Kalyani Biryani Tastes Great Even When Cold

This beef biryani from Hyderabad is no-nonsense and pocket-friendly

Kalyani Sardesai

Folks often mistake Kalyani biryani to be a cousin of the popular Hyderabadi biryani but this comparison is neither fair nor accurate. Simply put, Kalyani biryani is a no-nonsense, relatively pocket-friendly number, with cubes of beef dominated by flavours of jeera, tomato and dhania. It is not chock-a-block with expensive saffron either.

"However, despite this unpretentious turn, it is quite tasty and has earned many fans all its own," says Abdul Ghani, owner, Alhamdulillah Hotel which specialises in making the dish. With two branches in the city, the eatery sells about 3,000 plates at Rs 90 a plate. Compare this to other biryanis that are usually priced upwards of Rs 250 or 300 a plate depending on whether you prefer mutton or chicken.

"It's not just expensive ingredients that give rise to memorable tastes but good, solid recipes which bring about harmony in every constituent," says Ghani, who took over the running of the iconic hotel from his father Abdul Gaffar. "Over the last 30 years now, we have managed to maintain the original taste with great discipline and dedication. What's more, it's the very same cook -- Bismil Ustad -- who continues to be in charge of not just ensuring that the standards are up to par but also training the other cooks."

And yes, just like its counterparts, Kalyani biryani is a kachche gosht ki biryani which intersperses uncooked meat with rice and takes about 45 minutes of cooking time, including 15 minutes on dum.
History has it that this biryani is a creation that originated from the kitchen of the Kalyani Nawabs of Bidar, who settled in Hyderabad in the 18th century. The Nawabs were from Basavakalyan, on the outskirts of the erstwhile Hyderabad state. Hospitable and gracious to the core, their haveli was known to serve two meals a day to visitors with the Kalyani biryani being their signature dish.

In the 1950s, the original recipe caught the fancy of biryani enthusiasts in a big way once again. The backdrop to the revival was perfect -- the Indian government had taken over Hyderabad state in the much-debated Operation Polo. The nobility, including the Kalyani Nawabs, fell upon hard times and the cooks had to take up jobs elsewhere. Some joined existing food joints while others started their own roadside stalls. One of them started Dawood bhandi -- which made the best biryani. Located behind the dargah in Murgi chowk, close to Charminar, this was inarguably the best-known outlet to find Kalyani biryani in the fifties and sixties.

For his part, Abdul Ghani points out that one major plus in favour of the Kalyani biryani is that beef unlike, goat meat, tastes great and does not really give off an odour -- even when cold. "You can eat this biryani cold, unlike other biryanis that need to be heated up."

More Biryani Stories

We are big fans of biryani at Living Foodz. Don't forget to check out our other biryani stories:

Awadhi Biryani
The best Awadhi Biryani can still be found in the streets of Lucknow. Wahid Mia’s is one such biryani outlet which was set up in the 1950’s.

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to know more about the biryani that belonged to the nawabs.

Chettinad Biryani
Biryani is a popular non-vegetarian dish in Chettinad, Tamil Nadu. But this biryani from Chettinad has its own distinct flavours setting it apart from the other biryanis you may have tried.

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of Chettinad Biryani.

Kayees Biryani

The Kayees Biryani belongs to a cafe in Kochi which introduced this biryani in the 1940s. It is so popular that the mutton biryani and chicken biryani get over just a few hours after the cafe opens. Read the full story of Kayees Biryani.

Malabar Biryani

Kerala boasts two types of Biryani named after two districts: Thalassery biryani and Kozikhode biryani. Made with the local short-grained rice, both Malabar biryani types feature the same ingredients but cooked differently. Find out what sets the two biryani types apart.

Kolkata Biryani

Biryani was introduced in Kolkata when a Nawab from Awadh made the city his home in 1856. In the Kolkata biryani, you will find golden potatoes and hard-boiled eggs along with meat and rice. To know more about Kolkata biryani and where you can get the best plate of this biryani,

read the full story


Hyderabadi Biryani

Think Hyderabad and the first thing to come to mind is the flavourful biryani that the city is famous for. But did you know there are two popular types of Hyderabadi biryani? Find out what's different about these

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