Deepavali, the festival of lights, is just around the corner, so it’s time for that biryani fix. By S. Sakthivel
No festival of lights is complete without a festive feast of murukku, Indian sweets, and most importantly — biryani.
Don’t fret if you haven’t snagged an invitation to a Deepavali shindig this weekend, this handy list will point you in the right direction.
We have picked nine popular biryani spots, oft recommended by foodies, to find the one that really hits the spot.
In this tasting, seven tasters graded the biryanis on three criteria — rice, meat, and the overall flavour and presentation of the dish. The scores were totalled up to see who came up tops. To ensure fairness in the comparison, this taste test pitted mutton biryanis from nine well-known shops.
We whet your appetite by putting out those that scraped the bottom of our biryani potluck selection.
9. Ali Nachia Briyani Dam
$7 with curry and achar
After an impressive chance encounter with this biryani last year, it came with high expectations. While it travels well, it tends to lose some of its flavour on premises.
The rice was too plain by all accounts, almost obvious from its pale yellowish colour. There was little evidence of it being anything more than plain rice with a spot of colouring. The tasters were equally let down by the mutton too — it was chewy and had a little too much fat and gristle. While it was bone-in, some morsels were tender and moist. The masala that accompanied the meat did little to lend additional flavour to the dish as a whole; it was far too lightly spiced and was a bland combination with the rice. At $7, it does not even offer value that you can find further up this list.
It might be worth a shot if you fancy a light biryani.
5 Tanjong Pagar Plaza
8. Kamal’s Restaurant
$6 with curry and papadum
The Stanley Street institution known for their fried chicken biryani did not fare so well with their mutton version.
If it’s any consolation, the tasters commented that it looked the most appetising of the lot —bright orange-red rice, large bone-in chuck of mutton bathed in curry, and topped with a scattering of achar.
While it looked great on the plate, the taste did not hit the mark. While colourful and well cooked, the rice was bland. The mutton was fork tender but offered little in terms of flavour. The dish as a whole was also too saucy, with enough curry to overcoat the rice, but to little effect other than to make it heavy and cloying.
The biryani also came with a sprinkling of fried seasoned flour. A welcome addition to the chicken biryani, its oiliness (and chicken flavour) did not help here.
You may want to try the fried chicken biryani, but the mutton is really nothing to shout about.
7A Stanley Street
7. Yakader Muslim Food
$5 with curry and achar
One of two “famous” shops at Tekka Market And Food Centre, Yakader’s mutton biryani failed to impress against the stiff competition. The orange-yellow rice was not that exciting to look at and not much for the taste buds either. It was slightly damp and a little broken up, a far cry from the flaky long grains expected of basmati rice. The rice, however, was layered with additional gravy, which gave it some flavour. The mutton was tender enough but was dry and chewy in certain sections.
One of the cheapest on our list, it does offers value and the chicken variety is also worth a try. It is one of many options at Tekka Market, and offers variety if you are looking for something new.
665 Buffalo Road
#01-259 Tekka Centre, Tekka Market and Food Centre
These three may have ranked bottom on our list, but we are certain you will leap to their defence. Or do you have some secret biryani spots of your own? Rant and rave or add to the list in the comments section below.