Tuesday, February 24, 2015

BIRYANI - 5 Tests to Judge a Biryani

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?

Let me delve into my Foodie Writing Archives and pull out this article I wrote 15 years ago, during my Mumbai days, on TESTING and TASTING a BIRYANI, and post it 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 
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© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

1. These are my personal views based on my personal experience. Please do your own due diligence while testing a Biryani.
2. All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)

This is an upgraded and revised version of my article on HOW TO JUDGE A BIRYANI written be me Vikram Karve 15 years ago in the year 2000 and posted online earlier in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Blog on 30 Nov 2010 at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2010/11/biryani-how-to-judge-biryani-four-tests.html

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