India's love affair with biryani goes back centuries in time. Who can resist a plate of juicy and succulent meat teamed with rice, bursting with aromatic spices? No wonder then that biryani is one of the most celebrated dishes of all time. It is filling, it is delightful and just so versatile. Throwing a lavish party? All you need is a handi of piping hot biryani and there is nothing left to worry about. Or on days when you are alone and looking for something wholesome and delicious to treat yourself with, the joy of digging into you own plate of biryani is unparalleled.
The country's love for biryani is evident in the number of biryanis that are available throughout the country. It is one of the few dishes that has travelled across the country, imbibed local flavours and became a mainstay everywhere it went. The presence of potatoes in the Kolkata biryani is said to have been the brainchild of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah's innovative khansamas who found it increasingly difficult to maintain the quantity of meat in their lucknow-style biryani once he was exiled to Bengal. Adding potatoes gave the biryani a wholesome appeal whilst also becoming a signature style of the Kolkata biryani over the years. Similarly if you go down south, one would find multiple variants of biryani differing not just in taste and flavour but in look and preparation too. Hyderabadi Biryani is way more spicier than the subtle version of it's Awadhi counterpart. Other popular biryanis popular down south include Kalyani Biryani, Ambur Biryani, Thalassery Biryani, Dindigul Biryani and Bhatkali biryani, there's so much to taste and explore!
Long story short, Biryani is perhaps one of the only dishes that has traversed social, economic and geographical boundaries to be one of India's most loved dishes of all time. And, that's why we at NDTV Food decided to review Delhi-NCR's Best Biryani delivery outlets. We tried over 32 variants of biryanis sent by 16 biryani outlets from across Delhi-NCR in a blind tasting session and found these to be mighty impressive. Here's a complete list of all our amazing participants who were reviewed on the basis of two samples tasted (veg and non veg) along with standard accompaniments.
Each sample was laid out on the tasting table with an individual number tag. We reviewed the biryanis on 4 basic parameters:
3. Flavour of rice
4. Quality of meat (or veggies in the case of veg versions)
Here are the Biryanis that stole the show!
Best Tasting Mutton Biryani: Sassy Begum, GK 2
Sassy Begum bagged the title of the best tasting biryani in NDTV Food's 'The Big Biryani Review', Sassy Begum's 'Begum Hyderabadi Mutton Biryani' scored top points when it came to taste. The tender and juicy mutton pieces struck a delicious balance with equally flavourful and aromatic basmati rice. Sassy Begum authentic dum style of cooking ensured that the flavours are well sealed in the artful clay pots that were delivered across. The treat became even more sumptuous with their delicious accompaniments. Sassy ka Salan and Burani Raita complimented the biryani really well. The salan had a unique feisty and tangy flavour which became a huge talking point in itself during the mega event.
Best Tasting Chicken Biryani in Delhi NCR: Behrouz
Behrouz's Chicken Biryani got the maximum points across all Chicken biryanis in the blind tasting event. One of the most loved aspects of Behrouz's sample was the soft and juicy boneless meat that made the biryani eating experience easier and more delightful. The meat was grilled and cooked to perfection which went very well with the earthy and aromatic rice. The meat to rice ratio was rather impressive too. The rice was layered with fried onions and plenty of saffron which made the portion of biryani a rich, wholesome and scrumptious treat.
Best Veg Biryani: Biryani Binge and Sassy Begum
The best vegetarian biryani was a tie between Biryani Binge and Sassy Begum. Biryani Binge sent across a portion of their veg biryani with salan and raita. The masala of the biryani had that perfect balance which would be enjoyed by both who like their food spicy and those who like to have it mildly spiced. Garnished with deep fried onions, mint leaves, chillies and cashews, Biryani Binge's vegetable biryani was a rich, crunchy and flavourful experience. Sassy Begum's vegetarian variant was no less impressive than its meaty counterpart. The salan was a clear winner being tangy and flavourful. The veggies were very well cooked too.
Image credits: Facebook/Biryani binge
Value for money Non-Veg: Biryani Break
Looking for a filling and delightful experience without burning a hole in your pocket? Try Biryani Break's Real Chicken Biryani that not only scored high but is also quite a value for money experience. The delectable biryani is enough to serve 1 person with decent amount of chicken pieces. In addition to its tempting flavours, what also proved to be the highlight of the biryani was its interesting topping of pomegranate and mint leaves which imparted a unique fresh zest to the meaty delicacy. Reasonable price, convenient packaging and uncompromised quality, Biryani Break is definitely worth your money.
Value for money Veg: 19 Flavours Biryani
Vegetarians rejoice! There are anyway fewer outlets across Delhi that serve vegetarian biryani, and to find yourself an ideal biryani without being too harsh on your pocket may prove to be even more tough. 19 Flavour's classic vegetable biryani is where you safely place your bet on. Their vegetarian sample came in an easy, spill proof packaging with raita and salan. Loaded with perfectly cooked veggies, this balanced biryani is a delectable treat you should not miss.
Accompaniments: One of our major pet peeves while ordering biryanis are the accompaniments. They are sometimes utterly mismatched, or so less when compared to portion sizes. Accompaniments form an integral part of our whole biryani eating experience. Biryani Blues impressed us completely on that accord. They serve a range of accompaniments with their biryanis, a delightful salan, refreshing and soothing raita, and onions that perfectly complimented their spicy and piping hot biryani. The accompaniments are enough for one portion size. Two other outlest that stole the show with their accompaniments were Sassy begum's special tangy and spicy Sassy salan and Behrouz which was the only outlet that sends a complimentary dessert (one small gulab jamun) along with a portion of raita.
Presentation: If you are throwing a party at your place, you would not want to serve your guests biryani out of a plastic bag. Just how unappetising would that make their biryani experience, right? Taking out the biryani from its original packaging and reheating it isn't a good idea either. Thankfully there are many biryani places across Delhi who take an extra effort to package and present your biryani in the most artful way. Biryani by kilo won our hearts not only with it's huge portion size but the packaging too. Their biryanis came in big earthen pots, strongly sealed with atta. They also provided two small cases where you can light little candles to keep the biryani warm. The heat generated from the candle case is supposed to break open the atta seal. Other sumptuous biryanis that came in beautiful Handis were from Rumi' Kitchen, Sassy Begum, Biryani Blues and Petu Ki biryani.
Portion Size: Size does matter, especially when you are ordering for a large gathering and a hungry one at that! The biggest portion sizes came from Biryani Blues, Biryani by Kilo, Petu Ki Biryani and Ekdum Mast Biryani. So next time you are ordering for a large gather, you could consider these brands.
This review was based on the samples sent by each brand on the day of the tasting. We are sure each brand would have its followers based on individual tastes and preferences, nonetheless this is the list of Biryani brands that stood out as the best ones as part of our blind tasting. We thank all our participants for participating in the Big Biryani Review. And a special shoutout to all of them for making it to the venue in the stipulated time, despite the rainy and stormy weather and putting their best biryani forward.