I’ve been waiting to eat biryani until I reached Hyderabad, everywhere I had looked for, or considered eating biryani, Hyderabadi biryani was on the menu, basically anytime I read about biryani Hyderabad was mentioned as the best example. With so many things to try elsewhere I thought it best to wait until I was in the home of Hyderabadi biryani before trying it.
As I understand it a biryani is a rice dish cooked with spices, onions and flavoured meat inside, I assume the meat is cooked before being layered through the rice with the onion and whole spices. This assumption continues as the fork tender mutton (goat) studded through my biryani would have taken longer to get this tender than it takes to cook rice.
The long grain basmati rice is flecked with spices, the different colours and shades of the sauce/spice concentration is clearly visible amongst the piled portion. The fuller I get the more I seek out these flavour pockets, often lingering near skerricks of tender meat. The cinnamon and cardamom flavours coming through the flavoursome rice, a slight sweat clings to my brow, increasing each time I eat a hidden piece of chilli. With a little lime to vary the flavour if I wish, and some wafer thin raw red onion to add some zing and crunch, I was soon defeated by this awesome thing. I simply can’t consume the volumes of rice a local can.
Of course the glutton in me wanted to eat all the things, so rather than just have biryani I started with another house speciality, their tandoori chicken, that came well recommended. Served with a minted yoghurt and some crisp vegetables, I was licking my fingers for some time, the bone in chicken requiring some careful handling to get every morsel, the orange colour from the chicken did stain my nail beds for a while, it required some concerted cleaning.
I love Indian bread, it is quite varied, and delicious with most things, the glutton in me once again limiting my biryani consumption eager to explore less frequently seen breads, as I wrapped the paper thin Rumali roti around pieces of tandoori chicken with a dribble of sauce and crisp veg. So good!
The Irani roti was a great texture, the blistered surface more pockmarked than the moon, the chewy naan like texture and slightly sweet flavour was enjoyable, though entirely unnecessary for meal cohesion.