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In search of Belagavi Biryani

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Biryani is an evergreen classic that really needs no introduction. With local and hyperlocal variations having evolved into distinctive styles of Biryani’s, one is spoilt for options when it comes to experiencing this melting pot of flavours.

Biryani is derived from the Persian word Birian, which means ‘fried before cooking’ and Birinj, the Persian word for rice. While there are multiple theories about how Biryani made its way to India, it is generally accepted that it originated in West Asia.

In general, there are two types the Kutchi (raw) Biryani and the Pukki (cooked) Biryani. In Kutchi Biryani, the meat is layered with raw rice in a handi (a thick bottomed pot) and cooked, while in Pukki Biryani cooked meat and rice are layered in the handi, where they come together in a marriage of flavours.

With many Unique’s to its name, Belagavi has it unique flavors of Briyani served at almost all the hotels and each one has its own unique taste of its own and mostly a bestseller. Not two Biryani’s from different hotels will taste the same. It may not have a name of its own but the blending of creamy milk with roasted nuts and aromatic spices results in a dish that is subtle, refined, and delicately flavored.

When we began the search for the Belagavi Biryani, we came across various restaurants small and big who make lip smacking Biryani in their own style since ages. 

Karim & Tinwale were the pioneers of Biryani in the city in a commercial way. Wahab could also be added to that list who used to sell only in bulk.

There are several household which preserve their untraditional recipes, every Belagavite must have come across a Muslim friend who’s mom has sent him Biryani on Eid and she always gets is right. Biryani is not a recipe which can be adapted out of a book but requires experience acquired over years. The amount of saffron, the measures of condiments, the proportion of rice and meat is to be perfected by practice.

They say a good Biryani has few features, the aroma is appetizing, the rice grains do not stick to each other nor to your hands, the meat must absorb all the flavours and should melt in your mouth, it should not leave you bloated after eating.

A unique element in the Belagavi Biryani is the Belgaum Basmati rice, it’s unique flavor is appetizing, sadly the rice is being fast replaced by the Delhi rice.

Each hotel has its unique marination technique and we guess is this must be the important element in the making of the Biryani.

Chatni served along with Biryani at many places
Chatni served along with Biryani at many places

The accompaniment of the Biryani also needs perfection, the chatni and the sherwa are as important as the main dish itself.

zuber biryani Belagavi
Zuber Biryani

What’s adds to the taste of Belgaum Biryani which distinguishes it from the Biryani’s at other places is the taste of Belgaum water which naturally is believed to be tasty comparatively.

We have Different choices in Biryani, some like Mutton Biryani of Khyber(College Road), others prefer the Chicken Biryani of Niyaz or the Prawns Biryani of La Camp(Picket road Camp) or Biryani from Bawarchi (Off College road in the alley after Khyber) or the Zuber’s Biryani (Kaktives).We also have the Bamboo Biryani (High Street, Congress Road) cooked up in a Bamboo. The Hyderabadi Biryani(Congress Road) its a franchisee of the famous Hyderabd Paradise Kitchen.

Donne Biryani
Donne Biryani

Vegetarians are not too far away from being Biryani Fans. They too have their own Flavour in Veg Biryani of Saffron or Madhuvan. It all ends up in what one likes to have in which way Spicy, Sweetish, Mild.

Not only the big hotels small eateries as well have their own recipe of the Biryani which is unique to its self. Yeshwant Boarding(Kelkar Bag) makes the Biryani which is more like a Mutton Pulao. There was Mahadev (Kaktives) has its unique taste of its own. The Savji Biryani is another new flavor to the Biryani stable. The marination is unique which gives it a very distinct taste. We also many small Biryani corners which make Biryani.

belagavi biryaniThe Biryani from Charminar(Khade Bazar), or may be from Zuber, Khyber, Paraat wali, Donne, Bawarchi all have a distinct taste and fan following.

The ParatWali Biryani made in Sun n Sand & Habba is also a favorite amongst many which is cooked on the Tava. The Bhori Biryani made by Barafwala which is very mild in flavours but has a very distinct taste of its own due to the spices.

Bamboo Biryani at High Street
Bamboo Biryani at High Street

There are also the Home Made Biryani which are made to order only by Tinwala, Shafi Attar, Katal to name a few.

In Belagavi, Biryani is not merely food, it is a bond between friends, it’s a memory for some and an adventure for many, where a lot can happen over coffee, Belagavi is a place where a lot can happen over Biryani as well.

21 thoughts on “In search of Belagavi Biryani”

  1. When I was in belgaum last year, my friend the late inayat qazi took me to a place in khade bazar called Master Chef. It is a two story building with dining area on the second floor. The mutton biryani I had there was one of the best. The owner stood by and waited until we finished our lunch. Belgaumites should give this restaurant a try.

  2. Hi Uday, a very nice story. You have done a story which is very close to the hearts of all non-vegetarians of Belgaum. After Kunda, if Belgaum is known for something, it is known for the Mutton/Chicken Biryani. People from as far as Kolhapur, Hubli & Goa come to Belgaum for a bite of the lovely Biryani.

  3. Dear friends the article about belgaum biryani made a interesting reading as other belgaumities I am a foodie and regular eater of mughlai food like biryani tandoori chicken and local belgaum non veg dishes like akhani ghosh which is thick mutton dish with green chilies and potato which is eaten with Red dal gravy called dalcha and basmati rich rice called bagara rice just like jeera rice along putane ke chatni this dish takes heavenly and is prepared in belgaum Muslim household specially weekly or on marriage and festivities this unique gift of Muslim belgaum culture and not available any where it made only in some Muslim hotels but can be made to order from local Muslim cooks coming back to Belgaum biryani I was very happy that the editor of this article has done good research about Belgaum biryani inception from last 30years my father and grandfather had employed a person called tinwala in our tin factory and this person was a part time cook who was then introduced commercialy by my dad in our marriage functions and then in lions club of Belgaum for their functions my dad was president of lions club in 1994 hence the flavour of tinwale ke dum biryani with its rich marinated mutton and long Belgaum basmati rice spread like a wildfire he can be called the pionor of Belgaum biryani next came the niyaz hotel from its humble beginning and today is guardian of Belgaum biryani today Belgaum biryani can find a place along with mughalai Delhi and hydrabadi biryani in order it can be called the biryani capital of karnataka

  4. Great article now I know additional places I can get good Biryani. There are also countless people who prepare and eat at home with very unique recipes. Overall the Belgaumites love their food and that too with passion. Kudos

  5. Nice Article,
    You have many options for biryani,but according to me there is no exclusive seafood restaurant in our city,there are couple of places serving sea food,but not very exclusive i guess,

  6. In 80’s it was gouse in fort road and Karim in Shaniwar khoot scrap yard who used serve biryani thrice a week, biryani used to be ultimate

  7. Appreciate the indept study and presentation of the history of “Belgaum Biryani.” I was an old resident of Belgaum until I moved out of the city is 2004. If my memory serves me right, it was Ghouse in the Fort area and Tinwale who were responsible for introducing Biryani to the woolen in a commercial. I would engage Ghouse, who would come home and prepare the biryani for a fee. When I first engaged him in 1981 he then charged me a princely sum of Rs 35/-.Later I was introduced to Tinwale when I was asked to collect the biryani from his house near Metguds hospital. I would regularly order biryani from Tinwale and initially pick it up myself, later Tinwale would sent it by auto. The charge for a kilo of biryani was Rs250/-. I have ordered and carried biryani to Goa on several occasions for the feast of St Francis Xavier. The biggest order I placed with Tinwale was for a wedding of my close friend a lawyer, the late Eric D’Souza in the year 1989. It was 50 kgs of mutton biryani and 50 kgs of chicken curry. Later Tinwale suffered a mild stroke and was partially incapacitated but never failed to visit me at least twice a year. On one occasion when I was in Mumbai sometime in 2001-02 my relation asked me
    to order Tinwale biryani. I called him over the phone and believe me the next day the biryani was brought to Mumbai by his son who was a driver for Pai buses. I have also liked the biryani from Niyaz who home delivered by “Meals on Wheels.” I will never forget the aroma of Tinwales biryani. Thank you Uday for giving me an opportunity to write about Tinwale.

  8. Dear Belgaumite Friends. Can someone please provide Name and Mobile Number of this Master Chef of Biryani. I have a function in GOA and would love to take the Cooks to GOA with the Belgaum ingredients. I am born, brought up and educated in Belgaum and left Belgaum in 1980 for good, but not a day passes by without remembering Belgaum, the Best Place in the World!! – CA Francis Fernandes ?? Please connect with me at [email protected]

  9. Hi friends,
    There’s a new place on service road ujjwal nagar in Belgaum. It’s called Hotel Taiba. The biryani tastes amazing there. Anyone looking for a new experience must visit this place. It’s quite reasonable n u will not be disappointed… In case someone needs to visit, please contact 9986627741

    Belgaum, Karnataka, India
    phone: 9945873616,9986586932

  11. Indeed a Nice Article, Keep it up.I would suggest one more Guy by name Arshad (9945730118) who cooks a Delicious Authentic Belgaum Briyani and delivers the same at your doorstep.Try Once…

  12. Belgaum is known as food hub when we were kids we used to go to hotel who served biryani that taste can’t come one of the best cook for biryani was jiamat cacha whole of christain family used to call him to preaper biryani miss him a lot


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