple food of Indians. It is a very versatile ingredient. It can be cooked as main course or dessert. There are 40,000 rice varieties throughout the world. There are many cultures in which rice is considered very auspicious. One of the amazing facts is that rice is a very important food crop and covers one-fourth of cropped area. Rice provides food to almost half of population in India.

According to Japanese belief system, rice should never be wasted. If one leaves rice in the bowl, it is considered to be rude. Each and every cuisine has a rice recipe. In this blog article, we share with you top 10 recipes of rice:-

  • Hyderabadi Veg Biryani 

    Photo Courtesy: Veg Recipes of India

    This is a very popular recipe of veg biryani. This recipe of veg biryani is cooked slowly on dum(steam). That is why, the biryani is very delicious and unique in taste. Its aroma is good and is very tasty and flavorful. Some other biryani recipes include kolkata biryani, chettinad biryani, chole biryani, mushroom biryani etc.

  • Veg Pulao 

    Photo Courtesy: Veg Recipes of India

    This is a comfort food for those who don’t want to spend much time cooking. It is best served with pickle, raita and roasted papad. Some popular variations include veg pulao in pressure cooker, chana pulao, matar pulao etc.

  • Veg Fried Rice 

    Photo Courtesy: Mission: Food

    This is a great indo-chinese recipe. If you order an indo-chinese menu, then veg fried rice is a must have. Some of the popular varieties include paneer fried rice, schezwan fried rice etc.

  • Moong Dal Khichdi 

    Photo Courtesy: Pinterest

    This is a one pot meal of moong dals and rice. This dish is very nutritious and light. Whenever someone is ill/recovering from illness, then moong dal khichdi is served to him. Some other variations of khichdi include sabudana khichdi, rava khichdi, and veg masala khichdi.

  • Bisi Bele Bath 

     

    Photo Courtesy: Wikinow

    This is a very tasty dish, prepared with lentils, vegetables and rice. This is a very traditional rice and lentils based dish of Karnataka.

  • Jeera Rice 

    Photo Courtesy: Prudecooking

    This is a delicious and mildly spiced rice dish of India. It is flavoured with cumin. This dish is most commonly available in Indian restaurants. Some other recipes that you can try include garam masala rice, saffron rice, biryani rice, masala rice etc.

  • Vegetable Tahiri 

    Photo Courtesy: Recipesbnb

    This is a very delicious and aromatic rice dish prepared with vegetables and spices. This is a special dish of Uttar Pradesh. Some other recipes of Uttar Pradesh include mughlai biryani, awadhi biryani, mushroom dum biryani, paneer biryani.

  • Tomato Rice 

    Photo Courtesy: The Frugal Chef

    This is a South Indian recipe of tomato rice. This is my favourite tomato rice recipe. The dish is prepared with sauteed tomato, coriander leaves, onion and spices. Similar rice recipes include lemon rice, tamarind rice, tomato biryani and tomato pulao.

  • Ven Pongal 

    Photo Courtesy: Pinterest

    This is a very popular South Indian dish prepared with moong dal and rice. This delicious dish is prepared with black pepper, asafoetida and cumin. Some of its variations include rava pongal and sweet pongal.

  • Lemon Rice 

    Photo Courtesy: AllTastyRecipe

    This is a very popular dish among school children. This dish is very fast and easy to prepare. Lemon Rice can be prepared with ingredients like curry leaves, urad dal, mustard and turmeric which are mixed with rice.

10 Must Have Indian Recipes

Indian food is very delicious. The food is exotic and if you haven’t found the right recipe, it can be very discouraging. That is why we have collected 10 recipes for you that are very delicious.

  • Veg Biryani

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Hyderabadi veg biryani is one of the most popular recipe of India. This is one of the very delicious varieties of biryani. Here’s the recipe: http://bit.ly/2iXvR2W

  • Eggless Banana Cake

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This banana cake recipe is egg less and vegan. This recipe gives you a cake that is soft, moist and light. Here’s the recipe: http://bit.ly/2iLiJOI

  • Paneer Butter Masala

paneer-butter-masala-recipe

This is a very easy recipe of paneer butter masala. You can prepare delicious paneer butter masala with this recipe. This is a famous dish like palak paneer, chilli paneer, matar paneer and kadai paneer. Here’s the recipe: http://bit.ly/2jb59n4

  • Eggless Banana Bread

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This is the best banana bread that I have prepared. This recipe has been tried successfully by all. Banana bread is a favourite of all time and it is often prepared with ripe bananas. Here’s the recipe: http://bit.ly/2ij4tf3

  • Idli

Close up of traditonal indian food

This is a very efficient method for preparing fluffy and soft idlis. This is a traditional breakfast that is prepared in every Indian home. Here’s the recipe: http://bit.ly/2ij5rYR

  • Veg Pizza

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This is a very tried and tested recipe of vegetarian pizza. If you follow the instructions properly, you will get great pizzas. Here’s the recipe: http://bit.ly/2iiVlaA

  • Palak Paneer

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Palak paneer is a popular Indian recipe that is prepared along with kadai paneer, paneer butter masala. Here’s the recipe: http://bit.ly/2hXqMLk

  • Chole

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This is an easy and delicious punjabi chole recipe. This recipe of chole has been tried and tested. It has been prepared many times by me and others. Here’s the recipe: http://bit.ly/2ijgL7d

  • Matar Paneer

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Matar paneer is one of the most popular recipes of North India. It is very often prepared at home. This matar paneer recipe is very easy and simple. Here’s the recipe: http://bit.ly/2iPzM4O

  • Tawa Paneer

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Tawa Paneer Masala is one of the quickest and easy paneer recipe. This can be prepared really fast. Here’s the recipe: http://bit.ly/2jiDwMP

Top 10 Delicious Dishes of Delhi

Two things that really stand out for Delhiites are the city’s mouth-watering food and rich history. Delhi has a diversity of cultures and races. The city is filled with a variety of cuisines. You may go to Chandni Chowk or Majnu ka Tilla. You will find that Delhi is filled with culinary delights. In this article, we give you top 10 dishes of Delhi.

You may be expecting a healthy morning breakfast or a meal or even a late night snack, Parathas are on top of the list when we talk about favorite food of Delhi. You can choose from a plain paratha or you can use a stuffing of your choice like keema, eggs, potatoes, radish, cauliflower or last night’s left over dal. You have a lot of options.

 Places where you can try the dish: Parathe wali gali (Chandni Chowk), Moolchand Parathe Wala

Chaat
Delhi street food has a variety that is unmatched. There is a special attraction of eating on the streets of Delhi. Chandni Chowk is considered to be the Street Food Capital of Delhi.

Places where you can try the dish: Bittu Tikki Wala(Karol Bagh), Daulat Ki Chaat(Chandni Chowk), Natraj Dahi Bhalle Wala(Chandni Chowk), UPSC building(Shahjahan Road)

Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken originated in 1950s at Moti Mahal Restaurant of Daryaganj. Moti Mahal was famous for its Tandoori Chicken. The cooks there accidently tossed the chicken into sauce consisting of tomato, butter and chicken juices. And that is how this dish originated. Today, this dish can be found in every restaurant or dhaba. It is best consumed with naan or rice.

Places where you can try the dish: Moti Mahal(Daryaganj), Havemore(Pandara Road)

  • Kebabs

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Delhiites are very lucky because of the Mughals that left their culture and cuisine. One of the dishes they are thankful for is Kebabs. Kebabs are available on food stalls and can be delivered to your car. Or can be enjoyed in a fine dining restaurant. Try this popular dish and you will be hooked with it.

Places where you can try the dish: Ghalib Kebab Corner(Nizamuddin), Alkakori Alkauser(R K Puram), Ustad Moinuddin Kebabs(Lal Kuan), Salim Kebabs(Khan Market), Aap Ki Khatir(SDA)

Chole Bhature
This dish is best enjoyed in an empty stomach. It is rich, spicy and heavy. You will find this dish on the breakfast menu across the capital. This dish can be found at all the food points of the capital. May it be restaurants or local joints. It is generally accompanied with Lassi and is very popular among Delhiites.

Places where you can try the dish: Chache Di Hatti(Kamla Nagar), Sitaram Diwan Chand(Paharganj)

Biryani
One of the favorite dishes of Mughal Emperors, Biryani has been a favorite dish for ages. This dish is prepared in an earthen pot. The lid is sealed with dough and the flavors, spices and aromas are soaked in it. The biryani is available all over Delhi including, road side dhabas, commercial chains, five-star hotels and Sufi shrines.

Places where you can try the dish: Dum Pukht(ITC Maurya), Al KakoriAl Kauser(R K Puram), Deez Biryani & Kebabs(Defence Colony)

Nihari

When you enter Old Delhi, you can’t escape the aroma of this region’s signature dish, Nihari. This slow cooked meat is served along with tandoori rotis or khameeri rotis. This dish used to be a favorite among royal families in the past.

Places where you can try the dish: Karim’s(near Jama Masjid), Bara Hindu Road

Kathi Rolls
Although the Kathi rolls of Kolkata are famous but Delhi has delicious variants of its own. This dish is available almost everywhere including street stalls, supermarkets and even the posh restaurants of Delhi. Kathi rolls are a great option for the Delhiites.

Places where you can try the dish: Khan Chacha(Khan Market), Qureshi Kabab Corner(South Extension-II), Nizam’s(Connaught Place)

Momos

This is one of the most popular snacks of Delhi. It is present in the office complexes, cocktail parties and even birthdays. The momos vendor is present outside every office building, market place and housing area. These dumplings are very tasty and are available in non-vegetarian and vegetarian variants.

Places where you can try the dish: Sikkim House(Panchsheel Market), Nagaland Food Stall(Dilli Haat), Cafe Brown Sugar(GK market), Yashwant Complex(Chanakya Puri), Majnu ka Tilla(North Campus).

  • Desserts

Jalebi
A wide variety of desserts is offered in Delhi. They are a must have after a meal. Ranging from Jalebis to Rabri Falooda, different variants of Kulfis, Aam Papad and the mouth-watering Motichoor Ladoo.

Places where you can try the dish: The famous Jalebiwala of Chandni Chowk, Giani di Hatti (Chandni Chowk), Big Chill Cafe(Khan Market), Kuremal Mohan Lal Kulfiwala(Chandni Chowk), Ghantewala Halwai(Chandni Chowk)

History of Some Interesting Dishes of India

Indians love food. Every Indian likes to indulge in the guilty pleasure of rich food. We are a nation of diverse people with many differences. But food is one thing that unites us. Although the food of our nation is also diverse but it is enjoyed by everyone. It is also a fact that the cuisines of India vary with states.

In all these varying cuisines there are certain foods that you may wonder how they originated. And that is why we have collected some interesting dishes and their stories that you will find amusing.

  1. Biryani

Biryani

The word ‘biryani’ comes from the Persian word ‘birian’ meaning ‘fried before cooking’. According to the legend, Mumtaz Mahal(1593-1631), while visiting the army barracks realized that the soldiers there were under-nourished. She ordered that a dish be made that can provide balanced nutrition. The chef prepared many dishes but Mumtaz liked biryani as it was a one pot complete meal.

Biryani Recipe

  1. Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken originated in New Delhi. It was introduced by Chef Simon Mahil Chahal in Moti Mahal restaurant. According to the legend, one night when the restaurant shut down, a VIP guest visited the restaurant and asked for a chicken dish. The chef realized that he had only half chicken tandoori in his stock. He decided to improvise on the dish and put in large amounts of butter, tomato and masalas and invented a new dish. The VIP guest was none other than the ruler of Mareelun and he loved the dish. And that’s how it became popular.

Butter Chicken Recipe

  1. Idli

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The earliest origins of Idli is in ‘Vaddaradhane’ of 970 A.D. A story in which Idli is one of the eighteen dishes served to a Brahamchari. But, the recipe of making Idli is not present in the story.

If we dig a little deeper into history, we find our answers. The Chinese historian Xuang Zang claims that India had no steaming containers. But around 800-1200 AD, the Hindu Indonesian Kings brought with them, the methods of steaming and fermentation. They gave birth to a unique dish called Kedli in South India which resulted in the formation of Idli.

  1. Sambar

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Although Idli was created a long time back, Sambar came into the scene much later. It was in the 18th century that a dish called amti was created in the kitchen of the ruler Shahuji of Thanjavur. It was a very special dish as it contained kokum as one of its ingredients. One season, the kokum ran out of supply. Everyone was thinking what to do when an advisor of the court advised that tamarind pulp should be used instead of kokum to maintain sour taste. So, a dish was made which contained vegetables, tuvar dal, spices and the pulp of tamarind. The dish was served to Shahuji’s cousin Sambhaji. Everyone loved the dish and it was named Sambhar after the name of the guest Sambhaji.

Sambar Recipe

  1. Paneer

paneer

Most Indian dishes contain Paneer. The list of dishes is endless, starting from Shahi Paneer to Palak Paneer. But, it is known to few that Paneer was invented by accident. Once, the Mongols were on a trip on their horses. They were travelling with Mushkis(bags of raw-hyde) which contained milk. Due to the rennet of leather and the dessert heat made Paneer out of the milk. The Mongols found the Paneer to be very delicious. In the years that followed, this ingredient was brought to India and it was an instant hit.

Try these Paneer recipes:-

Shahi Paneer Recipe

Paneer Lababdar Recipe

Palak Paneer Recipe

  1. Samosa

samosa

One of the most famous snack in India today is samosa. But, do you know about its origins? It originated from Central Asia. According to legend, the traders from different parts of the world traveled to India using Central Asian trade routes. They could not carry heavy food so they cooked small triangles that were filled with mince. These were easy to make and carry and could be eaten anytime. When this dish came to India, it was a big hit and Samosa became a staple snack for kings and commoners alike.

Samosa Recipe

 

  1. Pav Bhaji

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The origins of Pav Bhaji are in the city of Mumbai. A local vendor came up with this dish after realizing the problems of daily mill workers. The workers had a very short meal break. They had to do rigorous physical labor after these mini breaks. So, a light lunch was needed. So, the local vendor created a dish with leftovers of other dishes. The roti and rice was substituted with Pav. And the curries were converted into a spicy mixture called ‘bhaji’. The dish became very popular and is loved by all.

Pav Bhaji Recipe

  1. Vada Pav
Photo Courtesy: Raks Kitchen

Photo Courtesy: Raks Kitchen

Like Pav Bhaji, Vada Pav was also created in Bombay. The dish was created by Ashok Vaidya, who was a snack vendor outside Dadar station. Dadar is a major hub for commuters and a very important station. Vaidya, very innovatively came up with this recipe so that the commuters can eat on the go. The dish was served with fiery red chutney made up of peanuts, coconuts, garlic, chilli and tamarind. This was in 1971 and the dish is still very popular in Bombay and all over India

Vada Pav Recipe

  1. Kebabs

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Kebabs are very popular in the Middle East and also loved by Indians. It was invented in the Medieval Era of Turkey. According to the legend the travelling soldiers wanted to save meat and that is why they cut small pieces of meat, grilled them and ate them with bread. The dish has become popular all over the world today.

Kebab Recipe

  1. Tandoori Chicken

Tandoori Chicken

The same restaurant that gave us Butter Chicken, gave us Tandoori Chicken. It was at Moti Mahal Delux, that the dish was invented by the Chef Kundan Lal Gujral. The chef always tried to experiment with dishes. He loved his tandoor and as an experiment, he took some chicken, applied spices and put it in tandoor. The resulting dish was so good that even Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru (First Prime Minister of India) liked it. Later, the dish was prepared for many Indian dignitaries like Richard Nixon, John F. Kennedy, King of Nepal, Shah of Iran etc.

Tandoori Chicken Recipe

Swad Ka Safar(Experience UP Cuisine)

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Uttar Pradesh(UP) is located at the Northern part of India so its culture and cuisine are greatly influenced by the rulers who arrived here from outside India. Heart of the state, Lucknow is a witness to all the cultural and culinary variations from ancient past till now.

Other than Lucknow, other districts of UP are also known for their food like Banaras is known for its Kaddu Purie, Mathura is known for Pedha, Agra is known for Petha, Kanpur is famous for its Kakori and Boti kebabs. Every state has its distinct taste.

The cuisine of Lucknow is synonymous to Mughlai cuisine or Awadhi cuisine as it has been ruled by Mughals. Mughlai and Awadhi cuisines are similar to those of Kashmir and Punjab due to the common influence of the Mughal rule. Nawabi Food is another name for these cuisines. These Nawabi foods comprise of some special combination of spices like cardamom, saffron, and flower extract like Kewada Itra, which is an essential ingredient of Kebabs.

DUM PUKHT Photo Courtesy: flickriver

DUM PUKHT
Photo Courtesy: flickriver

Mughlai or Awadhi cuisine introduced the new techniques of cooking which is known as Dampukth. In this style of cooking food is sealed in a large pan called handi which is placed on slow heat which allow the ingredients to be cooked in their own juices. And the final result is in the form of a flavorful and aromatic dish.

Cooks of this cuisine are also categorized into different categories according to the amount of food they are supposed to cook. The Bawarchis cook food in large quantities while the Rakabdars cook in small gourmet quantities and also specialize in garnishing and presentation. Nanfus are the special cooks who deal only with making breads like Roti, Chapati, Naans, Sheermals and Kulchas. The Lucknowi cuisine is incomplete without the description of some elaborate dishes such as Kebabs, Kormas, Biryanis, Roomali Roti, Stuffed Parathas.

Galouti Kebab

Galouti Kebab

Kebabs: Awadhi kebabs are grilled on chulha or grilled tandoor. Seekh Kebabs were introduced by Mughals and are made by beef mince on skewers and cooked on charcoal fire. Nowadays lamb mince is preferred for its soft texture.

Galouti KebabIt is made of minced meat and spices without binding agent.

Kakori Kebab: It was originally made in the Darghah of Hazarat Shah Ahder Sahib with divine blessings. It was made by the leg of mutton with khoya and spices.

Some dishes of UP are synonymous to the festivals. For eg. Gujia is prepared on the occasion of Holi .Recently, Makar Sankrinti which is also known as Khichdi was celebrated. On this occasion khichdi is prepared at every household.

The cuisine of UP cannot be explained in words or any definition.

For recipes from UP, India and around the world, please visit: http://tastyfix.com/