Sampurna Majumder writes about Biryani with aloo!
Culinary delights of India leaves its own imprint on history. Annexed by various invaders across borders and boundaries, Indian cuisine has over the centuries have become somewhat a melting pot.
The culture of feast in India was largely introduced by the Muslim invaders like the Arabs, Persians and Afghans. Developed during the 15th to the 18th century, Mughlai cuisine continues to enthral gourmets as well as laymen across the Indian subcontinent. Once accepted in India in its full form the, the biryani underwent several variations depending upon the region such as Awadhi Biryani, Hyderabadi Biryani, Kolkata Biryani and so on. Needless to say, my focus lays on Kolkata Biryani in this particular note.
My last trip back home cajoled me to pen down this sumptuous note on the famous Kolkata Biryani. This time I took a stroll across landmarks such as Park Circus and the New Market area with my cousin T. T also cultivates a good taste for food just like I do. From Park Circus we went to New Market and initially wanted to try some chicken pasta. However, once we arrived near the famous Elite cinema T started cribbing about having something else and then our eyes fell on the famous Mughlai joint Aminnia. Biryani!!! Aha! Without any second thoughts we both stepped into Aminia and made ourselves comfortable at cosy corner. We placed an order for the royal biryani and some haleem (a gravy dish made out of lentils and meat).
As the royal delicacy arrived we could not resist ourselves from gulping it down. However, we savoured it at the same time. The boiled potatoes are unique only to the Kolkata biryani. It is said that the biryani was brought to Calcutta by Nawab Wajid Ali Shah in the mid 1850s. However, abject poverty in the then Bengal forced the commoners to replace meat with potatoes. Thus continues the legend of Kolkata biryani. Almost two centuries now, the tradition continues till date. Some of the best places to have biryani in Kolkata are Zeeshan, Arsalan, Aminia and Shiraz.