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  2. The story behind the dish: biryani
Story Behind The Dish: Biryani

The story behind the dish: biryani

Rice, meat and spices. These are the core building blocks of a proper biryani. But it's so much more than just an Indian mixed rice dish – we've been tucking in for centuries, so there must be something special to it. There are loads of great places to get biryani, layered with slow-cooked lamb or chicken, caramelised onion, cumin and mint, just like they do at Motu Indian Kitchen.

Colourful and exotic tales

Just like all dishes that have stood the test of time and emerged victorious, the biryani has been reinvented and jazzed up each time a chef got their hands on it. You'll find it with chicken, lamb, pork or seafood, whipped up with nuts, fruits and all sorts of vegetables, but the spice concoction tends to stay round about the same flavour medleys – including lots of saffron for that trademark yellow hue.

The dish's origins go back more than four thousand years – long before modern-day countries existed. Central Asian populations started adding meat to their rice dishes to bulk them up, creating a precursor to biryani as we know it today.  

Rich with spices and flavour

Whatever biryani's beginnings, we're just thankful that it came to be. Today, the dish is loved in delightful varieties across India and the rest of the world. In Kampur you'll find the chicken cooked with peas, carrots, beans, potatoes, and yellow bell peppers, while in Thalassery, chicken wings, kaima rice, sautéed cashew nuts, sultana raisins and fennel seeds are the main players.

Traditionally, the rice is fried in ghee before boiling it – giving it a slightly nutty flavour. The meat or extras are usually marinated, then fried together with saffron, onions, cashews and raisins – with masala and spices coming together to create the dish that we know and love.

The perfect biryani

At Motu Indian Kitchen they don't hold back. Launched by Michelin-star restaurant owners, the joint promises 'indulgent home style Indian food' – and their biryanis are just the ticket when you need some comfort food.

Long brown rice is swapped for fragrant basmati rice to add a sweet flavour, while cumin adds a kick of spice and bay leaves add a bitter hint. Pair your slow-cooked chicken or lamb biryani with raita, pappadums and mango chutney for a real Indian-inspired feast.

For a classic biryani to enjoy at home, get an order from Motu Indian Kitchen brought to you with Deliveroo.

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