Food’s influence on history is distinct. India has had several invasions, and each one brought with it a new culture and food. Muslims who invaded India, including Turks, Arabs, Persians, and Afghans, brought with them their feasting culture. The Mughals’ rule from the 15th to roughly the 19th century saw the development of the Mughlai cuisine for which India is known for. The Mughals elevated cooking to an art form and brought to India dishes like kebabs, pilaf, and biryani.
Despite having the appearance of being Indian cuisine, it has foreign roots. Biryani is derived from the Persian words Birinj, which means rice, and Birian, which means “fried before cooking.” It is widely acknowledged that biryani originated in West Asia, despite the fact that there are several hypotheses regarding how it arrived in India.
According to one tale, the progenitor to the biryani was carried to India’s borders by the Turko-Mongol conqueror Timur in 1398. A clay pot containing rice, spices, and any available meats would be buried in a heated pit before being finally unearthed and delivered to the soldiers. This is thought to have been Timur’s army’s diet throughout the military campaign.
There were numerous rice meals that were comparable to biryani before the Mughal conquest, despite the fact that the Mughals are most often linked to the dish. As early as the year 2 A.D., a rice meal called “Oon Soru” is mentioned in Tamil. Oon Soru was a dish served to military soldiers that included rice, ghee, meat, turmeric, coriander, pepper, and bay leaf.
Another intriguing tale attributes the creation of the dish to Mumtaz Mahal. It is believed that when she once visited an army barracks, she discovered the soldiers were malnourished. The biryani was created when she asked the chef to produce a special meal that offered balanced nutrients.
The biryani, which was once served only to royalty and warriors, now represents regional tastes and customs, a supremely beloved meal indeed.
Article by M.S.Reeha