A good ol’ Biryani pretty much speaks for itself. It doesn’t need an introduction or a prompt to notice it – it does all of things simply by being itself. It’s what a Pakistani woman’s cooking skills are judged by and what you’ll often find served as the star of the show at a Desi dinner party.
It isn’t humble by any means; a Biryani is pompous, showy and majestic, with its pop of colour, its many layers, its distinct, sharp flavour and its vast array of spices, some of which only leave the spice cabinet when it’s ‘time to cook Biryani’. Unlike it’s more mature and subtle brother, Pilau, a Biryani is loud, fiery and fierce.
A Biryani is nothing to be taken lightly.
It’s a lengthy process, but oh so worth it in the end!
What is Biryani?
Biryani is a lavish rice dish cooked in the South of Asia and also across the Middle East. It is characterised by a flavoursome, aromatic masala, usually consisting of some sort of meat (though not always) layered with rice. It can certainly be likened to layering and mixing a curry with rice.
There are many different types of Biryanis; many regions have their own sort of Biryani: Hyderabadi Biryani, Bombay Biryani, Bengali Biryani, Kachhi Biryani etc. Biryani can also be cooked with chicken, fish, prawns, vegetables – it truly is a unique and versatile dish!
What is a Sindhi Biryani?
Originating from the province of Sindh which is now found in Pakistan, a Sindhi Biryani is an aromatic Biryani which often (but not always!) lays its hand light on the heat and emphasises on the flavours of mint and coriander. What sets a Sindhi Biryani apart from others is that it uses potatoes in the masala – other kinds of Biryani don’t necessarily require potatoes. The most traditional of Sindhi Biryanis also use dried fruits and nuts in the garnish.
Why I LOVE Sindhi Biryani
What’s there not to love about a well cooked, beautiful Sindhi Biryani?!
I love the soft and floury potatoes in this particular Biryani – it’s probably what has won me over. Tender chunks of lamb, tangy dried plums, heapings of fresh mint and coriander and zesty slices of lemon also help cement its place as my ultimate favourite Biryani. I’m also a HUGE fan of a good Kabuli Pilau with its fried raisins and I love how a Sindhi Biryani brings in this element too.
I’ll be very honest with you all and say I’m not a fan of a very spicy Biryani. Give me a mild Biryani which is heavy on the cardamom, mint and lemon and I’ll show you a plate wiped clean! But that aside, a heavy hand on the heat is typical of a traiditonal Biryani and I’ve kept this in mind while developing this recipe. If you aren’t a fan of the heat like me, taste adjust the red chilli and black pepper to your liking.
How to Serve Sindhi Biryani
Enjoy this Biryani with a cooling raita (yoghurt) and salad. I was low on salad veggies the day I cooked this, so I served it with some red onions soaked in a bit of vinegar, which works wonderfully too.
I opted to serve the fried raisins and nuts on the side. Many people don’t actually appreciate sweet or nutty tones with savoury foods so it may be best to keep them out of the actual rice so whoever wants them can help themselves.
Enjoy, with love x