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Legendary biryani now turns `single'

Staff Reporter



HAVE A MOUTHFUL: The delicious and palate tickling biryani.

HYDERABAD: The Hyderabadi biryani, a delicacy that has the Nawabi moniker stamped all over it and one with fans all over the globe, is shrinking. An image makeover only in size and price to fall in suit with changing times is the alibi.

The aroma and taste of this distinct feature of the 400-year-old city, as old as Hyderabad itself, that first emanated from the Nizam's kitchen along with `mirchi ka salan' and accompanying delicacies, fortunately remain the same, good old and lip-smacking.

A dish that has been victim to culinary experiments of almost everyone while trying to whip up their own versions, the `revamped' biryani comes in the form of a `single plate', priced Rs. 30-35, and aimed at working executives, those who saunter into Irani restaurants alone at noon.

Mohammed Mohiuddin, a partner of Mehfil Restaurant on Raj Bhavan Road claims first rights to the amendments on the biryani platter. "We are offering a full biryani for Rs. 60. The single biryani is for those who want to have biryani but do not have the appetite to polish off a full plate. Both chicken and mutton single biryani are available, priced at Rs. 35 each," he says.

The number of juicy meat pieces too has come down in the `single' plate, naturally. "We used to provide an average of eight pieces, both small and big, in a full plate. Now the pieces, marinated in curd and steamed with biryani rice, are around four," Mr. Mohiuddin explains. The regular quantity is also served for those who can devour it.

Necessity-driven

Omar Farooq, a Mehfil regular and member of the growing fan club of the fragrant single plate biryani, says the mutation is more of a necessity-driven change than something that could `harm' the originality of Hyderabadi biryani. "It shows that Hyderabadi biryani is an indispensable item on every Hyderabadi's menu. Just to have it, we are only altering the quantity slightly," he says.

The renovated biryani platter helps middleclass gourmets who do not want to spend Rs. 60-70, but still want to taste it, and those who would like to have it as a side dish, reasons Mr. Mohiuddin and adds: "It is a legend modified, for the good."

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