Wednesday, January 29, 2014

BIRYANI - The 5 Essential Qualities of a Good Biryani

The Five Essential Qualities of a Good Biryani

Nowadays, instead of authentic Biryani, I have seen many restaurants trying to pass off pulaos (and various other medleys and potpourris of meat and rice) as Biryani.

Pulao is not Biryani.

Pulao is prepared by cooking the ingredients together.

In a Biryani the rice and meat are cooked separately, then assembled in layers, and given a dum”.

How do you evaluate a Biryani?

What are the qualities of a good Biryani?

Here is an article I wrote many years ago, during my Mumbai days, on TESTING and TASTING a BIRYANI, which I am posting once more for your perusal.

Happy Biryani Eating

Tasting and Testing

A plate of mouthwatering Biryani is placed in front of you.

On first impressions, how do you judge a Biryani…?

Well, as far as I am concerned, there are five basic tests you must carry out to assess a Biryani.


Test No. 1


First try the “Spread Test”.

Pick up a little Biryani in your fingers and sprinkle it on the side dish.

The grains of rice must not stick together but remain separate. 

The pieces of meat must be succulent, clear and dry, not greasy, and easily separate from the rice.

A good Biryani will easily qualify the spread test.

Test No. 2


Lift the plate of Biryani and smell the pieces of meat. 

The Biryani must be pleasantly aromatic and you must be able to discern the delicate sweetish fragrance and appetizing mouthwatering aroma of marinated spices.

The aroma must not be overpowering, sharp or piquant. 

The Biryani must pass the “aroma test” with flying colours as there is nothing more appetizing than a mouthwatering aroma…!

Test No. 3


Taste the meat, ideally mutton. 

The meat must be well-cooked, flavoursome, succulent, delicious.

Then roll some rice on your tongue – the subtle flavour and taste of the spices must mildly and pleasantly come through, and must not be overpoweringly spicy, greasy or pungent.

Test No. 4


Now you come to the fourth test – the “Potato Test”.

Dig deep and search for the potato in the Biryani.

The potatoes must taste as scrumptious as the meat – that is the hallmark of a superlative Biryani.

And if there is no potato – well dear fellow foodie, tell me, can there be a perfect Biryani without a potato which tastes as delicious as the meat…?

Test No. 5

Finally, here is the fifth test for Biryani. 

Has it been served at the right temperature with light aromatic steam coming out from the rice?

Do you feel the warmth on your tongue when you eat the inner part of the mutton?

So the next time a plate of Biryani is put in front of you, before you eat it, do carry out these simple five tests and tell us all about it.

Did the Biryani pass all the tests with flying colours? 

Is it a perfect Biryani? 

Or is it a greasy potpourri of rice and meat, or a Pulao, masquerading as a Biryani?


Copyright © Vikram Karve 
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work. 
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
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A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer and blogger. Educated at IIT Delhi, IIT (BHU) Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and is currently working on his novel and a book of vignettes and an anthology of short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional  and academic research papers in journals and edited in-house journals and magazines for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing and blogging. Vikram Karve lives in Pune India with his family and muse - his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.

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