Delicacies of India: Biryani Festival by Howard Johnson

Biryanis have been a part of the Indian cuisine since very long times, so I was intrigued to find out the roots and how this dish evolved with time, what were the prime ingredients used and other such hidden insights.

There are a lot of tales behind the origins of this heavenly dish; some believe that the word "biryani" is derived from Persian language. While others believe is that it originates from "birinj", the Persian word for rice. Another is that it derives from "biryan" or "beriyan" which means to fry or roast.

Originally, biryanis were cooked by the army who didn’t have the time to cook elaborate meals, so they used to cook rice with meat. Over time, the dish became biryani due to the various methods of cooking involved; the modern biryani that we eat nowadays is believed to be originated in the royal kitchens of the Mughals.

I also found that there was a traditional culinary preparation with origins in Bengal where semi-cooked fish was steamed with rice, letting the rice absorb its aroma, in a covered earthen pot, in a manner in which biryani is prepared. Hence this 'dum' style of cooking is not new to the Indian sub-continent. Whatever it be, biryani is truly one of the most assorted dishes and is popular not just in India but South Africa and some parts of Mauritius.

Howard Johnson, which has a strong tradition of hospitality, came up with a unique experience of unwinding the past with exotic biryanis and kebabs from different parts of India.
A perfectly balanced menu for both vegan and non-vegetarians they have Galauti Kebab, Labe-e- Mahi Muskan, Subz Shikhampuri, Paneer Gul Mohar Kebab to name a few out of the exquisite spread of over 8+ kebabs and over 10 types of biryanis.

Kebabs worth trying:

Galauti Kebab and Maas Ke Shole, topped my list of non-veg kebabs, the Galauti kebabs which belong to the Awadhi kitchen, were made from fine mined lamb marinated and smoked with aromatic spices and grilled to perfection; Maas Ke Shole were again truly magical with infused spices herbs making the lamb pieces juicy on the inside, roasted on the outside, just the way you want your kebabs to be.

From the veg platter, Bahori Kebab and Paneer Gul Mohar Kebab are the two where you should put in your money, Paneer Gul Mohar Kebab, was something different as they had khoya stuffed into the cottage cheese along with other dry fruits marinated in Indian spices cooked in tandoor making it a blast of authentic Indian flavours, adding a hint of saffron in the core would have elevated both the flavour and aromas to a new level. The Bahori kebabs I would say is something that plays between mixes of being a healthy food with alluring taste.

Biryanis worth trying:

I was amazed by the huge spread of biryanis that Howard Johnson came up with, over ten biryanis under the same roof; to me it was not just exploring the flavours, but also understanding ten different cultures together, their cooking styles, the colours and flavours which are prominently used while cooking in these parts of India, their preferences when it comes to spice levels and the order in which different ingredients are put to bring in that specific taste making it distinct.

First things first, the Awadhi Murgh Biryani was the finest out of all, I was eating an Awadhi style biryani for the first time and literally it shattered all the conceptions I had in my mind which was that Mughlai/ Hyderabadi biryani is always the best, the description says it all -“Nawabs secret recipe a chicken biryani cooked on dum with long grain basmati rice and handpicked spices”

Second best among the spread was the Kolkotta Biryani, blend of nice aromatic spices perfectly paired with juicy lamb, potato and Bengali spices. Hydrabadi Subz Biryani was something that I truly loved from the veg spread, cooked with exotic vegetables, long grained aromatic rice which was exclusively sourced from Andhra Pradesh, along with curd, ghee and spices over low heat for hours so that the aromas of various components infuse with each other giving it a truly amazing blend.

Howard Johnson is currently offering great Sunday Brunches, Here’s a small glimpse - indulge in the fancy spread of 17 Main Course, 12 Cold Cuts, 12 Salads, 14 Dips and Dressing, 4 Raita, 9 Breads, 6 Starters, 16 Desserts & 2 Drinks, 2 Soups. Three words: eat, drink and repeat with the varied spread of Continental, Thai and Lebanese delicacies made using the freshest ingredients. For those looking for a succulent Non-vegetarian treat, the array of Salami Milano Chicken salami, Turkey Mortadella, Black forest ham, Seafood cold cuts and many more is sure to leave you in food coma. Pumpkin Kheer, Dry fruit sandwich, Coconut caramel pudding, Strawberry souffle, Apple struddel, Steamed ginger pudding with custard sauce, Millie-fuillie and Apple dutch cake – these delectable spread of desserts create colorful dishes which bring in great flavor.

This Sunday Brunch menu will surely leave you spoilt for choice!

Till then keep eating, keep exploring and keep sharing for the love of food!


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